Scary Times


It is noteworthy, let alone baffling, that a nation, long proud of its hardy, adventuresome, resilient, fundamentally upbeat inhabitants, should have, time and again, shown itself to be so fearful, felt so threatened by sinister forces, institutions and ideas, all supposedly capable of overwhelming our society’s defenses. But looking back over our history, the record is filled with just such eruptions of anxiety, apprehension and insecurity. It would require volumes to explain how these came about, i.e., the context in which they surfaced, so at this point let it suffice simply to offer a list (however incomplete) as evidence for our case. While some threats were largely bogus or demonstrably overblown, there were, at times, some bases for anxiety, even as these were manipulated and exaggerated by those intent on benefitting from the fears they had encouraged.
• Witches
• “Savage” Indians
• Hessian Mercenaries
• The Illuminati
• Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans.
• Democracy
• Masons
• Slave Uprisings
• The Slave Power
• The Gold Standard
• Catholics
• Monopolistic Business
• Wall Street Bankers
• Anarchists
• Atheists
• Evolution
• Socialists
• Communist Pinkos
• Taxation
• Jews
• Immigrants
• Germans (World War I) – Japanese (World War II)
• Blacks
• Welfare
• Black Power
• Organized Labor
• Hobos
• Hippies
• Feminists
• Homosexuals
• Crime
• Organized Crime
• Drug Cartels
• Motor Cycle Gangs
• Washington
• Hollywood
• Majority Minority
• The City – Modernism
• Terrorists
• Illegal Aliens
• Aliens from Outer Space

Given this lengthy list, how surprising is it  that in recent years we’ve been encouraged by voices across the political spectrum to worry about Moslems, terrorists, immigrants, illegal aliens, globalists, neo-Nazis, fascists, racist policemen, the NRA, inner city “carnage,” George Soros, the Koch brothers, politicians, conspiracy theorists and invading “caravans.” People, we’re told, typically alternate between hope and fear. Strangely enough, Americans who have lived in what arguably is the most successful and bountiful nation there has ever been, nonetheless have rarely, if ever, been free from fear.

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