Living in Fear

I visited Amazon (well, Whole Foods) the other day to procure some groceries. The store was busy, as it was a weekend afternoon. I was truly surprised at the number of people wearing face diapers. While one or two retired folks wore masks, the younger, 30-something crowd all seemed to be wearing their face armor.

As I brazenly walked without a mask near a young woman, she abruptly stopped and backed up, cart and all! Her actions and expression - at least what I could see of it - conveyed the raw emotion of fear. Not just social conformity, but actual fear. I considered coughing to see if she would actually run out of the store.

What could invoke such mass paranoia in an entire demographic segment? I've seen no recent reports of a spike in virus-related deaths, although I have read recent articles which report vaccinated individuals contacting the China virus. But that's a topic for another discussion.

It seems that paranoia itself is the viral fear engulfing society. And it's being driven by global interests who have an interest in controlling their subjects.

John Tierney wrote an insightful article, The Politics of Fear - For economist Robert Higgs, Covid-19 is just the latest emergency justifying expanded government power, City Journal, May 20, 2020. Tierney writes:

In the political response to the Covid-19 pandemic, everything is proceeding just as economist Robert Higgs has foreseen. But that doesn’t make it any easier for him to watch it. “I have an overwhelming feeling that I am reliving a bad experience I’ve lived through several times before, only this time it’s worse,” Higgs says. “I have no doubt that even if the current situation plays out in the best imaginable way, it will leave an abundance of legacies for the worse so far as people’s freedom is concerned.”

Higgs sees government, as usual, vastly expanding during the crisis, and he’s sure that it will not shrink back to its former scale once the crisis is over. It never does, as he famously documented in his 1987 book, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, and in later works exploring this “ratchet effect.”

By surveying the effect of wars, financial panics, and other crises over the course of a century, Higgs showed that most government growth occurs in sporadic bursts during emergencies, when politicians enact “temporary” programs and regulations that never get fully abolished. New Deal bureaucracies and subsidies persisted long after the Great Depression, for example, and the U.S. military didn’t revert to its prewar size after either of the world wars....

Higgs focused on the political significance of the underlying psychological cause: negativity bias, which is that negative events and emotions affect us more strongly than positive ones. Roy Baumeister and John Tierney expounded on this in their book, The Power of Bad. Higgs explained in a 2005 essay, The Political Economy of Fear, that:

Our evolved physiological makeup disposes us to fear all sorts of actual and potential threats, even those that exist only in our imagination. The people who have the effrontery to rule us, who call themselves our government, understand this basic fact of human nature. They exploit it, and they cultivate it....

People were told that the government can and should protect them from all sorts of workaday threats to their lives, livelihoods, and overall well-being—threats of destitution, hunger, disability, unemployment, illness, lack of income in old age, germs in the water, toxins in the food, and insults to their race, sex, ancestry, creed, and so forth. Nearly everything that the people feared, the government then stood poised to ward off.

Tierney points out that politicians can expand government in normal times only slowly. But a new threat like the China virus allows government to expand at breakneck speed. Higgs discusses this in a 2009 essay, "The Political Economy of Crisis Opportunism."

Tierney notes that crisis-induced expanded government is unlikely to contract after the crisis abates:

The Covid-19 lockdown measures are supposed to be temporary, but Higgs expects them to endure due to another consequence of the negativity effect: because bad events have more impact than good ones, people strive harder to avoid losses than they do to achieve gains. As a result, any new government program typically creates a powerful coalition committed to its preservation: an “iron triangle” consisting of a legislative committee, an administrative bureaucracy, and a group of special interests reaping benefits from the program.

Former Obama advisor Rahm Emanuel said:

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.

It's pretty clear that the Marxist Biden Regime is doing everything it can to expand government while siccing the FBI on parents who question critical race theory and Covid mandates in government schools.

Now that's something to be afraid of.


Mollie Hemingway's new book, Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections explains how Democrats took advantage of the China virus panic to push questionable changes in voting procedures. Review: The Democrats' dark campaign master, by Byron York, Washington Examiner, October 11, 2021.