The other day I got in a conversation with someone and I began to speak of this (another angle to a familiar subject):
The cold war has left a fear rampant in this society. It is largely unspoken. People refer to it all the time but it’s never SPOKEN about. It’s most prevalent with white American males. I’ve talked to many that have reflected this fear (though few ADMIT to it). Basically, it amounts to this:
“There is an apprehension that everything we do is a crime. We feel that we must be careful of everything we do or say. We are scared to express anger, spank our kids, or punish them in any way. We must be careful of what we say and do around certain people. If do something wrong we’ll be sued, lose our job, or some other thing. Just about everything we do can be construed as violating someones rights.”
There is usually a sense that this is all so ridiculous. Many, if you speak to them about it, will often show contempt and disgust for it. There is also a sense of helplessness about it as it seems there’s nothing you can do about it.
I’ve found that not only do people feel this way but those same people propagate it as well. I’ve seen many people criticize how they can’t do this or that or how someone got sued for saying something trivial . . . and then support people for doing it! This shows that there is an unconscious phenomena associated with this.
I believe this fear originates from the cold war. To put it simply, the cold war was based in this idea that the Soviet Union was going to attack us. As a result, they were threatening our ‘freedom’ as they were a political system that was ‘oppressive’ and ‘evil’. This was how this ‘non-war’ was justified by this country. A whole mess of propaganda and philosophy was created to justify America, its beliefs, and its cause. Because of this freedom, liberty, and democracy was turned almost into a religion. It became the ‘rallying cry’ for America. In its simplest form it can be said as: Our ‘freedoms’ are being threatened so we need to defend it. The problem is that they began to apply it to EVERYTHING. As a result, this point of view became very prevalent in people’s thinking and perceptions of things. As a result, this point of view began to be seen in politics, law, marriages, parent/child associations, as well as many other things. It became a dominating point of view of American mentality.
Part of what this did is to create a tendency to see everything as violating people’s freedoms, even though it wasn’t. In effect, people turned everything into a freedom violation. Once we began to see everything as violating everyone’s rights, then it did. Slowly, this point of view began to be seen in everything . . . and with the “stamp” of authority. It began to be seen in morality, common sense, and the legal system. In effect, it created a ‘rights violation culture’, where everything violates everybodies rights.
The ‘rights violation culture’ was basically created in their own minds. This makes it ‘imagined’ and practically a ‘pie-in-the-sky’ point of view. Is it any wonder? Wasn’t the cold war an ‘imagined’ war? Wasn’t the cold war based in the idea of ‘what might happen’? Just as the cold war was ‘imagined’, so was its product: the ‘rights violation culture’.
But because it was done during the cold war, in the interest of national defense and pride, it had the “stamp” of authority on it. This “stamp”, I believe, is one of the reasons why many people are unaware of it and why it’s almost unconscious, as people generally unconsciously follow the “stamp” of authority. It is also why no one questions it. In reality, it’s the “stamp” of authority that makes it unspoken and ‘secret’. It is also why people who refute it will end up supporting it as well (as one part of them disagree’s but the other part of them follows authority). We must understand that this ‘fear’ is based in a period of time of national pride and so is associated with national pride. This is one reason why it will take a long time to get rid of.
But because this point of view is really nothing but a twisting of things it created a twisted way at looking at things that many people became aware of. People began to see the ridiculousness in it all but, because of the “stamp” of authority, no one would overtly refute it or criticize it. It primarily became ‘unconscious’, unspoken, a ‘secret contempt’.
But what it has done is create a warped society that contains, within it, an ‘unspoken fear’, a great apprehension. Since this is primarily a white American male society and the cold war is “his war”, he has taken the greatest blow of this fear. I’ve talked to many guys and, though few will admit to it, there is a general feeling of apprehension and fear. I’ve found that it makes the male unwilling to do anything. Many males are even apprehensive about helping someone or talking to certain people, I’ve found. It’s also created a great mistrust and contempt for society for some guys. It has also made it so the white American male is to be blamed for everything for he represents authority and so it to blame for any problems.
In a way, this point of view intending to prevent oppression has become an oppression. My personal feelings is that it has severely impaired the white American male especially. It’s made it so he can’t do anything . . . and so they grow stagnant. It’s ridiculous. In effect, it is starting to hinder the growth of people and their behaviour in society. This makes this it so that it is undermining and destructive to society.
I feel this ridiculous fear needs to be fought. To me, its warped this society enough. Some thoughts on how to do this are:
- One of the first things we need to do is to admit that there is a problem and that it has become ridiculous.
- It’s good to reflect on this point of view and reflect on its nature.
- We need to admit that this was a point of view of another era and that it does not apply to today.
- We need to see that this has nothing to do with national pride and that it DOES NOT reflect authority.
- We need to speak about it openly and openly condemn it.
- When we do see it demonstrated it needs to be spoken against.
Basically, the first part of dealing with this problem is to make it conscious and ‘speakable’. The ridiculousness of it all needs to be spoken about and discussed. Then we need to talk of it’s relation to our life. This needs to be defined and delineated better. After that, we need to speak against it.
At this point I’m the only person who does that, at least as far as I know. This is because I have seen the damage and undermining it has done to this country. This is something most people overlook.