Paradoxes of the Culture of Fear

1988 Words8 Pages
Paradoxes of the Culture of Fear Americans are addicted to many things. For instance, the populace is addicted to such things as violent spectacle and imagery. Another example is sensationalism. But one of the paradoxical ones is the addiction to fear. The populace is under constant fear of something bad happening or being projected to happen soon. These are crime rates, financial collapse, terrorist attacks, epidemics of diseases, and many more. But it is a paradox that Americans fear the wrong things. As Barry Glassner states in his book Culture of Fear, "one of the paradoxes of a culture of ear is that serious problems remain widely ignored even though they give rise to precisely the dangers that the populace most abhors" (p. xxvi). The problem is that Americans not only fear the wrong things but the true fearful and dangerous things are ignored although these dangers are the ones they truly abhor. There are numerous examples from recent history that can illustrate this paradox. Glassner points out how the "war on terror" played out to be one of the clear examples of it. The government, the media, the commentators constantly kept warning Americans of the dangers of terrorism. Americans thus feared that terrorists not only could stage another attack but also disrupt the nation's financial order, leading to grave problems for the country. But in reality the terrorists failed to attack America, while the government did not allocate the same level of resources to
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