Opinion

The left is pushing fear to advance its agenda

Most Americans only know one phrase from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural address. But the entire sentence speaks volumes about where America is in 2021: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

The left has created a culture of fear — fear of COVID, fear of police, fear of white supremacy, fear the world will end due to climate change — to silence dissent and advance its agenda.

The strategy has worked: Americans have never been more fearful or less patriotic. And this unreasoning, unjustified terror is paralyzing efforts to rebuild our economy, improve race relations and unite our country.

Let’s start with COVID. Hospitalization rates are between just 1 percent and 5 percent, but a March Gallup poll revealed that 41 percent of Democrats thought the figure was at least 50 percent, and another 28 percent thought it was between 20 percent and 49 percent. Even 51 percent of Republicans thought the figure was at least 20 percent.

Respondents also overestimated the share of COVID-19 deaths from people aged 24 and younger, putting it at 8 percent, when it’s just 0.1 percent.

A recent Morning Consult poll revealed that many Americans, particularly those who have already been vaccinated, still live in a state of perpetual COVID anxiety. Less than half of the vaccinated cohort felt comfortable renting a car, socializing in public, worshipping in a church, flying or going on a date.

The Centers for Disease Control have now eased mask restrictions for the vaccinated, but some who once preached “Listen to the experts” aren’t happy about it. The New York Times recently profiled Joe Glickman, a vaccinated photographer from Albany who has been wearing goggles, an N95 mask, plus a cloth mask on top of it when he shops and plans to continue for “at least the next five years.” 

Others who are vaccinated still have sex with masks on. A woman identifying herself as “Maskless and Alone” complained to Slate that her husband was so terrified of catching COVID that he wears a mask 24 hours a day, even while he eats, sleeps and makes love.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who lives happily in a rich neighborhood, spread ridiculous fears of police hostility on poor, minority communities.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who lives happily in a rich neighborhood, spread ridiculous fears of police hostility on poor, minority communities.
Biden Harris/ZUMA Wire

At the same time the media, left-leaning politicians and other neurotic elites have stoked wildly disproportionate and irrational fears of police and white supremacists, damaging race relations in the process. Michelle Obama, who lives in a 30-acre, $11.75 million oceanfront compound on Martha’s Vineyard (which is 96 percent white), recently described her fear of racist police to “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King.

“[M]any of us still live in fear as we go to the grocery store or worry about walking our dogs or allowing our children to get a license,” she said. “The innocent act of getting a license puts fear in our hearts.”

If the Obamas claim to be this fearful, imagine how terrified other blacks should be, right? And, of course, because the police can’t be blamed for everything, the left has also hyped the white-supremacy threat beyond all rational comprehension, promoting small, marginal groups like the Boogaloos and the Proud Boys as if they’re the new ISIS or al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, doomsday progressives inflate the climate-change threat, sometimes scaring the daylights out of their own children in the process. California Rep. Katie Porter recently asked Greta Thunberg for advice on how to console her 9-year-old daughter, who fears that the “earth is on fire and we’re all going to die soon.” Can anyone doubt where she got that idea from?

The left has used all these fears to crack down on dissenting speech. One now risks being canceled (or “vaporized,” as George Orwell put it in “1984”) for a wide range of thought crimes. Fearful Americans digest news through information silos and aren’t exposed to information that might make them more hopeful, not just about COVID, climate change or race relations, but about America itself.

FDR’s memorable line about fearing “fear itself” may have come from Henry David Thoreau, who also said, “Fear creates danger and courage dispels it.” Those are words we should all live by right now.

Dave Seminara is the author of “Mad Travelers: A Tale of Wanderlust, Greed and the Quest to Reach the Ends of the Earth.”


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