Fear and Fear Mongers

A “fear monger” is someone who seeks to generate fear in you in order to gain control over you. “Control” can mean many different things. It can mean a sense of seeing you afraid, which makes a (sick) person happy. It can mean a sense of personal power, because “if I have control over you, that makes me strong.” It can also mean, “I will take care of you, and therefore control you, and that makes me a good person.” The world is full of people who engage in fear mongering for many different reasons. Almost all politicians are fear mongers. Many family members, especially parents and some spouses, are fear mongers. Some business people are fear mongers. There’s an old saying that there’s “nothing to fear but fear itself.” That’s not how I would put it, since fear can sometimes be rational, and even if fear were always wrong and irrational it wouldn’t make sense to endorse it in that one case. The way I put it is, “Fear has life only to the extent that you endorse the ideas that give rise to it.” If those ideas are mistaken, then correcting the ideas can eliminate the fear.