Saturday, April 02, 2005

State of Fear

God bless my wife that she puts up with me. Yesterday, we obtained library cards in our new town, so I grabbed a couple books (I have a desire to read fiction like some people do to eat chocolate). So I grabbed two books, one was State of Fear by Michael Chrichton and the other was The World According to Garp by John Irving. This happened yesterday at about noon. As of 11:00 this morning, before I left home to come to the office for a few hours, I am about 30 pages away from finishing State of Fear. If you haven't ever read Crichton before, you're probalby still familiar with his work -- Jurassic Park, Congo, Disclosure and the creator of the television show ER.) Here's a summary of State of Fear if you're interested. Anyway, one of the issues that the book has raised that's been on my mind today, is how afraid our culture has become of everything. I can't remember where, but I read somewhere that while in the United State crime is generally down per capita, the reporting of crime is up something like 6 times! Crichton places that idea whithin the realm of the environmentalist movement (particularly in regards to global warming) and suggests that environmentalists seek to heighten our fear by manipulating the evidence so that we will give to their causes out of fear. Regardless of your position on the environment, Crichton says fear serves as a way for those in power to control the masses and that since the end of the Cold War, there is a revolving door of issues (think cigarettes, cancer, environment, kidnapping, and the latest foods that will/won't contribute/prevent heart disease) that Americans are made to feel afraid of. Here's what I'm getting at...would my quality of life be better if I just started to ignore the daily government warnings or the latest university study regarding the aforementioned items? I mean really, I'm not a am I really susposed to discern what is a credible threat to my well-being and what is just another scare tactic designed to get me to vote a certain way, or buy a certain product or behave in a particular matter?

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