Fear is a Silent Business

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

-Pastor Martin Niemoller

On January 24th, it was reported that North Korea threatened to conduct nuclear weapons tests against the United States in retaliation

Will North Korea launch nuclear weapons at the U.S?

of international sanctions that were pushed through the United Nations.  For more information on North Korea’s threats go here (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/world/asia/north-korea-vows-nuclear-test-as-threats-intensify.html?pagewanted=all) or here (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2013/0125/North-Korea-lashes-out-at-the-US-and-South.-How-big-a-threat).

Yesterday as I was browsing Facebook, I saw a friend post a status about it. She said that no one had written anything about North Korea threatening us with nuclear attacks, but when Kim Kardashian got pregnant the whole world was buzzing about it. She had a point. Although North Korea making threats against the United States was nothing new, it’s way bigger news than a “celebrity” being pregnant.

You could chalk the silence up to passiveness. North Korea has made threats against the United States for decades. Some of them were meaningless or bogus. Many people may perceive this as just another empty threat. It could also be the type of passiveness described   in Pastor Martin Niemoller’s “First They Came…”. If it’s not directly affecting you, why should you speak out and be concerned?

The other factor could be fear. Let’s face it. We live in very frightening times. War and violence surround us. Innocent children are being killed in schools and out on the streets. Bombs are falling. Men who violently rape women are free to roam the streets. I don’t know about you, but the thought of a nuclear attack happening anywhere frightens me. I may be one out of a handful willing to admit it.

Fear is a silent business.

We don’t want anyone to know our fears. They are secret and buried deep within. If anyone were to see any sign of weakness or any vulnerability  they could use it against us at any time.

Slave owners did horrifying things to their slaves to keep them in line.

The best way to control people is through their fears. Think about it.  Although slaves outnumbered their masters, most didn’t rebel because they were kept in a constant state of fear. Abusers keep their victims in a constant state of fear so they are easier to control and manipulate. The more afraid you are of something, the more control that force has over your life.

Although fear is instinctive, it’s also learned. We are taught to beware of the “goth” kids because they’re “different”. We’re taught to fear Muslims because they might be terrorists. We’re taught to fear big government because they are trying to control us. We’re taught to fear black men because they are violent, sex crazed criminals. We’re taught to fear gay marriage because it might somehow rip apart our moral fibers.

Once we’re taught what to be afraid of, we are offered things to help keep us safe. If you’re scared of someone breaking into your house, you can buy an alarm system. If you’re scared of becoming a failure, there are thousands of self-help books available. If you’re scared of someone attacking you outside your home you can buy a weapon to protect yourself.

It’s a vicious cycle. The more afraid you are the more things you’ll buy to keep yourself safe.  The more afraid you are, the more likely your fear will control you. You’ll most likely suffer in silence.

Got some thoughts? Share them below!


2 thoughts on “Fear is a Silent Business

  1. an excellent post. yes. we do learn fear. somethings it is reasonable to fear — like trapdoor spiders and others — like people who are different is unreasonable. When I was a boy during the Cuban Missile Crisis we thought the world was going to end; the teachers sent us home so we could be with our familes when we died

    1. Oh wow. That must have been frightening. I couldn’t even imagine being in that situation.

      I completely agree. Sometimes fear is reasonable just like the spiders you mentioned. It’s meant to keep us alive. But being afraid of people who are different….that’s taking it far.

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