15 November 2009

The greatest evil

The use of fear as a weapon is nothing new. Not just in war or by totalitarian governments upon their people or by the mafia or by landlords over farmers and peasants in agrarian societies like India, but even in cases as simple as parents disciplining their children or children bullying other children.

What I find interesting (as a study) and, at the same time, horrifying about the use of fear are two things: (a) how this use of fear is endorsed by others, making it legitimate; and (b) how power, and therefore political authority, is exercised by this use of fear to achieve goals.

By the endorsement of use of fear – and violence, which naturally comes with it – I don’t simply mean people in authority supporting and encouraging others to use fear to achieve their goals. No, what I mean is the belief – and the support and encouragement of that belief – that those who use fear and violence as weapons against others are ‘free of all blame’.

In short, the belief that the use of fear and violence is for good. This is where I see the greatest evil.

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