By Robert Wuthnow
Robert Wuthnow has been praised as considered one of "the country's most sensible social scientists" via columnist David Brooks, who hails his writing as "tremendously valuable." The big apple instances calls him "temperate, balanced, compassionate," including, "one can't yet appreciate Mr. Wuthnow's views." a number one authority on faith, he now addresses some of the most profound matters: the tip of the world.
In Be Very Afraid, Wuthnow examines the human reaction to existential threats--once a question for theology, yet now looming ahead of us in a number of kinds. Nuclear guns, pandemics, international warming: every one threatens to break the planet, or at the very least to annihilate our species. Freud, he notes, famously taught that the normal mental reaction to an overpowering threat is denial. in truth, Wuthnow writes, the other is correct: we search methods of certainly assembly the danger, of doing something--anything--even if it's wasteful and time-consuming. The atomic period that all started with the bombing of Hiroshima sparked a flurry of task, starting from duck-and-cover drills, basement bomb shelters, and marches for a nuclear freeze. All have been arguably ineffectual, but each one sprang from an innate wish to take motion. it might be something if our responses have been basically unnecessary, Wuthnow observes, yet they could really be damaging. either the general public and policymakers are likely to version reactions to grave threats on how we met earlier ones. The reaction to the terrorist assaults of September 11, for instance, echoed the chilly War--citizens went out to shop for duct tape, mimicking 1950s-era civil protection measures, and the management introduced expensive conflicts out of the country.
Offering perception into our responses to every thing from An Inconvenient Truth to the chook and swine flu epidemics, Robert Wuthnow presents a profound new knowing of the human response to existential vulnerability.
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The political discourse of fear was to create a docile population that could be seduced into obedience by the state’s illusory promise of protection, food, and collective survival after a catastrophic war. ” Masco shows that the management of fear remains a central tool of the contemporary national security state. His research demonstrates that the atomic bomb, as a weapon of mass destruction, plays a primary role in the United States as a means of militarizing everyday life and, ultimately, justifying an agenda of war.
That’s one of the reasons why the FBI has never been able to figure out what’s going on in any of the popular movements. And other intelligence agencies are the same. They can’t. That’s leaderless resistance or affinity groups, and decentralized networks are extremely hard to penetrate. And it’s quite possible that they just don’t know. When Osama bin Laden claims he wasn’t involved, that’s entirely possible. In fact, it’s pretty hard to imagine how a guy in a cave in Afghanistan, who doesn’t even have a radio or a telephone, could have planned a highly sophisticated operation like that.
And this was not pistols. This was jet planes, tanks, military training, and so on. And it stayed high as the atrocities escalated through the 1990s. Aid followed it. The peak year was 1997. In 1997, US military aid to Turkey was more than that in the entire period 1950 to 1983, that is the Cold War period, which is an indication of how much the Cold War has affected policy. And the results were awesome. This led to two to three million refugees. Some of the worst ethnic cleansing of the late 1990s.
Be Very Afraid: The Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, Environmental Devastation, Nuclear Annihilation, and Other Threats by Robert Wuthnow