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A populace kept fearful is ripe for abuse: ‘In our lifetime, the government has become the biggest purveyor of fear the world has ever known’

At his inauguration to the presidency in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

In our lifetime, however, the government has become the biggest purveyor of fear the world has ever known.  The government has learned that if it can get us to fear, it can get us to do just about anything.  So here we are, washing our hands like crazy (and maybe we are).  Our nation has never had cleaner hands than in these past few weeks.  Why?  Because we are afraid.

Out of this fear, we’ve given up our jobs, our churches, our businesses, our civil liberties, our retirement accounts, our schools, even (in some cases) our ability to go for a walk — all for a $1,200 check and a soothing feeling that maybe we won’t all die.

History shows us that fear is the greatest power in the government arsenal.  Experience has shown us that personal safety is at the top of our fear meter.  So when the government said, “Don’t eat eggs,” we shifted to miniature shredded bales of wheat with milk.  Then they told us, “Whole milk will kill you,” so we separated the milk from the liquid, pasteurized it, and homogenized it, creating a white watery substance that would kill a baby calf if she drank it.

Along the way, the Protectors of our Well-Being began to give edicts more feverishly and more randomly.  “Wear a seat belt!”  “Quit eating so much grain!”  “Don’t use those light bulbs!”  “Never drink from the hose!”  “Get a safer gas can (at an exorbitant government-inflicted price).”  “Stay out of the sun!”  “Don’t eat butter!”  “Eat butter!”  On and on, the contradictory government edicts have been handed down from above.

And we dutifully fell in line.

We have forgotten that “We, the People” are the government.  We left the principle of our founders, that “they, the representatives,” are supposed to go back home after a few years, get a job, and be our neighbors again (and live under the burdensome regulations they created…or the agencies they created that make the regulations that kill us).  Instead, our representatives (and the agencies they empower) become kings and queens of the universe — with a lifetime pension.

Out of fear for personal safety, we bow down to their random and often senseless edicts.  Maybe by doing so, we will add a few more days to our lives?  Maybe.  I suppose it is possible.  But those few more days will also be government-controlled, highly taxed days.

Have we lost that Patrick Henry spirit that so embodied the American ideal?  The spirit that asked, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”  Henry went on to give those immortal words: “Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Randy White is the founder and CEO of the Dispensational Publishing House.  He teaches theology and current events online at Randy White Ministries.

Image: Mark Hillary v