Why So Scared?

 Popular Mechanics published an article titled “What’s So Scary about the Future Anyway?” Why are people so afraid of the future, especially the young? Let’s look at a few reasons.




Clit-lit, short for climate literature, is the mostly young adult fiction genre that puts young adults protagonists in a world wracked by various climate disasters or shortages. Running out of water, fuel, space, land due to oceans rising, breathable air, food – you name it, there are several novels on the premise. These books are all aimed at the young to scare them into thinking the world is ending unless we all go all out on environmentalist agendas, though it may not even be enough, they say. This results in many teens being conditioned to hate their elders and embracing religiously infused environmentalism, which liberals want, but also fearing for the future.

When a plurality of kids polled think the world will end in their lifetimes, the political indoctrination reinforced by doom and gloom message fiction has worked. And it contributes to a culture of hysteria by the youngest members who think there is no future.


We’re All Oppressed


This messaging takes several forms. One is indoctrination from K-12 to colleges to the media that everything bad is only explainable by some group oppressing you. Forget the Illuminati and condemn the patriarchy. Ignore various ancient Jewish conspiracies and blame cis-gender oppression instead. You don’t have to be responsible for your own actions, you aren’t to blame for your bad circumstances, and you become permanently angry and ready to be whipped into a frenzy to rip apart the targets the leaders put before you.


And of course the solution is a big nanny state to rescue you from your oppressors, punish them, lift you up in the name of equity and control everything to keep the helpless victim groups safe. What if open racism is now unacceptable? Never mind, we know they’re all subconsciously biased and really are against you and so we’re just as right about those sneaky oppressors. (Read about the flaws in the Implicit Association Test to understand this issue, compounded by problems in acting based on the IAT.)


And there are plenty of scapegoats available without blaming specific demographic groups. Evil corporations are the main protagonists in many young adult novels and adult fiction works as well, even if it means letting billions die in a fictional pandemic or insinuating that business executives would knowingly let many die from poisoned water to have a little bit bigger bonus. This type of evil villain was seen in early James Bond films, so it isn’t new. Instead, the only variability is how complex the scheme is and how horrible the results.


And when you think there are large portions of the population that hate you even if they seem nice to you and that’s aside from the evil corporations exploiting you, of course you think the world is horrible and only getting worse.


All Bad News All the Time


There is a long time joke that “if it bleeds, it leads”. This is why car crashes, accidents and other horrors tend to be the headline news in any era. The need to compete with other sources of news and entertainment for attention led to the common practice of putting the camera on the screaming, crying neighbors. The audience reflexively looks up in response to the panicked or anguished cries. Excellent practice for audience engagement and terrible for the psyche. Make this a large portion of the news program, especially the only part they listen to, and every disaster seemed horrible, while the routine practice makes these disasters seem routine themselves.


The 24x7x365 news cycle on TV moved onto the internet and amplified the demand for content. No one wants to invest a lot of money into investigative journalism, and pleasant human interest stories lose out to cute cat videos. The logical solution is rehashing the same stories over and over again. It manifests in interviewing the same dozen victims or their family members at weekly and monthly intervals. It shows up in recycling the same bad stories in full when any slight change in the situation occurs.


The competition with other channels also results in deliberate inflation of any issue into a catastrophe. A bill to alter Medicare funding is described as killing old women. Debates on immigration law or its enforcement die with screams of  “you hate brown people” and "racist".


The strict competition for attention rewards sound bites, and the hysterical hyperbole that fits in 15 seconds wins over the longer, calmer and rational explanation. The reflexive name-calling by the left fits the media’s requirements, so a politician throwing out a string of insults about –ist and –phobic gets our attention while reinforcing with the public the “you’re all really oppressed” narrative. And it reinforces the climate of fear.


