Is climate change really caused by humans? Are guns really as dangerous as we’re told? Is nuclear power too dangerous to use? It’s hard to know in our modern political climate. The truth is constantly obscured under a layer of sensationalism and fear. How are we to get to the objective facts when no one seems to want to set aside political agendas and take a really good look at what’s actually going on.
I personally struggle with modern politics. It’s difficult for me to watch certain messages because I know their true goal isn’t to make the world a better place but to scare us into falling in line with that point of view. Facts are secondary to shock value, and the people in power know that if they can shock us into action we won’t think critically about what it is that they want us to do. Fear causes knee jerk reactions that almost invariably result in a negative outcome. Rarely is our first idea the best one.
This is the problem with progressive movements. While the desire to push our world toward a better place is noble, the very fact that people want to push it there so aggressively indicates a certain level of impatience that is ultimately counterproductive. As I stated in a previous article, perseverance is critically important to get where you want to go, but a goal without patience usually ends in failure because people can’t seem to understand that a big task is broken up into little tasks. Progressives want the end result right now and aren’t willing to wait for everyone else to catch up with them. More conservative people simply move too slow for these “enlightened” minds.
So rather than wait and patiently educate people on what they think needs to be done, and give those people a chance to truly look into the situation and determine for themselves if the facts bear out the hypothesis, progressives tend to bristle with anger and shout from the top of their lungs every negative factoid they can find in an attempt to shock people into action. In their view, they shouldn’t have to wait to actually change someone’s mind for real. They must convince them with fear that they just need to do what they’re told or the consequences will be dire.
This way of leading actually works for a time. When we are startled, we have a genuine reaction that causes us to act violently in a certain manner. However, once it becomes clear that whatever scared us isn’t actually causing any imminent danger, we learn to ignore that source of fear. For example, if you are walking down the street and someone jumps out from behind a corner and shouts at you, the first time it happens you will likely jump back and let out a scream. It might work again the second and third time, but eventually you will come to expect the person and it will no longer scare you at all. Fear only works when we believe whatever we’re supposed to fear as actually dangerous.
Fear propaganda works the same way. The reason things like climate change aren’t really accepted by more conservative people is that the rhetoric surrounding it has been so charged with fear mongering. At first, people were more inclined to actually listen because this was something new and we had to start really looking at the problem. Unfortunately, impatient progressives decided the process was taking too long and started throwing out wildly short, unsubstantiated timelines as to when we would start really seeing the effects of climate change. The message became incredibly inconsistent and it started to become clear that the progressive fears weren’t nearly as scary as they were making it out to be.
The same holds true with nuclear energy. In reality, fission power is one of the safest forms of energy production on the planet. Strict controls are placed on the materials used and the processes implemented to run the plants. However, the few disastrous accidents we’ve had were sensationalized to the point where much of the general public just doesn’t trust nuclear power anymore and plants are being closed. This is a shame because nuclear energy is one of the few viable green energy sources we have access to. The only thing it emits is water vapor from the cooling towers, and the actual fissile material itself is relatively harmless if stored properly. But rather than moving toward a powerful energy source that could drastically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the air, we fixate on a few rare accidents that were sensationalized because news outlets want more viewers.
What about gun control? Mass shootings in America are certainly on the rise and no one can really argue otherwise. The disagreement centers around the cause of these issues. Is it truly access to firearms? The fear mongers would like us to believe that a person can walk into a store, swipe their card, and then walk out with a machine gun ready to mow people down in a mall. The truth is that this simply isn’t the case if you’re purchasing your firearm through legal channels. Even for something as simple as a handgun, you can’t go to any gun store anywhere in the country and just pay for a gun and walk out. Your information is recorded and you are subjected to a federal background check before you are authorized to make the purchase. If you are flagged for any reason, it is illegal for the shop to sell you a gun. I have a feeling most reasonable people would feel this is sufficient, yet we are still calling for stricter controls because people are scaring us into believing the problem is worse than it is.
This is the problem with trying to convince people through fear. It only works if the public is uneducated, and the progressive movement isn’t willing to give you all the facts because you might figure out their message doesn’t make sense and decide against them. Once the public starts to realize that the fear is unjustified, they stop paying attention and go back to the way they liked it before. No permanent change can be reached using fear. It is only when reasonable discourse is used that people’s mind can be truly changed and effective measures taken to move society forward. It is when we use respect and genuine concern for everyone that real progress is made.
So how will you use this information? Will you look at things a little differently when you watch the news? Can you set aside your fear and impatience and look at the facts in a rational way? When we can finally learn to do this, our society will be in a much better place to start making serious and meaningful decisions about the future.
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