Fear and Fascism

The world didn’t end Saturday, and I am sure enough to be writing this before the fact. (Omigod! Is that a dark black cloud!!?? Oh, a light bulb just blew. Whew! I’d hate to be wrong on this one.) Like Roswell, this never-ending story just won’t go away. It likely never will. The press’s attention to Camping is understandable–something light-hearted to break the tedium of real news. It is no more newsworthy than Arnold’s love child.

Religious zealots like this are con artists. As the saying goes, you can’t con an honest person. The only people hurt by Camping are the people dense enough to believe him. They are dishonest with themselves, ripe fruit for this grifter and the next and the next. What makes the topic worthy of a blog is the blind spot some people have for their own self-generated nightmares and the things they are willing to do to other people to avoid facing reality.

Global warming is my favorite. I never lose my fascination with tracing the string of illogic that normally sensible people follow to get to their apocalyptic conclusions about our planet and its imminent demise. Always, curiously, attributable to something we bad old human beings have done. Unlike religious nuts, though, the Warmers are able to recruit enforcers. The EPA has managed to commandeer the authority to regulate from virtually anyone who can muster an objection. We are being led (actually, dragged) down the garden path and are about to step in the mud big time.

Likewise with terrorism. 9/11 understandably humbled us concerning safety within our borders. I flew eight days after the event and would gladly have gone through the metal detectors naked.* Now, though, we have let our psychological wounds fester into a boil of constant anxiety. We are conned into thinking that sophisticated technology and intrusive pat downs will ease the pain, not seeing that the manufacturers of the machines are running their fingers through the bounty they collected from our foolishness. We are little better than the idiots who contribute to Camping or the dolts who pay to have a gypsy’s spell removed.

We probably all have chinks in the armor of our reason. I once thought I could actually get a date with the Bangles. (Susanna Hoffs was the holdout–I only got a love note from her. See below. I am pretty sure that’s my name.) Unlike the Warmers and the Gropers, though, I was the only victim of my fantasy. I could not force anyone else to play along. A broken heart and a dose of humility is all I suffered. Not so with the fool who forces compliance–he leaves a wake of collateral damage.

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*Actually, I tried to get them to let me do that, but they declined.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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