FEAR NOT

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Some peo­ple con­demn the emerg­ing Amer­i­can sissy cul­ture that cul­ti­vates fear of plane crashes, road rage, ter­ror­ism, the dis­ease-of-the-week and more. Fu­eled by a shrill me­dia, alarmist mar­ket­ing and canny politi­cians, our so­ci­ety is “reel­ing from one scare to an­other, and usu­ally for no rea­son,” says Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia so­ci­ol­o­gist Barry Glass­ner.

“Are we liv­ing in ex­cep­tion­ally danger­ous times? It is our per­cep­tion of dan­ger that has in­creased, not the ac­tual level of risk,” he says. “Peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions ma­nip­u­late our per­cep­tions and profit from our fears, in­clud­ing ad­vo­cacy groups that raise money by ex­ag­ger­at­ing the preva­lence of par­tic­u­lar dis­eases and politi­cians who win elec­tions by height­en­ing con­cerns about crime, drug use and ter­ror­ism.”

Mr. Glass­ner au­thored “Cli­mate of Fear: Why Amer­i­cans are Afraid of the Wrong Things” in the 1990s to cover the era’s as­sorted bo­gey­men, and has since up­dated it for a new cen­tury, he says, to show the price of “so­cial panic.” The book will be pub­lished Jan. 4.

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