Fear Corrupts

John Steinbeck is reported to have said that “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of a loss of power”.

Fear has been a theme in my life. It has corrupted me, paralyzed me and kept me from being the man I can be. I’ve often altered my beliefs to stay in concert with others and to elicit praise from people I thought were better in some way than I. For example, I might be in conversation with someone and feel threatened somehow so I get quiet or I back away from my belief fearing that I might be proved wrong. It’s so much better now that I’ve admitted it. I try to be conscious of these feelings whenever they invade. I find that staying aware of what’s going on in my head is the only way that, over time, lessens the fear. So I know fear and I know how it controls those who are afraid and I know how the afraid use it to control others. I’ve done it.

I believe that our current administration has been corrupted by fear and that that fear will hasten the end of America. I believe that the executive branch of our government is run by unbridled fear in a guise of bravado. Further, I believe they have discovered that by keeping the country afraid they can control the populous and slowly take away our freedoms. They claim that we’re the most powerful nation in the world and they may be right but we’re not at war with any other nation. Sure we occupy Iraq and we’ve installed a puppet government in Afghanistan but we’re at war with a word and the word can be applied to any group we don’t like. The application of the word is so amorphous that it can be used whenever convenient by those whose goal is to keep us scared and, therefore, controllable.

I love the declared morality of our nation but I detest that we don’t practice it. At best we are a nation in denial. At worst we are a deceitful band of liars whose only goal is to protect a way of life that is unsustainable without trampling any group that dares get in our way. I’m hoping that it’s denial but believing it’s somewhere between the extremes.

I speak with friends and mention that I believe that racism against blacks is a primary problem in our society and they tell me I’m delusional, that I’m stuck in the 60’s, that racism is a thing of the past. Point out that more than three quarters of the prison population are men of color and they shrug or tell me that they’re, after all, the ones who committed the crimes. Talk about the obesity and diabetes epidemic among blacks and they blame the victims with vicious lines like; “something new in America, fat poor people”.

We are no longer a nation of the people we are a nation of the corporation. Slowly but surely our rights are being subjugated to the corporation. Big government is considered a curse word in our society while big corporations buy our officials. Our health care has incredibly been ceded to insurance companies. Ancient remedies are being labeled as superstitions in favor of expensive drugs, each of which carries side effects which can only be solved with another drug. We’re outsourcing our military to corporations like Black Water. Our so called liberal media is being concentrated more and more under fewer and fewer major corporations. Major banks are allowed to charge interest rates in excess of 25% on credit cards they issue to people who can’t afford them.

Yes, I’m disgusted and I’m going to continue to say so. We are quite simply not the people we claim to be.

Posted October 7, 2007


“Outsourcing government to Blackwater.” Kind of says it all.
I think you’re right about fear; it doesn’t seem to be materially different in its operations at the government level than it is a the corporate or personal level.
Not a good way to run one’s life; not a good way to run one’s government.

One of your best, Phil. I’ll send it along, though with many of my friends, you’re preaching to the choir.


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