Be Afraid!! Really, Really Afraid!!

While the country is wandering in a miasma of fear over terrorists attacks by ISIS or Al Qaeda or...Russia! David Brooks suggests something we should really be afraid of--Ted Cruz. He refers to his speeches as "pagan brutalism." Wow, David. Far out. "Cruz manufactures an atmosphere of menace in which there is no room for compassion, for moderation, for anything but dismantling and counterattack.... Cruz’s programmatic agenda, to the extent that it exists in his speeches, is to destroy things: destroy the I.R.S., crush the “jackals” of the E.P.A., end funding for Planned Parenthood, reverse Obama’s executive orders, make the desert glow in Syria, destroy the Iran nuclear accord."

There are costs to "fearmon[d]gering," and Paul Pillar lays them out. "The rhetoric exacerbates mass misperception of the seriousness of whatever is the rhetoric’s focus, with a loss of any accurate sense of proportion. Much of the speeches and the advertising would lead one to believe that the superpower that is the United States is existentially threatened by a foreign group such as ISIS, when in fact that is nowhere near the case. The loss of proportion discourages sober consideration of the trade-offs inevitably involved in national security policy and encourages exaggerated swings of the pendulum in which fearful Americans accept compromises to their liberty and privacy...  More at LobLog.

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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