The Politics of Fear

We live in the age of fear.

If we turn on the television we hear awful news about terrorism, heinous crimes and terrible catastrophes.

If we turn on on any political discourse we hear the same awful news plus – often – a clear message of warning, which is translated into racism, xenophobia, violence. Closing doors and rising walls.

No words of hope, openess, oneness.

I don’t think that everybody in this world is affected by this contagion of fear, but the polarization is evident and fear wins, at least on the media.

This is easy to explain: every message which has an impact on sales wins on the media. And fear sales very well. People get anxious, want to hear more and know more, watch more TV and buy more news magazines, have more details… in the hope to get reassured. Unfortunately, what they get is just more fear.and fear gets addicting.

The same holds true for politics: those who sell fear earn votes in exchange of a fallacious promise of security.

How can national politicians only think to stop terrorism or migration waves closing the doors to what happens outside?

The solution resides outside just as the problem: it may only be a collective one, one which comes from a political discourse grounded on the interdependence of countries as well as on the interconnectedness of human beings.

What really strikes me is the fact that, according to many databases, the war deaths have been declining since 1946 and, as reported by Our World in Data “although wars are still fought, the world is now more peaceful than ever”.

From the perspective of the Human Security Report  “since 1900 far more people have been killed by their own governments than by foreign armies”.

True that the number of victims of terrorism has increased and, being this a random threat we feel more insecure, but the aggregated data show that over 78 per cent, occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria and half of the terrorist deaths are attributed to Boko Haram and ISIS. (source Global Terrorism Index) As sad as it is, it appears to me as a new kind of war, which affects these five unfortunate countries.

So, why the impact on political discourse and the polarization of politics has been so impressive in the US, Britain, France, Italy, Hungary, Poland where the first cause of death are, still, diseases of the circulatory system and cancer?

Just a matter of selling fear in exchange of votes?

Nonetheless, we need to stay positive and spread our message of peace, and awareness. If you need a boost of hope, I invite you to read this previous post.

 

Leave a Reply