Lunaya Pravda

29 December 2006

Enjoying crisis - I don't get it

The more I hear some freedom-minded folk discuss the gloom and doom they're certain will befall the U.S. (and this post doesn't address whether any particular doom is likely), the more I observe that a significant number of them take some pleasure in fantasizing about an impending collapse. Is it just me, or is their glee a bit, well, disturbing?

They smugly send around every single article about economic, medical, environmental or social disaster they can get their hands on. They're overjoyed at every op-ed piece and scientific report which suggests we aren't prepared for this or that crisis. They repeat every conspiracy theory they've ever heard - specifically those regarding foreign efforts to destroy the U.S. - even if logic just doesn't bear those theories out. And finally they brag about their own preparations, which, while often wise, may still be inadequate and leave them in just as much of a pickle as anyone else.

While I think the U.S. is making her bed, and may someday soon have to lie in it, I personally take no pleasure in the knowledge of the numbers of people who may end up starving and homeless in an economic collapse, or sick and dying in some pandemic, or destroyed in some catastrophic terrorist attack. Perhaps some of these folks have it coming, karmically speaking - particularly those who've kept their finances a mess with no thought to the future - but to me, that doesn't justify dancing around and celebrating their possible misfortune.

Could it be because of the nearly irresistible temptation to point a finger, laugh, and say "I told you so?" Would these same folks, say, point and laugh at a beloved family member who, after smoking for years, develops lung cancer? Perhaps they sound so much like children anticipating Christmas Day because of the tendency for freedom folk to feel so superior to others for their beliefs and preparations. Whatever the motivation, I really can't say I understand taking pleasure in the possibility of others' misery, particularly not misery on the scale they're predicting.

The irony in all this is that these folks are just as much the purveyors of fear as the mainstream media are. Look at today's news sources. Aren't we always being told of this violent skirmish, that potential outbreak, a new terrorist threat, some economic woe, a significant rise in crime, impending environmental disaster, or a deadly consumer product? The news routinely packages and sells the fear, and isn't that the same mode of thought being pushed among the freedom community? What, precisely, do we gain from those we consider kindred spirits telling us to "Be afraid. Be very afraid."?

One of the toughest things people often struggle with is to push through fear and live with confidence. Community-building and networking with the like-minded helps that, but not when those within want to build fear and misery into the community's very foundation.

I'd rather not see the end of the world as we know it, knowing how much suffering and unpleasantness (including my own) it might entail, but sadly too many of these freedom folk appear completely unable to grasp the concept of empathy.

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