Manufacturing Fear in America: Conspiracy Theories, Culture, Cults, Medicine, and Politics

During 2004, an interesting panel discussion was held prompted by author Barry Glassner’s book The Culture of Fear. In his book, Glassner reveals the many people and organizations that bank on people’s fear in order to somehow benefit from it. The forum took place around the same time as the broadcast of BBC’s film series The Power of Nightmares in which the film purported a conspiracy theory that neo-c0nservatives were the elites driving war in the Middle East in order to inspire Islamic terrorism to justify the war on terrorism.

Panelists include authors Michael Shermer, Paul Campos, and Michael Ignatieff. Environmentalists use fear tactics and media hype all the time in order to churn up publicity for global climate change and, simultaneously, scold humans for their contributions to it. This done in order to justify political measures allegedly geared to address it. That also includes other efforts inspired and even lead by environmentalists like opposition to genetically modified foods, pesticides, and vaccines.

Disclaimer: It should be noted that the Skeptic Society has embraced human-induced climate change and semblances of gun control. I do not necessarily endorse the group or its publications. However, short of climate change, I have found value with some of the information the Skeptic Society makes available such as its writings on biology, medicine and the paranormal. This event took place prior to the Skeptic Society’s change on the gun and climate change issues.