The World Is Not Full Of Danger
The latest in the politics of fear was delivered this week by Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, who stood up in front of Congress and gave a speech with the title “The World Is Not Safe Today”.
“The world is full of dangerous, rogue nations seeking to do harm,” Poe said.
It would be silly, of course, to say that the world is completely safe, but then, when has it ever been?
Go to a major city in the wintertime, and you’ll see signs warning people walking down the sidewalk to beware of falling ice. Every now and then, big icicles form on the skyscrapers, and then crash down onto pedestrians, killing them. Yet, most of the time, when people walk past these buildings, they don’t get hurt. The nation doesn’t freak out. Nobody suggests going to war, or restricting civil liberties.
Yet, Republicans like Ted Poe routinely propose warfare and the compromise of civil liberties, and they do it on the basis of fear. Their violent political agendas just don’t make any sense, if people don’t accept the premise that “the world is not safe” and that terrible dangers threaten us at all times.
There are dangers in the world, but the world is not “full of dangerous, rogue nations seeking to do harm”. Actually, it’s mostly empty of them.
It’s easier to identify stable, non-threatening nations, like Poland, New Zealand, Brazil, Togo, Mongolia, Vanuatu and Canada than it is to identify dangerous rogue nations. Every country has its problems, and many have bad governments, but open warfare is actually becoming less common over time. Terrorism isn’t a common event in most communities. There are a few dangerous, rogue nations, but mostly they aren’t actively seeking to do harm. Mostly, they’re like North Korea, weak and desperate nations that are trying to bluster their way into a position of international attention.
Serious, mature responses to war, terrorism, corruption and other problems needs to be taken, but there is no cause for panic, no need for war, and no reason for us to surrender constitutional rights to the merchants of fear.