This is the moral crux of the issue. Values motivated by fear are extremely bad guides, but fear is a powerful and efficient slavemaster, and politicians know that very well. After all, the sole job of politicians is to manipulate your feelings. I know some people might object to that characterization, but it’s the reality of the situation.
And this reliance on fear is not only part of politics. All collectivist belief systems exploit it, because it is such an efficient tool. Religion has always played fear as a major attraction (obey us or burn in Hell forever/be reincarnated forever/we’ll kill you). Cults paint a dismal picture of life in the outside world. Racists fear the loss of culture brought about by miscegenation and “immigration.”
The mistrust and fear of other people is the result of Original Sin beliefs, which all collectivist belief systems necessarily possess in order to convince people that they have the solution to these largely imaginary problems (people are too selfish to be free or uncontrolled, people are too evil, people are too greedy). The use of Original Sin beliefs through current events created fear, mistrust, and then disrespect (active mistrust towards others), and a general alienation of the sense of community. This, of course, fits perfectly in the divide-and-conquer tactics of the State and organized religion.
To come back to politics, as Robert Higgs discusses in his book Neither Liberty Nor Safety, there are two factors necessary for government growth:
1. A dominant ideology that leasd the public to believe that the government can and should serve as the people’s savior whenever they face threats to their well-being.
2. Fear in the face of perceived large-scale threats to our well-being.So many of the goals of the State’s actions are relevant to the manufacture and manipulation of fear. Their end goal is to drum up support for internal and external wars, take over areas of society, control them (through guilds, licenses, subsidies, etc), and boost their legitimacy.
Big Media serves a subservient role because it depends on the State for its news and its credibility. So if we look at what Big Media puts out on the topic of politics, we find that it invariably pushes the party line: Big Media pushes war propaganda, Big Media beats the drums of State expansion, Big Media tries to suppress anti-State candidates and issues as much as they possibly can.
Once government has its foot in the door of whatever area, a cycle occurs by which the problem becomes greater and greater due to that intervention, and the government proposes more and more intervention to solve it, until finally the bottom falls out or the government creates a sustainable state of control over that area.
One particularly clear example of this is the War on Drugs. From 1992 to 2002 alone, the budget of the War on Drugs has skyrocketed from 96 to 148 billion dollars. The social costs of drug use, however, have basically stagnated at around 45 billion dollars. So not only is the War on Drugs twice as costly as illegal drug use as a whole (not counting the incredibly high cost of the use of drugs like alcohol and tobacco), but its costs are skyrocketing.
This is not a sustainable system, and it is likely that, unless the ruling class has the foresight to limit spending on the War on Drugs so they can keep passing laws based on it while not sinking themselves deeper in debt, the bottom will simply fall out eventually, just as it did for the Prohibition.
The end result of fear tactics is the reformulation of virtues in accordance with the fearmongering. “Responsibility” becomes an acknowledgement of the “threats” that surround us (instead of doing the responsible thing, which is to examine the situation with a cool head). “Freedom” becomes equivalent to government takeover (i.e. the exact opposite of freedom). “Prudence” becomes the pre-emptive use of force (i.e. the exact opposite of prudence).
Fear is loss-oriented thinking. We are gain-oriented thinkers. Their tools are fear, ignorance and mistrust. Our tools are confidence, knowledge and trust. They want you to stop thinking about your own values, to stop thinking altogether, and to feel what they want you to feel. We want you to think about your own values and think for yourself.
Government is fear. Anarchy is the dispelling of fear.