British political economist Joseph Sternberg authored an Apr. 8 Wall Street Journal editorial addressing ways "fearmongering" tactics are often applied to secure public compliance with draconian public policies that violate our normative and legal societal freedoms. (The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 8, 2020 "The Coronavirus and Project Fear 3.0” by Joseph C. Sternberg)
Sternberg attributes much blame to political opportunists and complicit media supporters.
Together, they appeal to their intended audience’s belief that they are smarter than their peers, better able to read tea leaves to see impending disaster, and also better able to protect society from its more benighted members.
Public behavior control through assertions of moral superiority through virtue signaling is another effective strategy to "tickle the mental pleasure centers of its grass roots participants." An example, Sternberg offers, is to suggest that one’s opponent cares only about financial enrichment, rather than about higher values.
Mr. Sternberg characterizes former British Prime Minister David Cameron’s 2016 fear campaign against Brexit as such a moral crusade example.
Advocates to remain in the European Union (EU) produced a steady flow of economic analyses warning of dire consequences if the electorate voted for Brexit.
They alarmingly claimed that leaving would cause the economy to contract, unemployment to spike, and worse, Britain’s standing in the world would be forever diminished.
They are being proven wrong.
As Sternberg concludes, it was all about stoking fear and guilt.
I will argue that no previous political fear and shame-stoking crusade has been nearly so successful nor dangerous as that of the hysterically hyped climate change scare movement.
Based upon overheated climate model projections that have never comported with actually documented real-world observations, "experts" push draconian energy policies that call for banishing fossil fuels that provide 80% of U.S. and global energy; decimating essential, reliable electricity supplies; closing down countless industries, companies and jobs; and impoverishing our quality of life.
The purported solution is to replace that vast majority of vital energy with anemic and unreliable wind and solar sources that collectively and intermittently provide about 3 percent of America’s needs.
One of the few predictions that the U.N.’s authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ever got right was in the chapter titled "Model Evaluation" of their 2001 Summary Report for Policymakers. It confesses, "In climate research and modeling, we should realize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."
Unlike agenda-driven climate change "crisis" claims, the COVID-19 pandemic has provoked blameless cause both for rampant dread and community behavioral restrictions that nobody expected nor wanted.
The rapidity and presumed lethality of the menacing invisible onslaught caught the whole world off guard and immune-defenseless.
Drastic safety responses were warranted.
Forceful behavioral controls were enacted.
Dangerous political precedents were established.
Although devastating, eventual hindsight will likely prove the coronavirus Armageddon- level fear factor to have been exaggerated.
We now know the virus is not nearly as deadly as early data from China suggested.
Lacking clear understanding of the new virus or good population infection and mortality data, early model-based casualty projections were substantially overestimated.
Key Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci explained the moving target projection dilemma, "When someone creates a model, they put in various assumptions. And the models are only as good and as accurate as the assumptions you put into them. As we get more data, as the weeks go by, that might change. We feed the data back into the models and relook at the models."
In any case, that virus has infected our lives, our society, and our cherished freedoms, in truly fearsomely transformative and disruptive ways that would have seemed unimaginable but a few weeks ago.
Who would have imagined that social distancing — even from loved ones and close friends — would be necessary; that we would come to believe that everyone is so "unclean" that shaking their hands might become fatal; that not wearing a face mask might get you arrested, or at least scorned, in some locales; that it’s really okay — even desirable — to be told that we can’t leave our homes, much less, take the kids to visit grandma in the nearby nursing home; and that businesses and jobs we depend upon to feed our families could be shut down for an indeterminate period of time — perhaps months?
How did a "new normal" suddenly emerge when it was logical, even necessary, that we would willingly sanction aerial surveillance of outdoor group sizes by spy drones; countenance the idea of tracking and tracing contacts of those suspected of being infected; and perhaps scariest of all, suspending and subordinating our legally guaranteed constitutional freedoms to overriding dictates and discretions of conflicted federal, state and local politicians.
The viral pandemic will end. We can feel confident that medical and pharmaceutical researchers will develop more effective treatment protocols — some drugs already show early promise.
Several encouraging vaccine tests are also underway.
Our nation, our economy, our livelihoods and lifestyles, our freedoms, and our highest future aspirations will become unshackled again.
And what will we have learned?
Hopefully, it will be that we must endeavor to control fear. And that we must resist temptations to cede authority and power to those who would weaponized it to control us.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of several books, including "Cyberwarfare: Targeting America, Our Infrastructureand Our Future" (2020), "The Weaponization of AI and the Internet: How Global Networks of Infotech Overlords are Expanding Their Control Over Our Lives" (2019), "Reinventing Ourselves: How Technology is Rapidly and Radically Transforming Humanity" (2019), "Thinking Whole: Rejecting Half-Witted Left & Right Brain Limitations" (2018), "Reflections on Oceans and Puddles: One Hundred Reasons to be Enthusiastic, Grateful and Hopeful" (2017), "Cosmic Musings: Contemplating Life Beyond Self" (2016), "Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom" (2015) and "Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax" (2011). He is currently working on a new book with Buzz Aldrin, "Beyond Footprints and Flagpoles." Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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