Chances are, you are genuinely worried about ISIS.
We have dangerous storms here in Texas. I'm a lot more worried about vicious, unpredictable wind and water than I am about a Middle Eastern extremist attacking me at the supermarket. Why? Without daily -- hourly! -- warnings about terrorism, I'm more likely to worry about actual tornado warnings (that sudden shriek from the weather radio!) than about running into a guy wearing a suspicious vest in the deli section of the market.
From the point of view of corporate America and "our representatives" they fund to keep us in their clutches, fear is money in the bank. Their banks. They need to keep our eyes on the screen. Not for nothing have they persuaded you that your smart phone is an essential. It has a screen. You're never far from the news.
Well, not so much the news as their news. Sucker! The stuff you are glued to is faked-up fear, not just hourly "news." "We've become fear addicts. Not that this world is without threats, but what there is to worry about – even the threat of being killed in a terrorist attack – exists on a level nowhere near in proportion to our anxiety," is how Matt Taibbi puts it in Rolling Stone.
John McCain and other militarists love it! Wall Street is grinning! And midtown's Madison Avenue is ecstatic!
Madison Avenue has always understood that scaring people is a fantastic way to sell things. Decades ago, the worst abuses on this front tended to be relatively mild appeals to social neuroses, things like the classic "ring around the collar" commercial that made a generation of Americans frightened of being the dope with the sweat stain around his neck.
As the years passed, advertisers learned a lot about how not just to use existing fears, but to create new ones. How do you sell Head & Shoulders in China, a country that traditionally never gave a thought to dandruff? Easy: You run ads to create the social stigma, then sell the solution in the same message.
We Americans grew up bombarded by manipulations like this, and it's finally broken our spirit. After spending a long enough time learning to worry about relatively less harmful (though not harmless) things like having bad hair or yellow teeth or a thick waistline or unfashionable clothes, we've gradually become more susceptible to darker appeals.
What about those immigrants rushing across the border? Can you really be sure the people at the local mosque aren't planning something? Couldn't someone break into your home at night, or start shooting up your office? ...Taibbi,RollingStone
Fear. I guess we're lucky our 17th century forbears faced down fear when they boarded little boats and crossing a great, cold, often mean ocean to find and settle this land.
We've become gullible pussies. No question about it.
ISIS notwithstanding, Americans are the safest, richest, most extravagantly protected people in the world, but we're more miserable, divided and frightened than ever. That we literally want to be walled off from the rest of the world would be bad enough, were it not also true that we increasingly also hate and fear each other. ...Taibbi,RollingStone
Quit watching the $news$.