For most humans, there is a simple formula to describe the scary conditions in which we live today: “The numerous threats to our American way of life in the world plus one more that directly affects me equals Menace Overload.” Usually Americans can deal with all the “bad news” constantly being published in the media or circulated on the Internet.
Since there are so many frightening things capable of ending human life which could happen to an individual, more and more people are being scared half to death! Yet, as alarming as the diverse claims of the rabble-rousing fear-mongers are, none of the threats is imminent, unless a potential victim is actively risking his or her life by ignoring common sense behavior.
The average adult human can’t prioritize the threats that are most likely to destroy his serenity and undermine his security. How can anyone forecast the negative effects of being laid off, or guess who will be challenged tomorrow by some natural disaster like an earthquake, a hurricane, a tornado, a tsunami, or a flood? Lightening doesn’t kill many people each year, neither do sharks, snakes, collapsing bridges, nor airplane crashes. Youngsters drown in swimming pools, overdose on narcotics, or are killed in auto accidents when the driver of the car responsible for the accident is under the influence. Is there any clairvoyant who can foresee such tragic events?
The federal government is the biggest purveyor of false alarms. Our national leaders try to intimidate citizens by emphasizing the brutality of terrorists overseas, by exaggerating the anti-American political activities of nasty dictators of small countries like North Korea, and by projecting the danger of nuclear weapons in the hands of outspoken bullies like those who govern Iran.
There will always be disastrous events where people are injured or killed by angry, hostile, vengeful, and hateful psychopaths like the Muslim suicide bombers who are free to roam and who deliberately try to disrupt the tranquility of daily life. But gang shootings in our cities cause far more human fatalities in the US each year than the actions of foreign terrorists.
We are bombarded by frightening predictions of an Armageddon with the Muslims, destructive inundations caused by the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, and the unknown toll of human deaths resulting from some swine flu epidemic or enhanced famine in countries where millions of humans are living in unhealthy conditions trying to survive on less than $2 per day. Is there anything happening today on this planet that doesn’t scare someone about the present or the future?
National Geographic’s Special Issue of April 2010 called “Water, Our Thirsty World” provides numerous photos of the human living conditions in foreign lands. “One out of eight people lacks access to clean water,” “46 percent of people on earth do not have water piped into their homes.” “Women in developing countries walk an average of 3.7 miles to get water.” Who can make such exotic calculations with a straight face?
What is the worst news about the lack of fresh water? “In 15 years 1.8 billion people will live in regions of severe water scarcity.” Are you personally frightened by those scare tactics? Ready to call a plumber to check the water pipes in your house for leaks? Going to stop buying bottled water that costs more per gallon than gasoline?
In the movie, “Flow” (For the Love of Water) private companies who invest in bringing water to the people who live in underdeveloped countries were castigated for doing so and selling clean water at prices the local people could not afford. Nothing was said in that documentary about the lack of government involvement or investment in providing uncontaminated water to the uneducated public who consider that water should be available to them free of charge because that’s how it comes from the heavens! The least the government could do is provide rain barrels to the poor!
I don’t mean to make light of the very serious challenges to the folks who are forced to deal with the lack of food and water. Whose responsibility is it to care for them? Why can’t they heed the obvious warning that having more children isn’t going to make their lives any easier or better? The “free” water is polluted in many places, the “free” air is contaminated by the more developed nations, and the food available locally for a price is not subject to US FDA inspections and regulations. Such are the living conditions in many “poor” nations.
Who is to blame if the local living conditions are unhealthy, unsanitary, and deficient? God? Foreigners? Those of us who are panicked by the potential consequences of the deprived in the world taking up arms to attack us?
In the US there are many unsolved domestic problems and not enough money to take care of the homeless, the undernourished, the infirm, and the illegal immigrants flocking here in search of a better standard of living. The Common Law of the Jungle states: “Take care of yourself and look out for hungry predators!” That Law translates into the primary admonishment for all living creatures: “Provide for yourself because there isn’t anyone else going to do that for you.” Human societies may endeavor to help the handicapped and the disadvantaged, but when there are so many who need help and ignore the Law of the Jungle, what is mankind supposed to do?
Advertising more and more menaces may make some individuals a bit more concerned about the future, but not the majority. Repetitious propaganda and unenforceable laws will go unheeded. Most of the actions being promoted by social organizations and governments do not attack the root cause of society’s problems: too many unemployable humans who need clean air and water, nutritious food, and a job to pay for the costs of providing their basic needs. Simple economics?
Only misguided Homo sapiens believe that they are entitled to have other members of their species provide for them once they are adults. This modern philosophy was born dead and proven to be a disaster in the Soviet Union where increased alcoholism is one of the terrible consequences. The evolutions of the animals that have survived have shown that industriousness and self-reliance were the keys to survival. Are the creatures that have survived on this planet until now the fittest?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I am sure that the diverse menaces that threaten animal habitats will require more daring and adaptability on the part of individual creatures and not some communal action of a “we feel sorry for them” aggregation of fellow members of their species. Threats to life have their effect on some responsive folks.
The biggest threat to human life is the overpopulation of the so-called “civilized” descendants of the apes who are struggling to stay alive on a small planet whose resources are being rapidly depleted by so many human activities.