Category Archives: Fear

Hooray for Our Side


Stephen Stills wrote and sang  a wonderful song when he was with the band Buffalo Springfield. It is a classic embodying a lot of the good from the 1960s which I still think of as my time.  The song is very appropriate for the current times.  Here are the lyrics:


For What It’s Worth

There’s something happening here

But what it is ain’t exactly lear

There’s a man with a gun over there

Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop

Children, what’s that sound?

Everybody look – what’s going down?


There’s battle lines being drawn

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong

Young people speaking’ their minds

Getting so much resistance from behind


It’s time we stop

Hey, what’s that sound?

Everybody look – what’s going down?


What a field day for the heat

A thousand people in the street

Singing songs and carrying signs

Mostly saying, “hooray for our side”


It’s time we stop

Hey, what’s that sound?

Everybody look – what’s going down?


Paranoia strikes deep

Into your life it will creep

It starts when you’re always afraid

Step out of line, the men come and take you away


We better stop

Hey, what’s that sound?

Everybody look – what’s going down?

I think this song written in the 1960s sums up a lot of what’s happening in the Middle East now.

Religion has declined in much of the world. In fact, I would argue it has declined most strongly in those areas where it appears to be most vociferously present. My wife Christiane used to have a pin that said something like this “When religion turns to hate, it is no longer religion.” When religion declined it transformed into politics and became hate it turns into the most ugly form of politics imaginable.  A long way from the holy. When that happens the “other side” is transformed from the other side to the devil. This is what demonization does. By definition it dehumanizes the other.

Sometimes this is done by ignoring the other. For example, when Israel ignores Hamas or treats them with disdain as it has done for more than 15 years, it dehumanizes them. Hamas of course, treated Israel with vicious hate when it attacked them on October 7th of this year.   Dehumanization again.

The first step in the process of dehumanization, as happened in Rwanda in the 1990s is to call the other side non-humans. Like pests as happened there. It happened again in Israel when their defense Minister called Hamas “human animals.” That gives them the license to kill.

This is what leads to the conflagration in the Middle East. Now we all have to live with it.

A Safe Place to Hate.


There had been a lot of social change just before Rush Limbaugh arrived on the scene. There was gay liberation, women’s rights, and liberalism. Many felt they could no longer say what they wanted to say. Political correctness was seen as a stifling chain. They also thought no one was speaking like them or to them. They were ignored and invisible. As Justin Ling said in his CBC. Radio series , “In the universe of right-wing media compared to the Wall Street Journal and like the later Fox News Limbaugh’s listeners were older, whiter, more conservative, and more religious. For this slice of America Limbaugh created a safe space.” He created a safe place to hate.

Surprisingly, because there was a Republican in the White House, as Ling said, “he convinced these old, white, conservative, and religious Americans that they were disenfranchised!” Even though they were in the majority! It was pure alchemy. He told them they were looked down on. He milked them for their resentment—the elixir of devils. As Ling said, “He formed a kind of counterculture; a resistance against the liberals, and the progressives, and the feminists.”

In the mid-80s he syndicated to about 50 stations across the country but by 1990 he got 450 affiliates. He was the rock star of talk radio and the conservative movement. He led a Rush to Excellence Tour to various stadiums around the country with as many as 10,000 people.  As Justin Ling said, “Limbaugh declared a culture war”. Limbaugh put it this way:

“We are in the midst of a culture war. What are rights? This culture war illustrates precisely what is going on. We in America are in the midst—it’s an exciting time to be alive—we are in the midst of a redefinition of who is going to define right and wrong, what the punishment is going to be for those who violate the limits that we place on our behavior. We are arguing about who has the right to tell us what is right and what is wrong. We’re arguing over what censorship is And to me its pretty scary.”


And there it is again—fear—the secret sauce of paranoia and right-wing hysteria.

