Tuesday, March 19, 2024

#79 / We're Afraid Of What?

Christopher Bader, pictured, is a professor of sociology at Chapman University. According to a biography online at Amazon.com, Bader "specializes in ... deviant behavior." Among other things! Click that link to Bader's name to learn more.

On January 30, 2024, Bader was featured in a New York Times' "Conversation" that focused on the following pertinent question: "What Are We So Afraid Of?"

Well, of course, if we are honest, we surely each know, from our personal experience, that we are afraid of a lot of things! While I am partial, myself, to that good advice coming from the Bible, which quotes Jesus' direction to "Fear Not," I think that I, like most of us, still continue to be afraid. 

According to Bader (he's a specialist), the thing that Americans are most afraid of, right now, is: 


I was pretty surprised by this. What about nuclear war; or worldwide pandemics; or droughts; or earthquakes; or floods; or shool shooters; or auto theft...? What about a windstorm dropping a big tree right on top of your house? Well, the list goes on, just to prove my earlier point. We are afraid of lots of things. "Government corruption," however, appears to be the thing that Americans are most afraid of, right now, at least according to Bader. He says that "sixty percent of Americans are afraid of corrupt government officials."

I think it would be worthwhile for us to analyze why this might be so. The things that I tend to be most afraid of are things over which I have very little, if any, control (there is a partial list in the paragraph just above). Maybe I am unusual, but I kind of doubt it. If others are like me, and tend to be afraid, mostly, of things over which they have no control (again, check that partial list of my real fears, as presented above), then Bader's research indicates that Americans believe that they have little or no control over their government. 

Actually, now that I think about it, that isn't so surprising. We are supposed to have "self-government," but people, more and more, tend to think that they are subject to the government, rather than the government being subject to them. They tend to "observe" government, and what it does, rather than "direct" government to do what the people want. For many of us, "government" goes into the category of things over which we have very little, or no control.

Those who feel this way are, I would argue, being seduced by a misapprehension. I frequently urge us to remember that our government only works when it is "of, by, and for" the people, and making sure our government is "by" the people is the most important thing. That means that we each should be engaging with politics and government all the time. If we did, we'd be working on the issues and concerns that now we're just afraid of. 

So, where government is concerned, "Fear Not." 


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