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Monday, October 06, 2008

Say no to fear mongering

Today I stopped following the writing of a prominent tech blogger. Why? Did he offend my Mac sensibilities? Did he trash my iPhone? Did he call me names? No, I found what he did even more reprehensible -- he was spreading fear.

Fear? About what? The tech industry? No, he was spreading generalized panic, talking about hording and generally exclaiming, in a very loud voice, that the sky was falling. I had commented to him about this last week, but today he returned to the theme in an even more strident way. That was enough for me. Gone was he from my Twitter feed, Friendfeed, blog subscriptions -- anywhere I had previous followed his words. Life is simply too short to listen to such fear mongering from anyone.

"I made the decision years ago that I would no longer be afraid just because someone told me I should be."

Since 9/11 we have lived with a world where everything was designed to make us afraid -- afraid or terrorism, afraid of government, afraid of our neighbors. I made the decision years ago that I would no longer be afraid just because someone told me I should be. The fact is, people who preach fear have one goal in mind -- to control you and your actions. If they can make you scared enough, you will do whatever they say rather than suffer the, supposed, circumstances.

Of course, this doesn't mean I ignore the troubles in the world today. I recognize that there are tremendous issues with the economy, politics, the world. Acting out of panic, though, serves no one well. Cultivating panic in others is unconscionable. My watch word in these times is "be aware, but don't be scared." Decide for yourself the nature of major problems and act accordingly. Most importantly, act on what IS happening, not what MIGHT happen.

Watching the mainstream press these last few days, I find the same fear mongering. This might happen or that might happen. Be scared! Be afraid! Run for the hills! While fear mongering has been a trend in the press for a while, this takes it to new lows. Instead of providing context and insight, they provide nothing but fear.

Starting now, when someone starts spewing fear, just turn them off. Change channels, hit unsusbscribe, delete their show from your iPod. If anyone ever deserved to be ignored, it is the fear mongers among us, who seek to spread their panic to everyone around them.
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