Fear factor

In his widely-quoted speech yesterday*, Al Gore ripped into the bedwetter’s fantasy that the dangers we face today are worse than any human being in history has ever faced before:

Fear drives out reason. Fear suppresses the politics of discourse and opens the door to the politics of destruction. Justice Brandeis once wrote: “Men feared witches and burnt women.”

The founders of our country faced dire threats. If they failed in their endeavors, they would have been hung as traitors. The very existence of our country was at risk.

Yet, in the teeth of those dangers, they insisted on establishing the Bill of Rights.

Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment’s notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars?

It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.

I’m glad to see this idea gaining currency. It’s something I’ve been trying to point out for quite awhile, as in this cartoon from early last year:

*Widely quoted on the blogs, that is. The news media pretty much ignored the fact of a former vice president accusing the sitting president of impeachable offenses. Go figure.