Nothing to fear but the Fearmongers


March 25, 2017

Nothing to fear but the Fearmongers

by Dean Johns@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for geert wilders, marine LePen, and Trump

Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump and Geert Wilders– The Fearmongers

Possibly the best-known comment on fear is US President Franklin D Roosevelt’s attempt in his 1933 first inaugural address to encourage Americans facing the great depression with the ringing reminder that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

But of course what Roosevelt and many others who had expressed this sentiment before him actually meant was that what we have to fear is excessive fear.Because a moderate degree of fear, or at least caution, is essential to the maintenance of human, indeed all animal, life in the face of potential threats like hunger, thirst or physical assault.

So that, as a former Australian government sensibly advised its populace following the terrorist bombings in Bali bombings that killed a good many of its own and other countries’ citizens in 2002, it pays to be “alert, but not alarmed”.

This represented a most welcome change of attitude from the state of xenophobic paranoia if not outright panic at the imagined threat of being swamped by the so-called ‘yellow peril’ that until all too recently inspired the disgracefully racist so-called ‘White Australia Policy’.

However relatively less fearful my country has sensibly and mercifully become, though, ugly traces of old anti-other attitudes unfortunately persist in the disordered minds of at least a small minority of Australians, as witnessed by the existence of the appalling party that Pauline Hanson and her supporters call One Nation.

Or, as I prefer to think of the thing, One Notion, given that its sole policy and preoccupation appears to be the winning of a share of political power by promoting fears of ‘threats’ to Australia allegedly posed by the nation’s admitting and failing to assimilate ‘too many’ non-European, non-Christian immigrants and refugees.

In other words, it’s the same fear campaign that’s being waged around the world by right-wing, or in other words wrong-wing, parties and pressure groups like those headed by the likes of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Marine Le Pen in France, and Donald Trump in the US.

Trump being, by dint of his pre-eminence as the President of the world’s richest, most culturally influential and most militarily powerful nation, by far the most dangerous of these and countless other leaders, or rather misleaders, who busily seek to seize or retain power by playing on the fears of their most racist, religionist or otherwise ignorant and insecure citizens.

And as regrettable as Trump’s exclusionary efforts are in theory, they’re even more ridiculous in fact. For example, his list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens he is determined to deny entry to the US illogically doesn’t include Saudi Arabia, of which most of the 911 terrorists were citizens, or Pakistan, the country whose secret police harboured Osama bin Laden while George W Bush was busy hunting him in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, his exclusion of selected Muslims for the purported purpose of protecting US citizens from terrorism is a spectacular case of errorism, given that home-grown citizen-on-citizen terrorism disguised as the ‘right to keep and bear arms’ costs infinitely more lives than imported terrorism could imaginably do, as US deaths by gunshot total some 30,000, or eight or nine times the toll taken by the 911 atrocity, every year.

And there is as little sense behind Trump’s claims that American jobs have been ‘taken’ by other countries, in light of the fact that the US has been the most tireless promoter of so-called ‘globalisation’, or in other words, US corporations’ exploitive export of production and other facilities to other, poorer countries in the pursuit of cheaper labour, expanded markets and thus fatter profits.

However little sense fearmongering makes, though, it will persist for as long as there are mongrels prepared to resort to it, and to demonstrate that it apparently works, as in the case of Trump’s recent election, for example, and the success of so-called ‘Brexit’ case for the UK to quit the EU.

It doesn’t necessarily work for very long

But there’s also ample evidence that it doesn’t necessarily work for very long. For example, despite his virtually writing the book on fear-mongering, Mein Kampf, in which he declared that “the art of leadership… consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention”, Adolph Hitler only managed to sustain his projected ‘Thousand-Year Reich’ for a decade or so.

On the other hand, however, today’s ultimate example of fearmongering, the North Korean regime’s terrorising and enslavement of its people by sustaining the pretense that it is still fighting a war that it lost over 60 years ago, continues to work after a fashion, though arguably only with China’s assistance.

And Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional (National Front) has sustained itself in uninterrupted power since 1957 by apparently taking a leaf out of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) and literally putting the fear of God into the majority of its subjects by pretending to ‘struggle’ to save not only their religion but also their race and royalty from attack by alleged enemies.

Enemies primarily including ‘the Jews’, George Soros and ‘The West’ in general, according to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during his 22 democracy-crippling, rule-of-law-destroying and kleptocracy-creating years in office.

And now, with Najib Abdul Razak desperately defending his even more disastrous premiership, he and his BN accomplices are busy mongering even more frightful fears.

