The Diminishing Returns of Fear Mongering
“The people who have the effrontery to rule us, who dare call themselves our government, understand this basic fact of human nature. They exploit it, and they cultivate it. Whether they compose a warfare state or a welfare state, they depend on fear to secure popular submission, compliance with official dictates, and, on some occasions, affirmative cooperation with the state’s enterprise and adventures. Without popular fear, no government would endure more than twenty-four hours.
Some of the threats that induce subjects to submit to government in the hope of gaining its protection — and thereby calming their fears — may be real. I am not arguing that people who look to government for their salvation act entirely under the sway of illusory threats, although I do insist that nowadays, if not always, many public fears arise in large part if not entirely form stimulation by the government itself.”
Via Whiskey and Gunpowder