“I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impels. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself (emphasis added)-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”
With those words of his first inaugural address in March of 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt plunged the country into a deeper and much more lengthened economic and political crisis Americans had ever experienced.
FDR got it wrong. The only thing Americans have to fear is not fear itself, but rather behemoth government. In the 1930’s Americans were gripped with trepidation and rather than helping individuals remove their apprehension and nervousness, even more fear was instilled in them by taking away the very means by which Americans could help themselves out of the Great Depression.
The illegalization of owning gold, minimum wage laws, Social Security, and every other initiated government program all meant higher taxation at the very time when jobs and income were hard to come by. Higher taxation and government spending is the equivalent of handcuffing an individual so he can be prevented from strangling someone, but then is unable to help himself.
Today, Americans are experiencing not only the negative effects of that era of fear, but now more fear is being instilled in individuals by government officials with their war on drugs, war on poverty, war in the middle east, and war on terror. Fear is the nuts and bolts of both domestic and foreign government policy both then and now.
Today, because of the programs government officials establish, Americans live in fear in what they can ingest into their bodies, in what can be taught in school, in whether they will have enough saved for retirement, whether they will have health care, and whether they can get a job.
Also, as in FDR’s time, many government officials think that war is the solution to economic recession and helps the economy. War is destructive, not creative. Government officials instill fear here and abroad by ordering the killing of innocent individuals and then wonder why individuals get upset and strike back. The War on Terror has now instilled the fear of being attacked.
As H.L. Mencken, noted editor and writer, stated, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Keeping the populace in fear allows government officials to be in control of the solution to every problem that arises. As a result the individual’s liberty, which is the cure, is lost.
Like FDR, most government officials want the populace to look to them for solutions. Except for Ron Paul, all of the presidential candidates want to continue that power aggrandizement. Contrary to popular opinion, however, government officials do not have all the answers and should never be looked to for answers to personal situations. Individual liberty is the real answer to any predicament one finds oneself. The founders realized this and instituted the Constitution to protect the individual from the massive power of his government officials in order that individuals could find their own means to solve their own situations.
When people fear the government, tyranny reigns. When government officials fear the people, individual liberty and freedom reign. The only real thing individuals have to fear is government.
Former Yuma Mayor Phil Clark will be the guest speaker of the People for the USA Yuma group. He will comment on the proposed