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William Boardman – Are Most Americans Still Afraid to Be Unafraid?

he Republican consensus these days comes down to this: Be Afraid. Don’t Give Peace a Chance. Ever.

Pretty much all Republicans and too many Democrats buy into the notion that ISIS is a serious threat to the United States. Of course it’s not, as the president reminded us, before pretty much contradicting himself and arguing the need for the US to wipe out ISIS. Why? If ISIS is not a mortal threat, then there’s no need to wipe it out. A sane and logical person can’t have it both ways. But then we live in a time where sane and logical people are not highly valued in the leadership class, or by much of the population at large.

The Republican pitch is a con game with a simple cycle: (1) exaggerate a limited threat, like bin Laden or ISIS, into a monster of terrifying proportions, then (2) promise to protect the homeland from this huge, imaginary threat, and finally (3) take credit for defending America when the threat-that-is-not-so-real fails to materialize. This is an ancient paradigm, most recently played out in America’s “victory” in the Cold War, a victory that has left the US politically and culturally gutted and adrift. Seizing on the opportunity of 9/11, the US re-started the same con with “terror” in the place of “communism,” and the con continues.

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