Letter: FIWA all over the place

Posted
To the Editor:

Time after time, some perfectly reasonable and effective idea is shown to be popular among Americans when they are asked about it in the abstract: universal health care, higher taxes on people with higher income, regulations to protect the public from poisoned air, water and food, wages high enough that full time workers can live on them. Time after time that same perfectly reasonable idea is defeated, delayed or simply not pursued.

And it's always for the same general principle: FIWA, which simply stands for "Fearful Ignorance Wins Again." Fear of other races, job loss, foreigners, "them" whoever "they" may be. Ignorance of the facts behind those issues, ignorance of history, ignorance of how the world around us actually works.

And FIWA is on one heck of a winning streak. It put a con artist in the White House. It puts con artist after con artist in the Senate, the House of Representatives, and state legislatures all over the country. FIWA is even expanding. It can now claim credit for at least the last two Supreme Court Justices.

And FIWA is run by the joint efforts of all kinds of folks. Religious charlatans who package FIWA as God's will as a means to their own wealth and power. Libertarians who package FIWA as a cautionary tale of enslavement. Rich conservatives who package FIWA as a slightly different cautionary tale of enslavement. Racists who package FIWA as a cautionary tale of lost history, culture and identity. "Nationalists" who package FIWA as a cautionary tale of lost nationhood. Massive corporations who package FIWA as a cautionary tale of poverty, unemployment, and economic enslavement. Republicans who package FIWA as a cautionary tale against treachery, fraud and theft in elections.

As you can see, FIWA is especially useful in enslaving people by manipulating their fear of enslavement. That's some trick, but FIWA and its handlers are nothing if not tricky. They have pulled off another trick: The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index downgraded America from a "Full Democracy" to a "Flawed Democracy." But there are still two worse categories: Hybrid Regime and Authoritarian Regime. The FIWA crowd has more work to do.

Will we let them?

Lee Russ

Bennington

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