Fear is the Mind Killer
Frank Herbert wrote in Dune, “Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death...” Indeed, fear is the more dangerous virus infecting us.
Witness the fearfulness engulfing Americans:
- Fear of the virus.
- Fear of being called a racist.
- Fear of being canceled.
- Fear of the other.
- Fear of defending beliefs.
- Fear of our history.
- Fear of not being woke.
- Fear even of saying the truth.
Fear works. The face of America has taken on a pallor. Before the specter of 2021 descended, we were proud to identify as “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”
Now, after a year of cautious, quiet desperation precipitated by a shower of those fears, we have become “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Our Fearful Leader bangs his drum of fear incessantly, hammering a dent into our sense of free ill. Nine days before Christmas, the President told us, "I want to send a direct message to the American people…. We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated -- for themselves, their families and the hospitals they'll soon overwhelm.” Prepare for your winter of death, he advises.
Never in American history has a president openly told Americans to be afraid: death is coming for you. Quite the opposite is the norm. FDR, in his first inaugural address, said, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” The threat then was the Great Depression. Now, we have this whole litany of newly invented irrational fears to overcome, and perhaps not the national stomach of that previous era, to face them down.
What is worse than being called a racist? Being called a coward.
What is more worrisome than the bug is President Biden’s insistence that the nation in its entirety and without exception join with him in fear or else suffer severe penalty at his hand. He says aloud that our required compliance outweighs freedom, “It’s not about freedom or your personal choice,” he said hollowly to the nation on September 8, 2020.
On the contrary, Mr. President, it most certainly is exactly about freedom.
He uses the power of fiat to enforce his demand that all obey his dictates. But there was, and is, no public mandate for mandates. The “consent of the governed” is irrelevant to Joe Biden. He rationalizes that he is potentially protecting lives of a fraction of a percent through the massive collateral damage of destroying tens of millions of livelihoods and the American way of life, and unknown damage to the psyche of a generation of children. Despair and skyrocketing suicides are acceptable losses to the administration so long as the COVID fear persists. He cares so much for you he will have you fired for not getting the requisite injections. No exceptions, not even Navy SEALs, not even those brave souls who cared for the infected.
His irrational insistence that every person become “fully vaccinated,” which we have learned is itself an organic, living term, certainly raises suspicion that there is some ulterior motive to this red-line position, such as laying the foundation for enforcement of an unquestioning acceptance of authority.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away,” wrote Philip K. Dick, author of The Man in the High Castle. But the reality is that our beliefs are what make us a people and a nation.
Our reality changes before us as we stop believing in the humanities of our nation: our history, culture, philosophy, society. These are the beliefs that distinguish America from all other nations, present and past. Those who believe they are worth preserving cannot remain mute.
A significant majority of Americans remain, for now, quietly dispassionate observers to a national, passive acceptance of suddenly usurped authority over our lives and livelihoods. Meekly, we obediently follow the dictates from on high, no matter how ill-founded, misjudged, and irrational. They are the experts, after all: they are the authorities. Any questions?
We watch our history being canceled as if it was no greater disappointment than merely sharing the same fate as a favored TV show biting the dust. Eerily, we are assured by the media this is for the public good. They tell us, feel shame, not pride, in your country and its history.
Such a demented view is the strongest reason to teach and embrace, rather than abandon, both American history and for comparative purposes, world history. Has anyone seen wisdom around here lately? Seems to have gone missing.
Next, we face the recently implanted social fears of group cancellation through perceptions of insufficient compassion directed to the defeatist cohorts. Their tactic to resolve their problems of self-esteem is to make them your problems. By not curing them, they claim you are oppressing them.
We are told to discard the principles of liberty and rugged individualism because the idea of competing and being self-reliant should no longer be considered virtues that give sharp muscular definition to what it is to be American. Honor, dignity, responsibility, forbearance: these, we are informed by our enlightened elite, are vestiges of some oppressive patriarchy. They want us mushier.
The radical left finds these qualities to be affronts to the weak; those content to be provided a life of assured banality in which a national authority usurps all the life choices that are otherwise bestowed upon a soul living a life of liberty in America. They tell us that bar is too high for some, so we must lower our standards for all. Stoop, so others need not reach.
The Left’s dream of equity is this: the day when we all live in shared misery in a land not of opportunity, but of enforced mediocracy, obediently showing up to a meaningless guaranteed government job with corresponding minimal expectations of performance or advancement, living in government housing zoned to ensure conformity with approved diversity guidelines, and monitored by constant surveillance for compliance. That is the dream.
This general malaise that has descended upon the spirit of America is felt as a loss of confidence, deliberately and purposefully imposed by internal forces. Domestic forces whose openly expressed intent is to fundamentally change the nature of the United States; and a psychological force -- a creeping unease in the struggle of mindful Americans of how to process the assault we feel daily on American values.
Fear can play no part for the citizenry of a free United States, but fear would be key to the control function of any replacement overseers. We must, or the least afraid among us must, end the fear by showing courage and thereby spreading courage further. We must let there be no doubt about our resolve to continue a free way of life in America by speaking with resolve with friends to bolster them, and to opposing views to challenge their motives in the land of the free. We need leaders stepping up.
To that end, our senators and representatives who themselves fear losing an election by potentially being shunned by a discordant and strident group need to instead, show some spine. Rise to save our nation. Break from the Fear Party. Let us hear you as our voice in expressing what it means to be an American.
Rick McDowell is a writer of political philosophy and essays on the mind at “The American Perspective”