Stone-Eater Added Oct 21, 2017 - 7:25am
Good one.
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 21, 2017 - 12:19pm
 Stone-Eater Friedli  Thank you.
This was partially inspired by various studies finding children depressed or convinced the world is going to end before they grow up because the message fiction schools are assigning make the world utterly bleak with only a sliver of hope if we all convert to Mother Earth worship, embrace a big liberal government and/or overthrow the existing state and then slowly rebuild ...
It is depressing on purpose and while done with good intentions, it is harming both young people and society as a whole.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 21, 2017 - 12:57pm
It is. But you see, when you arrive to get people (the young in that case) into a depressive state you can lead them easier into a desired direction by influencing them via digital media on 140 letters......
They will welcome ANY kind of leading into a direction, because they've never learnt to build an independent opinion (well....independent....LOL).
Dave Volek Added Oct 21, 2017 - 1:13pm
In my younger days, dystopia by nuclear war was the favored choice. I remember a social studies activity where we had a nuclear war, a bomb shelter for 15 people, and 30 people still alive. We can to choose which 15 people to save.
The Climate-Lit people are pointing a possible outcome, but not at the reasons why. If we stopped buying things from those corporations that are supposedly creating all the climate change, we would solve the problem quite readily.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 21, 2017 - 2:10pm
Volek response to Wilbwhite hysteria: If we stopped buying things from those corporations that are supposedly creating all the climate change, we would solve the problem quite readily.-But that would deprive those "good R-owned" corporations of profits!  Can't do that since climate change is just a liberal fantasy to frighten children into believing such fantasies, according to Wilbwhite.  And you fell for Wilbwhite's attempt to incite with "clit-lit," trying to connect CLImaTe change to another rightist shibboleth, feminism, to  immediately dog-whistle other WB rightists to slathering over her "article." As always, predictable.
Dino Manalis Added Oct 21, 2017 - 3:50pm
The future is uncertain and people are concerned, because we have little confidence in our current leaders to resolve current problems.  
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 21, 2017 - 4:37pm

Dave Volek There were a lot of post-apocalyptic movies in the 1960s-1980s. I've seen quite a few, from the original Mad Max series to The Day After. I realize those movies may have scared many people into opposing nuclear arms, though too few would condemn Communism.
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 21, 2017 - 4:38pm
To what degree does the constant harping that you're oppressed by businesses, oppressed by the government, oppressed by your neighbors who are really secretly evil bigots creating the violent liberal mobs on college campuses who say we have to physically attack those with whom we disagree for the safety of everything?
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 21, 2017 - 4:40pm
Stone-Eater Friedli  I thought it was funny when Scott Adams of Dilbert fame got a pope hat to wear when responding to moral questions from his audience, because so many of them wanted moral direction they cannot find in liberal secular culture - so they were asking a cartoonist.
Stone-Eater Added Oct 21, 2017 - 7:11pm
I think that "morality" can only arrive when people can support basic life needs......before it's....me and then you.
Morality is defined by the society we live in. And in our societies it doesn't count anymore. If if ever has....
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 22, 2017 - 8:13pm
Stone-Eater Friedli  When morality is relative, it no longer exists because the worst among us will justify anything and no one can condemn it.
This is why morality must be backed by higher principles and absolutes, not what one feels because one's feelings change and may be totally irrational.
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 22, 2017 - 8:35pm

John G Why do you think that communism is better than capitalism, when the implementations have so often had such a high death toll?
Saint George Added Oct 23, 2017 - 3:09am
Wick Burner Added Oct 23, 2017 - 3:41am
I don't understand how anyone on the 'Clit-Lit' naming committee thought it a good idea to shorten 'climate' to 'clit'.  But maybe that's just me...
Saint George Added Oct 23, 2017 - 3:49am
The Black Book of Communism
Harvard University Press (1999)
[Free PDF download of "The Black Book of Communism"]
For more about the real nature of communism in the former USSR, see these links for downloadable PDFs:
["Darkness at Noon" by Arthur Koestler]
["I Chose Freedom: The Personal and Political Life of a Soviet Official" by Victor Kravchenko]
["Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development: 1917-1930" by Antony C. Sutton]
["Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development: 1930-1945" by Antony C. Sutton]
["Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development: 1945-1965" by Antony C. Sutton]
["Coming Out of the Ice: An Unexpected Life" by Victor Herman (an American auto worker who spent 18 years in a Soviet gulag (for purchase at Amazon.com)]
["The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine" by Robert Conquest (not a downloadable PDF; for borrowing only)]
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 23, 2017 - 11:28am

