Posted by: Dave Neads | September 6, 2008

The Politics of Fear

After watching John McCain’s acceptance speech,  I couldn’t help thinking about the politics of fear.  The fear of real change, the fear of admitting that we are in serious trouble as a civilization.

The fear the Russia will rise, the fear that science and intellect , not God, will direct public policy, will direct education, will direct the judiciary.  And, most of all,  the fear that America will not regain its pre-eminence on the world stage if it does not fight for the American way, if it does not fight for the old values.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the cry to “Drill, drill, drill!”  More oil, that is what we need!   Then we can protect the American way, protect the good life from the terrorists, the world economy, climate change, all those fearful things out there.  We can go back to 1955, no problem.  Just let the people, with divine help, run things.   Bring on the drill rigs, let corporations have more tax breaks so they can employ more workers, make sure health care is run by big business, not government and most of all, make sure that education is set by local communities, with new teachers so the old “bad ” ones can be given jobs better suited to their skill sets.

The choices are more stark now than they were in the last election.  We have seen enough to know climate change is real, that global economies are in control, that science, not dogma, is needed to give us a chance for now and future generations, yet dogma is precisely where John McCain wants to look for guidance.

Fear or hope?  It really is that simple.  I am dismayed that the politics of fear may win the day, that smokestacks will win over windmills.  As we all know, Canada generally goes where the U.S. goes, so the way the November elections play out will have a huge impact on our policies, especially around climate change and new, clean energy production.

This is not a time to be afraid, not a time to cower under the illusory umbrella of times past, of glories shredded and dreams evaporated.  This is a time to move boldly forward, a time to manifest hope over dogma.

To paraphrase a great American president   “We have nothing to fear but the politics of fear itself”


  1. Hi Dave: my sentiments exactly. As you are the solar guru, have you checked out Went and looked at them today and these units look very interesting. Your thoughts???

    Janet Elliott

  2. I agree. You would probably disagree with me, but I think it also applies to the fear about global warming. I don’t believe global warming is nearly as bad as the fear mongering the McCains and Gordos of the world like to tell us it is. We should be focusing more resources into taxing harmful pollution as opposed to C02.

  3. Fear is a huge motivator. For the States you have to wonder how much longer they can afford it.

    “And, most of all, the fear that America will not regain its pre-eminence on the world stage if it does not fight for the American way, if it does not fight for the old values.”

    I think it does need to fight for it’s old values, but I think it needs to re-define “fight” and re-learn it’s old values.

    Individual liberty instead of the Patriot Act, or Obama’s new laws on indefinite detention.

    Edward Murrow wrote a great piece on being scared of Reds which included the phrase (and I’m paraphrasing) “We are not descended from fearful men”.

    And yet today any change is feared so greatly that a guy like Ron Paul is labelled a kook for saying they need to stop the war on drugs and get out of foreign wars.

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