The Only Thing We Have To Fear

Is Sophist’s peddling fear,

Fear is even used to prevent us from questioning the decisions supposedly being made for our safety. The foundation of this approach in our government can be traced back to burning rubble of the World Trade Center, exemplified by this statement by John Ashcroft, then the attorney general of the United States, in December 2001: “To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this. Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies, and pause to America’s friends.”

As Svendsen points out, Ashcroft’s reasoning is straight out of the playbook of the German legal philosopher Carl Schmitt, who was notorious for defending Hitler’s extrajudicial killings of his political enemies. Schmitt too felt that national unity was critical and that liberty should be subjugated to safety. Svendsen writes:

The problem with a results oriented educational framework is that people such as myself will always contrive to fail, once the charade is exposed. I mean why not? You educate cattle with chutes too. As the Sophist knows, you use what you know to twist that what your audeince doesn’t know into what you wish to see them believe, usually for a good return, such as modern televangelicals, politicians and political pundits practice. American apathy isn’t so much a function Stoicism and Christianity as it is of having nothing to think with about anything at all.

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