Monday, March 02, 2009


Theatre of War

Alarmism is such a highly integrated industry that it is sometimes difficult to tell where it all begins and ends. Lobbyists parade "experts" in front of Congress, Congress declares war (on drugs, terror, crime, etc.), media inflames the concern, public panic ensues, and the cycle is repeated until all the above hyperventilate themselves to exhaustion.

Given the lucrative nature of the industry for both proponents and opponents of alarmist responses, thoughtful and effective alternatives to militarized policy are rarely considered, let alone enacted. Successful interventions aimed at disrupting this vicious cycle must take into account both the inherent conflicts of interest of the industry, as well as the highly emotional reactions within this public drama.

Preventing public panic, while no easy task, would seem to be the only point in the cycle where sanity might insert itself.


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