John G  You've bashed capitalism as evil, heartless. Why do you think that communism is so good, when it has murdered so many and impoverished so many more?
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 23, 2017 - 6:01pm
Capitalism in the past 200 years is what has lifted up the majority of humanity out of dollar a day poverty and continues to do so.
Capitalism is why people find a selection of goods at the store instead of wait for their rations.
To assume that businesses are out killing people is to assume that business leaders - who lose out to competition and are regulated by the state - is even worse than feudal lords who did kill people to maintain power and compete for resources.
Trade isn't violent. Thievery, piracy, state power are.
Socialist societies so big and powerful that business is a mere shell are not peaceful, though the oppression is more tactful.
The UK arresting people for "hate speech" online and Sweden taking peoples' kids for being conservative, because those in power have defined their ideology as love and everyone else as hate, if fascism with good branding. It becomes oppression by the political elite in the name of protecting people from "evil" business.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 23, 2017 - 10:13pm
Wick Burner sez: I don't understand how anyone on the 'Clit-Lit' naming committee thought it a good idea to shorten 'climate' to 'clit'.  But maybe that's just me...-It was just Tamara Wilbwhite trying to immediately dog-whistle to WB rightist, and just to be a flame to her most dread enemy on earth: liberals.  Wilbwhite supposedly is this big-time manufacturing "expert" so needs to play a hard rightist, regardless of how small or silly the result is.  See how climate change, hated by rightists can be a whole lot more full of loathing if tied to feminism...The committee should be taken out and shot.
Wick Burner Added Oct 24, 2017 - 5:50am
Jeff Michka,
Indeed, I can confirm that nowhere else in the known Universe, apart from on this page, is 'Clit-Lit' in any way commensurate with the sub-genre known as 'Climate Fiction' (which would be invading the brains of about 0.3% of all possible book readers; it sounds as good as I'd feel if I was reading Twilight fan-fiction while heavily medicated with lithium).
Clit-Lit is, of course, exactly what it sounds like - hyper-romanticised feminist (only sometimes lesbian) pulp fiction.
If that was a dog-whistle, the dogs are, clearly, mentally retarded.
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 24, 2017 - 2:33pm
John G I agree that a parasitic class is not necessary. The disagreement between us is "who is that class?" You see it as business owners. I see it as the entrenched elites who come from Ivy League schools to go into non-profits that influence policy because they have the right credentials/class, unless they go into government roles whether federal or local administration, while seeing the average person as an idiot who needs to be given the one or two approved choices to give them an illusion of freedom.

That was spelled out in Cass Sustein's book "Nudge" that the Obama administration tried to implement at every level. And it reflects liberals' biases that they and only they are smart, rational, love, moral ... so everyone else must be a stupid fool to be told what to do by the enlightened elites. And hate speech rules get used to silence conservative views, whether by Big Tech (Facebook, Twitter, Google) or Big Government.

War is not necessarily a business venture. Look at Islamic jihad from the Philippines to North Africa to San Bernadino. Yes, some of that is financed by Arab oil companies indirectly through Western buyers. But the Saudis in particular would be funding jihad and Islamic fundamentalism if the only buyers were national corporations of socialist regimes or Communist governments, too.

A big government will create big business if it doesn't already exist by playing favorites. You seem to advocate very large government in the name of the people for their best interest. Concentration of power in big governments created by socialism will incentivize corruption and attract the corrupt - to government, against the interests of the average person.

