“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.” –Frank Herbert, ‘Dune’
Fear is a powerful tool. Fear is a tool of control used by every authoritarian regime in history. Fear of the ‘other’. Fear of change. Fear of powerlessness.
As a sociopath, fear enraptured the Former Guy. He feared failure. He feared the loss of the one bright feather in his shabby, sordid cap; the booming US economy. Fear lead to denial and denial led to calamity. Fear was used by him to control a significant portion of the population. Much of the calamity of the pandemic was brought about by Fear.
Faced by the fear of the novel coronavirus – the unknown – the American people engendered another series of fears. The people, deluded by the denial of the ravaging danger of the virus by the Former Guy, were quick to embrace and gestate other fears; the fear of poverty, the fear of want, the fear of hunger, the fear of loss.
The MAGA people chose fear as their standard. Medical science could not obstruct or defuse their fear. Rational thought was obliterated by a cascade of fear. Frightened by shadows, they saw wearing a mask as a fearful thing; an evil. They saw lock-downs fearfully and responded with anger. They saw the loss of income and solvency through a lens of fear.
Any economic solution to ameliorate the fears of the People by providing for the Common Good was seen by the Former Guy as an admission of failure and a loss of control. Any solution would undermine the tool of fear and render it less potent.
Although the Former Guy is gone, the GOP continues to use fear to drive voter suppression in Georgia, stymie sensible gun control and immigration reform.