Perspectives: Snap out of the herd mentality

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION – Not much is more effective at creating a herd mentality than the proven combination of politics and fear-mongering.

The recent San Bernardino shootings are currently being used as an emotional thunderclap to stampede the herd in a desired direction.

Liberals and conservatives are locked in a contest to see which group can become the most irrational. For liberals, the source of their irrationality is gun control; for conservatives, it’s Islam.

Both sides appear to be winning.

The liberal herd is being directed towards greater infringements on the natural right to protect one’s life by calling for more gun control laws. Meanwhile, the conservative herd is stampeding towards war with a worldwide religion of more than 1.6 billion members based on a handful of terrorist attacks.

Both are motivated by irrational fear to plead for greater government intervention at the expense of essential liberties. They have fixated on the hype being fed to them by the mass media without stopping to consider where the stampede may be taking them.

We have more to fear from the truly terrorized, on the political right and left, than we do from terrorism itself. Fearful people are not known for their rationality.

In the words of Dan Sanchez:

Stop swallowing the overblown scaremongering of the government and its corporate media cronies. Stop letting them use hysteria over small menaces to drive you into the arms of tyranny, which is the greatest menace of all.

Recognizing the herd mentality and refusing to join in is not the same thing as sticking one’s head in the sand and pretending that nothing is wrong.

Risk is a part of our existence and will always be so.

There are sociopathic individuals, both abroad and among us, who act with murderous intent. Some are motivated by a radicalized religious fanaticism, others are not.

There is a very real possibility of becoming a victim of a gun owner or Islamic terrorist. However, possibility does not equal probability. Statistically, the average American is more likely to die from a spider bite or at the hands of a police officer than to be the victim of a terrorist or mass shooter.

None of this matters to the irrational who blame firearms or religion for the action of malevolent individuals. Their sense of reason and proportion are overruled by the pathological need to feel safe or to exert control over others.

Those who seek to disarm the law-abiding apparently haven’t noticed that they already live in a nation of over 100 million firearms owners with roughly 300 million firearms and trillions of rounds of ammunition.

If most gun owners were truly a violent bunch, our lives would be very different.

Many Americans apparently took to heart the president’s advice to “talk about guns” over Thanksgiving dinner.

In response, a record-setting 185,000 background checks for gun sales were conducted on Black Friday alone. The answer to calls for more gun control is not just “No” but “Hell no!”

By now it should be clear that government, for all of its security theater, cannot protect us personally in any meaningful way. This is as true for crime as it is for acts of random terrorism.

All politicians can do is to happily assume greater power over us, tighten the straps on our straitjackets, and assure us that the loss of our privacy and individual freedoms is for our security.

Conservatives who bay for more and fiercer war are forgetting that the so-called War on Terror has done little to make us safer while successfully stripping of us of freedom. Still, this doesn’t mean it’s been a total waste.

Fred Reed explains:

It is interesting to remember that terrorism is not bad for everybody. For the Pentagon, Nine-Eleven was a windfall, providing wars and new drones; for NSA, a massive expansion in its powers; for Israel and AIPAC, the destruction of Israel’s arch-enemy, Iraq; for the arms manufacturers, hundreds of billions; for the federal government in general, near-dictatorship and, for jihadists, the involvement of the US in crippling and endless wars. Which is what they wanted. Everybody profited except the American public.

Instead of becoming a garrison state, a better approach is to take personal responsibility when it comes to protecting what we love. For some, this means understanding the principles of personal security, attaining skill at arms and being prepared to respond in the unlikely event of a life-threatening attack.

For others, it could start with simply becoming more situationally aware of the warning signs of danger and having a plan in place to mitigate risk.

The surest antidote to irrational fear is found in assuming personal responsibility for our safety and well being. This empowers us rather than turning us into the equivalent of human livestock.

Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • SSTEED December 7, 2015 at 8:33 am

    I cant believe your talking about this, you conspiracy theorist you. Way to be the example though. It seems like there is no room for truth (in context) in our media today. Keep up the good work.

  • BIG GUY December 7, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Wildly overblown. Too many false assumptions about others motivations, both liberals and conservatives, to bother to take the time to rebut. Bryan’s out in left field again with his libertarian viewpoint.

  • .... December 7, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Yeah another load of Bryan B.S he’s full of it. he has absolutely no clue ! he should name his idiotic opinions. Comedy Capers !

  • NotSoFast December 7, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I’m a little confused. I really don’t see that much mud under Bryan’s fingernails on this topic. I don’t want to give up my means to protect what important to my family. To be herded into a place that give me no insurance of being aloud to think for myself and just go along with the crowd because it’s what someone leading the heard says? What mountain do you want me jump off of? All leftist & all rightist, pick your ledge, and jump. I’m not a libertarian but I think I’ll continue to be an Independent. Interesting topic Mr. Hyde.

  • Curtis December 7, 2015 at 10:55 am

    When has a Govt war on anything worked — War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terror ?
    Has made many warriors wealthy.
    On Pearl Harbor have to recognize one war we did win.

  • fun bag December 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Bry makes some good points. I sometimes wonder if the Israeli Jews were the ones that masterminded the 9/11 attacks. Israel has created many enemies for us here in the USA, and we should have put an end to supporting them long ago, but the Jews in this country have far too much political sway– Ingrained and corrupt

    • NotSoFast December 7, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Fun bag, you really have your head up ____________ this morning. Is that something Media Matters is pushing this morning?
      Don’t forget to face east and pray before your next instructed input is administered to your brain.

  • sagemoon December 7, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Yay! Libertarian Bryan is back! Good thoughts.

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