Freedom is maximized when the state is as small as possible, but big businesses will try to pass regulations and outright laws that shut out competitors or handicap themselves a little while drowning their competition in red tape until shut down.
Big government by its very nature destroys freedom though it may have theoretical good intentions to take care of what they think are the poor stupid souls in the arms of a nanny state. And it will by human nature create the corrupt big business we both dislike.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 24, 2017 - 6:01pm
WB sez: If that was a dog-whistle, the dogs are, clearly, mentally retarded.-The latter is true, and so was the dog-whistler, in this case:  Anything to "feed the right".
Even A Broken Clock Added Oct 24, 2017 - 6:36pm
Tamara, I feel you have stated your case very well, and have defined some of the emotional issues that have enervated the left of the political discussion. You write very well.
On the other hand, you have ignored the strategies and techniques that the right has used to demonize the thought patterns of those who are more on the left side of the political spectrum. I would maintain that a similar list of behavior modification can be attributed to the political right, and that this has been a deliberate strategy over the course of decades (how I loathe seeing and hearing the persona of Rush over the millennia).
Nevertheless, good job on what you wrote.
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 24, 2017 - 8:17pm

Even A Broken Clock Thank you for the compliment.
I can't tell if you're implying that the right routinely engages in name-calling and smear tactics.
That's been the reflexive strategy of the left for years. For example, Bush being likened to Hitler more than a decade ago because liberals considered all conservatives evil fascists so the head of the party was evil incarnate ...
When liberal bullies on college campuses are shouting down liberal college administrators or the ACLU, calling free speech racist and wrong, you know they're going to do even worse to truly different idea holders.
I realize what JohnG is saying about liberals sometimes shut down by authoritarian liberals. I've seen video of Camille Pagalia and other classic feminists shouted down and threatened for challenging transgenderism both as reinforcing the worst gender stereotypes and saying that biology is irrelevant regardless of scientific reality.


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Edgeucation Newmedia Added Oct 24, 2017 - 8:20pm
There is some truth to the things cited in this article however, the world is not ending humanity lives in a mess of its olwn making and guess what folks? It's cleanup time!
Jeff Michka Added Oct 25, 2017 - 7:43pm
Wilbwhite sez: The Day After. I realize those movies may have scared many people into opposing nuclear arms-I don't think it was movies that scarred people in the 60s about nuclear was, it was nuclear war that scarred them, partisan one.  Nuclear war is a fact that speaks all by itself. OF course, for a rightist, the important part was they weren't as scarred of communism as you'd like.  With what reason, that communism would turn their nights into day and flash burn their shadows on walls?  Someone recently here tried to fear monger with nuclear war talk-how Hillary would be appointed president and start WWIII.  You ought to get together.  I can't believe sane management allows you near a factory floor for any reason. 
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 25, 2017 - 9:06pm

Jeff Michka If you want a modern example of what to be afraid of under Communism, look at the decline of Cuba under communism or the fall of Venezuela once it couldn't prop up the regime with oil money.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 25, 2017 - 9:26pm
Wilbwhite sez: If you want a modern example of what to be afraid of under Communism, look at the decline of Cuba under communism or the fall of Venezuela-I'm not "afraid" of communism, you are.  Funny, despite the US giving Cuba a hard time since the early 60s, and the dissolution of the old SU, Cuba survived.  Now, Wilbwhite, you wring your hands over "communism."  Think I might be more worried about getting an executive suntan from a nuke, as a result of our "Mr. Gamesman's", Orange shitpile's ego booster reaction to a weird kid, terrified he'll "actually have to do something" about Creep's tweets declaring war in 140 characters.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 26, 2017 - 6:27pm
I find it refreshing, John G that despite the economic warfare, Cuba is still with us.  And Bolivia is not a communist country, true.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 27, 2017 - 6:25pm
Capitalism is why people find a selection of goods at the store instead of wait for their rations.-Oh, you mean like Puerto Rico and US Virgin islands?  If they'd only be willing to pay a lot more, they'd have food, water and power...of course there's the nagging "fault' of debt in PR.  No debt? No hurricane or damage.  Gawd knows a debt free area, right?
Tamara Wilhite Added Nov 10, 2017 - 6:27pm

One of my short stories is in the anthology MAGA 2020 & Beyond, released this week.  
Tamara Wilhite Added Aug 6, 2018 - 11:01pm

You can listen to my science fiction collection "Humanity's Edge" at Audible.