Borrowing or rather stealing Donald Trump’s concept of the spectre of ‘fake news’ to attempt to discredit inconvenient or incriminating truths about them and their crimes; fomenting or at least magnifying a fake ‘conflict’ against an allegedly hostile North Korea to foster faux-patriotism; and just for good measure, inventing untold other, unspecified ‘enemies’ to further terrify the timorous.

Image result for Najib Razak the Fearmonger

Playing with Imagined Malay Fears

According to BN’s own ‘fake news’ agency, Bernama, Najib recently “reminded the people regarding crucial matters which could destroy the country including being the country’s covert enemies or conspiring with the country’s enemies”, then continued with a litany of alleged lies and further confusion in the same vein.

Thus signifying that he’s absolutely terrified that someday a majority of Malaysians will finally find the courage to face the non-existent fears that have kept them in thrall to BN all these years, and throw these fear-mongers out on their ears.

11 thoughts on “Nothing to fear but the Fearmongers

  1. If you create society that is weak and insecure you can instill fear and that works most of the time. If it is desperate, that society will revolt and you lose power. The French Revolution of 1789 is a prime example. But the blowback is the reign of terrorism that ensued. It took a Corsican to restore order in France. LaMoy, what do you think now that Trump the fearmonger is POTUS?–Din Merican

  2. Looking at the poll numbers, Najib must know his days in power are numbered even with Hadi’s PAS support. The question then is what does he really want in the end? More importantly what is he planning in terms of his own exit from power?

    The question is highly important because he is destroying the very foundations of the country to survive. What is the use of leaving behind a destroyed country to be cursed for eternity?

    • Semper, a rose is a rose, is a rose in many other names. The terrorists are as much Islamic as the rest of the 95%, since they are using the name of the religion and the faith. And they are killing mostly Muslims. A reformation for Islam is long over due. The Christians did it. How Islam is going to do it is up to all Muslims. And only the Muslims can do it.

      The Chinese term for crisis (危机 Wéijī) is made up of two character, one meaning danger and the other opportunity. Despair not. I strongly believe there will soon be reformers like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli appearing within the Muslims communities to deliver the 95% god-fearing and peace loving Muslims from pains and sufferings.

      But at the mean time the vast majority of your fellow Muslims cannot keep running away from the terrorists. You don’t come out, stand up and speak loud for people of other faiths to hear. You direct it to the terrorists. I’m in no place to tell you what to do, for I’m not a Muslim and will not be a Muslim. But if I were a Muslim I would choose to organize or support those who fight the terrorists to demolish them.

  3. As human beings, our capacity to forget is astonishing, second only to our capacity to believe just about anything. We find ourselves in a place we never thought we’d be in this century: Witnessing, and in many cases supporting, the rise of leaders proposing such things as restricting freedoms of specific groups of people, sending political opponents to prison, employing crueler methods of torture, killing families for an individual’s crimes, cracking down on the press and scapegoating entire ethnicities. Yes, we are talking about Donald Trump. And unfortunately, it’s not just Donald Trump, around the Western world, the Great Panic is very real and very ugly, with various increasingly popular politicians and parties espousing nationalist policies that threaten democratic freedoms and human rights.

    The Trump’s executive order banning of Muslim immigrants and refugees is kind of a red herring. Immigrants and refugees have to go through rigorous screening. None of them alleged to have been in any form of terrorist activity. It is one of those ‘sounds good’ but as a practical matter is not making a difference to the terrorism issue which is overwhelmingly a domestic terrorism in the United States problem. If we go through the near 400 cases of terror prosecuted in the United States since September 11, they’re overwhelmingly Americans. Four out of five cases are American citizens, legal residents and very few are refugees, about a dozen. None of those cases involve acts of lethal terrorism or attempted lethal terrorism. If Trump was serious about domestic attacks, he would restrict the easy availability to purchase guns.

    If there’s one thread tying together the Great Panic, it’s that it dates back to one of the most destructive political tactics in history: scapegoating. One would think that we’d have learned better by now, because when a politician points a finger at a group of people and says, “It’s their fault,” and backs this assertion up with distortions, lies, and stereotypes that spread fear, what usually follows is at best discrimination and at worst genocide. And with the hindsight of history, similar so-called threats from witches, Jews, communists, intellectuals, Tutsis, Croats and so many others have proven to be groundless manipulations spread through bold lies with a high human cost. Malaysians should know about this, you’ve your May 13. And I’ve a hunch another one is on the way.

