Miscellany

The Power of Nightmares

The United States is the most powerful, confident and in many ways, the freest civilization ever in the history of the world. It is extraordinary that it has become so paralyzed by the fear of radical Islamist terrorism–it really is a lion quaking in the face of a mouse. Radical Islamists do represent a serious threat and will use terror against civilians, but when you look at them historically, as the series does, you come to see that they are not some new force with a unique power to bring the strongest nation in the world to its knees.

Yet America has become trapped by that fear–riven by nightmare visions of ‘sleeper cells’ in its midst for which there is little or no evidence. The series attempts to explain why this strange state of affairs has come about and it argues that politicians have found in fear a way of restoring their power. In a populist consumerist age where their authority and legitimacy has declined dramatically politicians have simply discovered in the War on Terror a way of making themselves indispensable to their populations again by promising to protect us from something that only they can see.

The Power of Nightmares

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