Fear is a political tool. It is used by politicians as a means of trying to control us. We are told to hang on desperately to the hand of nurse for fear of finding something worse because there are plenty of lions out there, waiting for an opportunity to eat us up. Chris made the point when commenting on a recent post. He wrote
Why does Cameron say that a lone wolf terrorist may strike at any moment? What does MI5 actually do? The GCHQ spying on everyone clearly doesn’t work in preventing terrorists. Why doesn’t Cameron try to falsely reassure us like he does about the economy, immigration etc. Why, on this one issue, does he actually try to scare us?
The question is rhetorical but sometimes it is good to answer rhetorical questions because the answers frequently reveal a truth which is additional to that posed by the question.
Mr Cameron, in common with all politicians, wants us to live in fear of terrorists because if we do so we are much less likely to object to laws that stifle our freedom. Once upon a time English Law was based on the premise that any act not expressly forbidden was permitted – “there is no law agin it” was a common defence. Now in modern times we are moving to a situation where there are plenty of laws and indeed so many that almost anything can be against the law.
The more laws exist that stifle our freedom the more control government have over us. If a government is not a democratically elected one then you would expect that there would be these controls over us and we would live in fear of them. However, if a democratically elected government attempts to control us it is a case of the servants controlling the masters and this is counter to democracy.
It is in the interest of every secret police organisation, like MI5, to puff up their value and importance. We are solemnly told that these secret policemen have stopped many terrorist plots and kept us safe. I simply do not believe that to be the case.
There are of course always going to be people who will resort to violence to achieve their ends, but whether these ends are expressed as political objectives or expressed as simple greed (most politics is a matter of greed anyway) these people should be dealt with by the police, not the secret police. We do not need special laws to prevent terrorist crime; laws of conspiracy, attempts and inchoate crime are sufficient to protect us but specific “anti-terror” laws will only oppress us and Mr Cameron and his ilk seem to find it to their advantage to oppress us and convince us to live in fear thus grabbing tightly to their hands, locking us in by fear.