The politics of fear by Loretta Napoleoni

21 Jun

In what way is the war on terror related to the current global financial and economic crisis? Loretta Napoleoni describes the charade constructed by politicians to generate a public fear of terrorist attacks as we are hoodwinked into accepting consumerist luxuries. Meanwhile, banks pull the carpet underneath our feet as the economic system crumbles.

These could not have happened without globalisation, and those who were enriched in this process, according to Napoleoni, were not capitalists per se. Capitalists, of the Industrial revolution and the early 1900s, she argued, were exploiters at best. The current batch of rich financial entrepreneurs belong to a more hideous class – ‘thieves or simpletons’.

The politics of fear- mongering was widespread but never real according to Napoleoni. She argued that Westerners stand a higher chance of being struck by lightning than killed or hurt in a terrorist attack. Instead, the Orweillian global corporate media reversed the reality since victims of terror are more likely Muslims residing in the Middle East. Citing the ‘Iraq Effect’, a study of the Second Gulf War, published in Mother Jones magazine, the incidence of terrorist attacks and average level of consequent deaths of a global scale increased by 607 and 237 % respectively in the region.  According to  the prestigious British Journal, Lancet, more than 100,000 people had died in Iraq within the first two years of this Iraqi invasion.

Another sinister effect of this war on terror is the spawning of the ‘terrorism – intelligence’ industry. The proliferation of academics, think tanks and government agencies to manage public attitudes towards terrorism concerns have only exacerbate the politics of fear while Wall Street siphons money away from public coffers.

At the end of the day, Napoleoni is right. The real enemies are not just the power hungry politicians, greedy capitalists or  the indoctrinated/internalised academics who churns out the language of the war makers. It is also the average man on the street who insists in holding onto the myth of unfettered economic progress and unbridled material wealth. In allowing the fear to blind our sense of inquisitiveness, holding our politicians accountable and freezing us into inaction, we are, in effect, making and sleeping in our own bed. As she concludes,

‘On the contrary, we did everything we could to scrape up a few crumbs ourselves from that treasure trove, and it never entered our minds that it was there that our peace and our system of values were suffering the most threatening attack. The likelihood that bin Laden will destroy us is extremely low; the likelihood that finance will do so is, on the other hand, extremely high, a virtual certainty’.

Access the article, Chapter 10 of her book, ‘Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is bankrupting the World’ in the opinions page or from ColdType.

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