At Psychology Today Blogs, David Ropeik explores the politics of fear.
Yes, be afraid, America. Be very afraid. But of what? Of whom? Of the bad guys “out there” out to destroy America and kill Americans, or of the American who watches TV to see who is picking on him now, and then uses the machinery of the federal government to back up his wildly paranoid claims. Should we fear the illegal immigrants sneaking in to rape and kill and take ‘our’ jobs, or the man so unready to lead America that, after being elected, he discovered that health care, and relations with China, and our foreign trade treaty with Canada and Mexico, are “more complicated than I thought.”? Should we fear the countries of the world driving hard bargains with America over international trade, or the unstable man who dashes off egregious lies on a thoughtless ego-driven whim, and who attempts to interfere with the American legal system to protect himself?
Or is there something else we need to worry about, something far deeper, something far more potentially dangerous? Shouldn’t we also be afraid of the subjective way we figure out what to be afraid of in the first place, the cognitive system that leads to these disparate views on what we need to fear based on precisely the same evidence?
Follow the link for his answers to those questions.