Like Trump later, Limbaugh went from being a spoiled rich kid to a champion of the working class. People all over America were starting to take notice of Limbaugh. I remember at the time hearing about him from a friend of mine, a trucker. Truckers loved Limbaugh, just like they later loved Trump and basically for the same reasons. They liked to have a wrecking ball in their corner as did my friend the trucker, and much later the truckers convoy in Ottawa in 2022. They got a rush from Rush Limbaugh.

As Justin Ling said, “On his radio show he was the voice of God on a one way street. And he loved nothing better than to run over liberal women. On his radio show he said, “this is a show devoted to what I think.” On the Dave Lettermen show he said people were bugged by him because “I have almost a monopoly on the truth.” No one could ever accuse Limbaugh of humility. Humility was a liberal vice. And his fans loved it.  He also said “This is a benevolent dictatorship. I am the dictator. There is no first amendment here except for me.”

Now he was entitled to be the dictator of his own show. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to listen to it.


Fear: The Secret Sauce of American politics


Conspiracy theories have abounded both on the right and the left. Of course, conspiracy theories were vitally connected to the right-wing movement and radio talk show hosts knew how to utilize them to advance their cherished cause. They also knew that fears drove these theories and hence drove their movement.

Many people were moved by paranoid fears of dangerous others, such as Communists who wanted to change the world that they liked and virile black men who were out to rape innocent white women whom they also liked.

Carl McIntire was dead center of another vitally important factor in the promulgation of right-wing theology in the south and that came right out of the credulity for which the south was robustly fertile. Southerners since birth had been taught to believe and believing was something they could do with astonishing ease and  vigour. It beggared belief to see the beliefs they could cheerfully swallow. They created what Kurt Anderson referred to as FantasyLands.

As McIntire and his cohorts were creating profound fears in America of 5th columns, commies under every bed, a Red Scare, churlish Bolshevism, the Yellow Peril, and Uncle Joseph’s secret plot, among many others. Notice the common thread here—FEAR. American was driven by fear. I have often said, America is the most fearful country in the world. That is why it spends so much money on its military—as much as the next 9 countries spend combined!

As Paul Matzko said, “You can’t understand the American political scene in the 1960s without realizing how pervasive conspiracy theorizing was on both sides of the aisle and how much political discourse was spread by paranoid fears.” In my opinion, paranoia is the secret sauce of American politics.” And it has been since its inception. The reason for that is fascinating. My theory is it is largely based on a guilty conscience and that conscience has been largely unacknowledged since the days of its genocide of the American indigenous people followed shortly after by a second genocide against millions of imported black slave labourers from Africa. America has a lot it should feel guilty about. That guilt has supercharged hatred, violence, destruction on massive scales. Guilt has fire started paranoia. The result has been horrific, and it continues to this day. And it will not stop haunting that great country until it acknowledges its sins and repents. Nothing short of that can save it and the American right-wing has spent most of its energy trying to hide the black reality of its sins from itself and its offspring.  Only truth can set it free. America urgently needs truth and reconciliation. Instead the Republican Party offers comforting myths and obfuscation.

An astonishingly interesting consequence of this  is the rich fertile  soil of fear of dangerous others. This has bred a unfathomable number of wildly irrational conspiracy theories that have gained mind-numbing numbers of adherents filled with zealotry. Many of the hit movies of the time disgorged theories of right-wing authoritarian coups. Novels and films like Seven Days in May warned of a coup by Communists assisted by corrupt and treacherous American officials. These were also the fears that generated the McCarthy witch hunts. Then there was that amazing film Dr. Strangelove whose name said it all.  The basis of that film was dread at the prospect that Russians were working on a doomsday device.

Carl McIntire  in his radio shows was the one who proved how powerful the anti-Communist hysteria was. And we must remember that it was exactly that—hysteria. It was insane and it was found at the centre of the richest and most powerful country in the world. No amount of wealth and no power can hold back secret and terrifying guilt.


Policing in a Broken Society

This past year in America 5 black  cops brutally killed a young black man for no apparent reason that has been revealed. Why did that happen?