    A Washington Post news analysis last month derided Trump’s fear-mongering: “Playing upon the nation’s anxieties about what might happen also stands as a stark contrast to how presidents have lifted the country out of actual crisis in the past.” Trump’s fear-mongering isn’t new, but never before Trump is betraying our country’s ideals of dignity and justice. I blame my own Republican party as much as I blame Trump. It is the Republicans who are helping create the “wasteland” in which Trump’s fear-mongering and xenophobia could flourish in the dangerous movement. If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan want to know where Donald Trump came from, they should take a look in the mirror. McConnell and Ryan are trying to have it both ways by criticizing Trump’s most outrageous remarks while pledging support to him, in fear of risking fracturing the Republican Party and inciting a revolt by the millions of voters who have supported Trump’s campaign. Very few Republicans have the balls and the backbones to say: “Enough, Trump, enough.”

    But in all fairness, some of the anxieties that Trump is addressing are very real for many people, especially the economic and cultural ones, and they need to be addressed rather than debunked and demonized. This is true not just for Americans, but for Europeans, Australians, Malaysians and more. There is a trend toward authoritarianism, nationalism and scapegoating in the world that must be stopped, because we’ve seen it before and we know how it ends.

    And I see Islamic terrorism as an extremely serious problem that have to be taken care by the Muslims themselves, and only the Muslims can solve this problem. I do strongly believe that vast majority of the Muslims are peace loving people. But if these peace loving people do not come out, stand up, and speak loud to solve your own religious problem, you can’t blame others for generalizing into stereotyping you as all terrorists, and have racists and fear-mongers like Trump to exploit and manipulate the situation.

    • LaMoy, I notice you used Islamic terrorism term which I feel is not right. Often people used religion and followers such as Islam and Muslim interchangeably. Islam as the religion didn’t promote terrorism but some Muslims have conveniently used the name Islam to further their agenda. While there are over a billion Muslims, 95% of them lead a peaceful life.

      Muslims in America chose this country so that they can enjoy the freedom to live and practice their religion in peace. They have spoken out very often loudly against ISIS and other terrorist groups but somehow their voice have been muted by the media. How many news media carry statements made by CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, ICNA and the Shurah Councils? Very few and far in between, instead the media focus on actions of individuals. Sadly Islam unlike the Catholic Church have a Pope whose words are almost written in stone. Islam only have Imams of small mosque whose congregation often numbers in mere hundreds. My humble submission.

  4. Interesting to note:

    Then – Russia (in the shape of the USSR) promoting Communism (Stalinism) throughout the world

    Now – Russia (under Putin) promoting a version of neo-fascism (?) in North America and Europe

  5. Teachings and values prescribed in the respective Holy Scriptures are regularly quoted at every function including functions specific to the Teachings of the respective Holy Scriptures and voiced loudly by many leaders. Some religious leaders have even required prescribing of laws to compulsorily comply with teachings as prescribed in those respective Holy Scriptures. Unfortunately it may be perceived to have become a common culture among many leaders worldwide and their followers/supporters may have assumed that either these Teachings of their own respective Holy Scriptures are either not applicable to them or that they are exempt or that those responsible for enforcement may not enforce the requirement on these leaders/followers/supporters. IN TO-DAY’S CULTURE OF GREED FOR POWER AND WEALTH THE TEACHINGS AND VALUES PRESCRIBED IN THE RESPECTIVE HOLY SCRIPTURES APPEAR TO HAVE LOST THEIR INTENDED VALUES AND TO BE USED FOR ENHANCEMENT OF OWN GREED.

  6. Quote:- “….If these peace loving people, (Muslims), do not come out, stand up, and speak loud to solve your own religious problem….”

    Therein lies the problem / paradox.

    They, (the peace-loving Muslims), do not and probably will not come out, stand up, and speak loud precisely because they are peace-loving and also lazy.

    In any society, regardless of race or religion, it is always the vociferous minority that would or claim to speak for the “peace-loving” majority. You have to wait until the majority actually starves to death or killed by the thousands before you see any kind of “coming out, standing up or speaking out loud”, and even then look around the World, these peace-loving majority prefer to be refugees.

    Join any social club, society or association with 1000s of members. You will find only a very small handful of people are prepared to put in the time and personal inconveniences to be office bearers. The rest just pay their subscription fees and let others do the work.

    Regardless of how we may view Tun Dr. Mahathir’s recent coming out, standing up and speaking loud, (with admiration or suspicion), there is much we can commend of those efforts from a 90 plus year old man.

  7. One name has been left out of the “wrong wing” list in this article…that of Nigel Farage… brilliantly took the lead to give the EU a deserved kick in the teeth…but hopelessly blind when it comes to “terrorism”…

    All on the list will never miss an opportunity to scream out about how Islamic Jihadists cum Sharia Law agents are a mortal danger to “our way of life”… but none will ever utter a word about the mother of all terrorist acts being commited by their countries against the half a dozen Middle East countries that has resulted in the death of thousands and the complete destruction of their countries… but then this was done so that “stability” could be brought to these Muslims…

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