FDR once said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Now I am far from being a fan of FDR, but his words ring true and inspired a nation that could have succumbed more completely to uninformed panic than history shows us that it did. I have long been a political animal, posting and blogging on forums and boards and it has been my observation that many people are scared of the future, scared of their own ignorance, and frustrated at the lack of control over their own destinies. We see this whenever any polarizing person or event comes to prominence. For many, Clinton was evil incarnate. For others, Bush was the next of kin to Himmler. For others still, Obama is a muslim antichrist that is intent upon turning us into socialist slaves. I will not opine on those positions, except to ask, “How many of the fears were actually realized and how many were exaggerated in our own minds?”
With polarizing personalities, creeds, and events, come counter movements. These movements run counter to the mainstream and by that definition, are arguably deviant. Deviance attracts others eschewed from the main herd. Malcontents, fear mongerers, extremists, the emotionally insecure, and paranoids all gravitate toward movements that run counter to the herd’s direction. They join with the legitimate members of the movements, hoping for a form of acceptance that the greater herd has denied them.
I see that with our community. At heart, we are a movement that is a cross-section of a growing political movement that shuns the status quo and seeks some form of self reliance. No matter where we fall in the political spectrum, we see a need to prepare against exigencies that while we may not be able to articulate them, we instinctively know that they are increasingly possible. As such, WE become the deviants, in terms of thinking and acting differently from the mainstream.
Most of us manage this and are still able to function within the greater herd, to varying degrees. We have plenty of evidence that reinforces the necessity for our creed and actions. We do not have to look far for such evidence. We certainly do not have to conceive of scenarios that beggar credulity to justify ourselves.
We do not have to monger fear and paranoia to rationalize our beliefs and actions. One of the reasons that counter movements remain counter is that they feed the stereotypes that are perpetrated within the herd. Legitimacy will not be won by continuing thusly. For example, the herd looks at the 9/11 Truthers with skepticism, at best and many times with scorn. Yet the Truthers carry on with, IMO, outrageous claims and little support. They reinforce the bias against them. They fail to consider that, yes, the government has little regard for liberty. No government does. It is the nature of governments to accrue power unto themselves. However, no government is efficient so how could they pull a 9/11 conpiracy off without human nature asserting itself and revealing it to the herd for personal gain?
Now apply this to our movement. The public is content to graze on the taxpayer pasture and we upset that with our, mostly, quiet beliefs and actions. We do not fit their preconceived notions of militias and neo-nazi encampments of PTSD Vietnam vets holed up in cabins in the mountains. We disturb them because, in many cases, we ARE them. This is how we reach people and convince them of the rightness of our creed and actions. We show them how we can be a healthy part of society.
What hinders us from reaching many? When we monger fear amongst ourselves and when we irresponsibly put unproven information out there for our own consumption, we begin to think and act the way the herd is predisposed to think of us thinking and acting. We have little to prove to each other on these boards and forums. The fact that many of us are participating, is encouraging and educational. We learn more from reason, than we do fear and paranoia.
I know that many out there are excoriating me by now and are calling me naive or worse. So I pose this question to the paranoid and the fear mongers; what would be an effective tactic to sow distrust and discord within the movement? Perhaps putting in chest thumping ringers and seminar posters to feed the fears? Just something to think about…