We've got nothing to fear...but fear itself?
Not pain, not failure, not fatal tragedy?
Not the faulty units in this mad machinery?
Not the broken contacts in emotional chemistry?
- The Weapon, Neil Peart
Michael S. Rozeff has written a blog post at LRC, entitled Clinton’s and Trump’s Hatred. There is one aspect I would like to address:
There is a certain number of libertarians who favor one candidate or another of the two major parties, especially Trump. This has sometimes been explicitly linked to a fear, the fear that Clinton will start another world war.
I fall into this camp; Walter Block is far more outspoken on this topic.
I do not have that fear. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister and a thoughtful diplomat, has made his non-belief in a world war explicit.
Sergey Lavrov is not everything – and as thoughtful as he is, are we so sure what he will do if taken to the extreme? And is there not a war party in Russia? Are there not people – powerful people as well as the masses – that will someday, and maybe soon, say enough is enough regarding western encroachment and either force Putin’s hand or force him out? Can any rational western observer blame such Russians for taking such an action if they do so?
Rozeff believes acting on the basis of fear is nothing more than an instinct:
Fear, like hatred, is an instinct too. It’s at the root of hatred or closely linked to it and anger. It’s fear that grips people and leads directly into identifying enemies and then lashing out at them. If libertarians really believe in peace, then they should not proceed in this election contest to pick a candidate on the basis of fear. That’s not progress.
I will gladly pick a candidate that advances freedom (not suggesting that anyone votes or not, but that I would write favorably toward this candidate). Once you find one, let me know. In this election and at this time – and concerning these two candidates (Clinton and Trump) – on what criteria do I find even the possibility of differentiation and distinction? Only the most important topic for continuing life on earth.
Call that a lack of progress; if I have to choose between the possibility of life and progress, I guess I know what I would choose. Call that fear if you like.
I really believe in peace. So I don’t get it. If one candidate offers zero chance of peace and the other offers at least one percent chance of peace – where the absence of peace can lead to nuclear war – what does Rozeff suggest?
Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. Fear in human beings may occur in response to a specific stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to body or life.
Is it an irrational expectation to consider Clinton’s certain warmongering ways and conclude that – while he may not be better – Trump cannot be any worse?
In humans and animals, fear is modulated by the process of cognition and learning. Thus fear is judged as rational or appropriate and irrational or inappropriate. An irrational fear is called a phobia.
Fear can be a very rational emotion. It is reasonable for one to act on the basis of fear, if that fear is based on reasonable considerations.
It isn’t the “fear” that should be questioned as rational or irrational, but the factors leading one to be fearful. On this, I have not read anything from Rozeff.
We Have Something to Fear But Fear Itself
The faulty units in this mad machinery….
I am certain Clinton will press on with the neocon expansion of NATO and pressuring Russia. I am certain Trump cannot be any worse than Clinton on this topic – he may not be better, but he cannot be any worse. Even Patrick Smith at the left-leaning Salon understands this:
Trump may well be dangerous. But know what you're getting with Hillary: American hegemony that's hated worldwide.
Hillary Clinton has no new ideas on American foreign policy. That is not her product. Clinton sells continuity, more of the same only more of it because it is so good. In continuity we are supposed to find safety, certainty and security.
I do not find any such things in the idea that our foreign policy cliques under a Clinton administration will simply keep doing what they have been doing for many decades. The thought frightens me, and I do not say this for mere effect. In my estimation, and it is no more than that, the world is approaching maximum tolerance of America’s post–Cold War insistence on hegemony. As regular readers will know, this is why I stand among those who consider Clinton’s foreign policy thinking, borne out by the record, the most dangerous thing about her. And there are many of us, by the evidence.
While I am certain what Clinton will do, I am not completely sure what Russia as a nation will do: they might decide to be overtaken by the western hegemon; they might not.
Rozeff accepts FDR’s words – we have nothing to fear but fear itself. It seems to me there are other things to fear as well – like Russia deciding not to be another outpost of the empire.
If Russia as a nation decides to fight this, who can blame them?
This is what I fear.