The Culture of Fear and its Effects on Society
Fear and the marketing of paranoia and uncertainty have become daily staples in today’s culture. Every day there arise new threats to national security manufactured by politicians and fuelled by the public’s demand to be protected from these imaginary bogeymen. With the vast increases in technology our society has experienced in the past forty years the news media have become an especially effective orator of impending doom, the daily exposés about the “silent killer” that lurks in your kitchen cabinet; bombard our society daily with dozens of urgent reminders of the real and imagined dangers that lurk in and outside our homes. The consumption of fear has become a diet our society will soon choke on if something isn’t done to introduce common sense back into our collective psyches. History has shown that living in a culture dominated by fear and ignorance can have catastrophic consequences if it is leveraged by the right people, the Holocaust and World War II was only allowed to occur due to Hitler exploiting the fears of everyday Germans that their country was slowly being dismantled from within by the Jews and without by the international community. Paul McCarthy and his manufactured Red Scare would never have gained enough traction to destroy the lives and reputations of countless people without a society frightened enough to allow him free reign in the name of national security, the passing of the Patriot Act, Gun Control Act of 1968 and even Executive Order 9066 which paved the way for Japanese American internment during World War II were all the products of media hysteria and public ignorance and each one subsequently led to further legislation being enacted that somehow reigned in the rights of the people. Little by little the society we live in has gone from one that lived in relative ignorant bliss to a “risk society”, which is described by Ericsson and Haggerty as “A society organized around...
Cited: 1. Bennett, W. Lance. News: The Politics of Illusion. 2nd ed. White Plains, NY: Longman, 1996. Print.
2. Ericson, Richard Victor., and Kevin D. Haggerty. Policing the Risk Society. Toronto: University of Toronto, 1997. Print.
3. Murphy, Rachel, and John Flatley. Perceptions of Crime and Anti-social Behaviour: Findings from the 2008/09 British Crime Survey : Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2008/09. Ed. Debbie Moon and Alison Walker. Vol. 1. London: Home Office, 2009. Print.
4. Parade Magazine. 1997. "Do You Believe What Newspeople Tell You?" Arlington, VA: Newseum and The Roper Group.
5. Saad, Lydia. "Perceptions of Crime Problem Remain Curiously Negative." Gallup.Com - Daily News, Polls, Public Opinion on Politics, Economy, Wellbeing, and World. Gallup.com, 22 Oct. 2007. Web. 27 Jan. 2012. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/102262/perceptions-crime-problem-remain-curiously-negative.aspx>.
6. Travis, Jeremy, and Michelle Waul. Reflections on the Crime Decline: Lessons for the Future? : Proceedings from the Urban Institute Crime Decline Forum. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, Justice Policy Center, 2002. Print.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document