Monday, March 24, 2014

Foment Hysteria With This One Weird Trick

My article in today's FrontPage magazine:

Foment Hysteria With This One Weird Trick

By Matthew Vadum

Why do so many right-of-center websites run ads for shady-sounding consumer products and services that portend gloom and doom?

When surfing the Internet conservatives can’t avoid sales pitches for miracle cures, magic elixirs, life problem fixers, floating in a sea of Buzzfeed-style listicles and other junk food for the mind. The intellect-bypassing memes are everywhere. Every day we’re told how “this one weird trick” can solve our problems. Many on the Right are enabling this kookiness, joining in with those on the Left for whom conspiracy theories are mother’s milk.

Conservatives shouldn’t be feeding into this trend. All these wacky, wide-eyed ads discredit the conservative sites and media outlets that carry them, possibly leading readers to take the valuable news reported there with a grain of salt.

And in recent years apocalyptic ads, often accompanied by scary videos, are being featured far and wide on conservative sites. The pitches go well beyond the usual breathless warnings about water fluoridation, vaccination, and mysterious chem trails in the sky that appeal to, well, everyone who is conspiracy-minded among conservatives, liberals, and moderates.

The U.S. dollar, we’re told, is months away from collapse. When the currency goes south, 200 million or more Americans will be wiped out financially. One advertiser claims to know exactly when the greenback will take a dive.

Exactly? While it is true that the Federal Reserve’s relentless, reckless expansion of the money supply can only end in tears eventually, predicting exactly when the dollar might collapse is next to impossible, except perhaps when the collapse is imminent. There are far too many economic and political variables to hazard a guess.

But wait; there’s more.

The World Wide Web will soon go “dark,” it is claimed. A new market will somehow kill the Internet, paving the way for a new $14 trillion –with a ‘T’– industry. You can make gazillions if you get in now with this mystery investment!

FEMA is hoarding ”survival food” whose longevity would make Clark Griswold proud. This food, if that’s what it is, has a 25-year shelf life, and is supposedly flying off the shelves awaiting the moment when our friends and neighbors, who didn’t take the time to prepare for the coming disaster, are forced into FEMA camps. Food stamps and dependency on government are leading to “‘communist’ food brainwashing,” something that those of us who study the Left need to learn about.

When your famished neighbors come to take away your food and water, your life will depend on knowing the right way to defend yourself physically, it is claimed:
Mainstream home defense strategies flat out don’t work and … relying on them paints a big bulls-eye on your home leaving you and your family vulnerable, defenseless and exposed against the savage scum that will rise with the coming crisis.
One video insinuates that a series of nightmare scenarios are about to descend on America. North Korea, whose low-rent missiles couldn’t hit a barn door at 50 paces, is planning an attack on the United States, the video seems to suggest.

The government is preparing massive grave sites in secret because it “knows exactly what’s coming. The government is prepared but they aren’t prepared for your survival. The government is preparing for your orderly death.”

It’s time to get a bomb shelter. Or a panic room. Or head for the hills or maybe the caves.

Where do all these feverish admonitions come from?

Americans have always had a fondness for conspiracy theories. This makes sense in a country where the motherland went out of its way to oppress the people of the Thirteen Colonies. There was a time in the mid- to late-1700s when it was perfectly rational to protest that the government really was out to get you.

After all, Americans had their rights as Englishmen taken away and this shocking deprivation has left psychic scars on the American people that continue well into the nation’s third century of independence. Cautious Americans developed institutions to ward off tyranny and preserve liberty and the rule of law.

Perhaps some conservatives nowadays may be excused for crossing the line between healthy skepticism and rabid paranoia. They didn’t create the dire situation that Americans now face as their country slips away from them a little more each and every day. Dealing with the crazy, confused mess that leftists have created isn’t easy.

President Obama has done everything he can to fertilize the fever swamps and foment discord, dividing Americans along the neo-Marxist lines of race, class, and sex. His Huey Long-like approach to governance is turning American society upside-down. His actions feed pessimism and depression, pushing desperate Americans to look for answers in unusual places.

Obama has unleashed the National Security Agency on all Americans. He has empowered the meanest, most hated federal agency there is, the Internal Revenue Service, to go after conservative activists and those who fail to abide by the constantly changing Affordable Care Act. He defrauded the voters in the last election by covering up his many misdeeds in office. He is destroying the military, industry, the economy, and civil society.

It has gotten to the point where if you’re not worried about the future, something is wrong with you. The conspiracy-minded ads and sales pitches popping up all over the Internet are symptoms of a society that is unraveling under the weight of decades of leftist error.

There is much to be concerned about, but it would be nice if websites on the Right refrained from fanning the flames of mass hysteria.

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