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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Fear Factor

The great thing about giving regular lectures on a variety of subjects is the questions and comments from the audience.

After a talk I gave yesterday, one of the attendees - an active homosexual - made a comment that opened up a new door of insight for me.

We were talking about the fact that Hitler won World War II. Sure, he lost the battles and committed suicide, but his philosophy had won. Secular humanists around the world agree that eugenics is a worthy goal, that we should seek out and destroy defective children or people who were too old, too sick, to contribute in any positive physical way to society.

America is now, and has long been, a eugenics culture, and we spread our eugenics ideas around the world.

And this young man was good with that. He agreed that defective people should be killed, insisted that he would never want to live in a deformed or semi-vegetative state, and hoped that someone would actively kill him if he ever entered such a state.

Why did he feel this way?

He remarked that he had once been at an outdoor cafe and seen a father and his son at a nearby table. The son suffered from some debilitating disease that required a stomach feeding tube. He saw the father cradle his teenage son as the father injected a nutrient solution into the teenager's stomach.

He said, "I could never do that. I would never be strong enough."

I replied, "You're afraid then. That's the basic problem here."


That is when the door opened up for me. I answered him.

"Well, that's understandable. But remember, every individual choice contributes to the larger society. Society is the sum total of all of society's individuals making individual choices. So, when you choose to do or not do something based on your fear, when everyone else also makes choices based on their fears, society becomes fear-based."

And this was my question:

"Do you really want to live in a society based on fear?"

That's the basic difference between the Founding Fathers and ourselves.
It's the basic difference between any serious soldier and any non-soldier.

Fear cannot be avoided - we all experience it.

But the Founding Fathers made a society that was not based in fear. Our social institutions used to encourage bravery in the face of fear. Given a choice between surrendering to our fear or facing down our fears, our public institutions used to encourage us to do the latter.

Now it encourages us to do the former.

Insofar as we are willing to entertain a large, caretaker government, insofar as we surrender our personal responsibilities, we have chosen to create and live in a fear-based society.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

When you say "Founding Fathers" do you mean:

Washington, Madison, Adams, Jefferson, etc.


Athansius, Basil, Augustine, Jerome, etc.


If the former, then while they got a lot right, they did indeed build their society on a foundation of fear in many ways, at least to the extent that Protestantism and Free Masonry are based on fear. Which one could argue is a good bit.

Have you read Fulton Sheen's book Philosophies at War? Published in 1943, he explains that much more is needed for "victory" than battlefield conquest. He argues that the ongoing world conflict was essentially a three-way battle between:

Nazi materialism
Marxist materialism
Capitalist materialism

So one could argue that Hitler's philosophy won. Or one could argue that "our" philosophy won, and it just so happens that our philosophy wasn't very different from Hitler's. Eugenics was going strong in the US before the Nazis existed.

Pax Christi