Friday, February 27, 2009

The Politics of Fear by Jonah Goldberg

In 2008, when Gore endorsed Barack Obama it was in part because the Illinois senator represented a break with the "politics of fear."

What's hilarious about this is that Gore is, without question, the most successful fearmonger in America, if not the whole world. He is constantly spinning climate change in the most horrifying terms possible. He asserts global warming as the author of nearly every calamity, inflating threats in order to bully people into agreeing with him. There's no time to argue, do what I say or we're all doomed, is the central message of Al Gore's environmental shtick. And it works for him. It's made him both hugely wealthy and popular in the circles he cares about and it has advanced his agenda farther than fair-minded persuasion would.

Of course, in the process he's fueled paranoia among an entire generation of young people who think we're seconds from an environmental Armageddon.

Gore also seems to have taught Barack Obama a thing or two. President Obama, whose whole campaign was about hope over fear, has been scaring the dickens out of people lately. He has certainly terrified the stock market. He's warned of "catastrophe" and economic "disaster" from which we may never recover.

What's particularly odious about Obama's scare tactics is that he's using them for the mother of all bait-and-switches. He justifiably scares people about the magnitude of the financial crisis, but uses that fear not to sell them on a solution to the crisis but to trick them into signing up for a new Great Society. It's like convincing someone he's got cancer and then telling him that's why he needs to buy a new car.

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