Bill Maher was  right when he said on his television show earlier this year, “What’s going on, in my view, is that society is broken. We don’t educate people anymore, discipline is all broken down, families are broken down.” I agree this is a product of a broken society and then we ask the police to solve it.  Among all the other jobs they have to deal with they are expected to hold society together as it is shredded.  They are being asked to be psychologists, marriage counsellors, social workers advocates. As Bill Maher said, “No one ever calls the cops to tell them how well the marriage is going.” It is what I always said about schools. The principal never called us ot a team meeting to tell us how well the lads were doing in school.

How could that possibly work? Trust is gone. Guns sluice through American society. That doesn’t help. Violence is bred in the bone, particularly in America. What can the police do to mend this mess? As Bill Maher said, “They are the ones who get the slop of a broken society.”  And then they are asked to do far too much. And sometimes they contribute to it.

Yet, of course, the cops are also part of that broken society. Why those 5 black cops did what they did may always remain a mystery.  They just did it.   The cops perhaps were going through a divorce, or under pressure from their landlord to pay the rent, or their kids are trying drugs and disrespect their parents. What can the cops do about that?  They can break is about all they can do under impossible conditions.

There is a bigger question: where is all the rage coming from?  This is a vitally important question without any apparent answers. The rage is clearly out there, but where did it come from? The police like the rest of us are suffering from anxiety and fear. Every day they drive into harm’s way as part of their jobs.  The cops live in a society transfused with fear, anxiety, depression, and above all hate. It is a toxic mess that no Sunday School can cure.

Of course, we must always remember that a very high percentage of cops don’t resort to killing people out of frustration.  Most of them are just trying to do an honourable job as best they can.  Yet we must not accept it when they don’t do their best or abuse the trust given to them. Society is entitled to their best. Also, we must not be surprised when the police abuse the trust and fall short. It is going to happen. A broken society cannot deliver a perfect result. Fear, anxiety, depression and hate will never produce perfection. We will never get perfect policing until we get a perfect society, at which time we won’t need the police.

As Brett Stephens also said on Maher’s show, “Every day a cop in America is shot and killed. And police deserve a lot more respect than they get.”[2]

 I do not want to be taken to be giving in to fatalism. We must insist police do a better job. We must give them the support and respect they deserve, but not blind automatic acceptance of all they do.

 The real issue about cops is the same as the real issue of guns.  It is not inadequate laws that are the problem.  The real problem is the incredible rage in American society. In many ways it is a broken society. And that means that when the pieces of glass fly, people will get hurt. The rage let loose in a broken society is going to hurt someone. Whoever is in the way will get hurt. Police and guns just happen to be right on the edge of the tears in society. And we just have to look out.

Taxes are Good


Al Franken is a disgraced Democratic Senator from Minnesota.  Not really. He did a bad thing. He made inappropriate jokes about a sleeping woman and pretended he was going to assault her. It was stupid. He apologized, admitted it, and resigned as a Senator.  No Republican would have even considered resigning under such circumstances. After leaving the Senate he returned to his professional career of being a comedian. In that capacity he appeared as a guest host on the Daily Show after Trevor Noah resigned.

On his last day as interim host he had some fine things to say about taxes. He said he would show us why taxes are good. That is a pretty big task.  But he did a pretty good job.

He said “it is tax season, or as Donald Trump would say, ‘Get off my back already.’”  Trump famously did not pay taxes for years and bragged about it. He said not paying taxes showed he was smart.  In the minds of many conservatives, that is entirely true. There is nothing wrong with avoiding taxes by legal means. At least we can’t really blame anyone for not paying taxes that one can lawful avoid.  Tax evasion, which means unlawfully avoiding  taxes is a different matter entirely.

As soon as the Republicans took over in the House of Representatives after the US mid-term election in 2020 they announced that they would be taking at run at the Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’) in the US, which is widely seen by the American conservatives as a subversive organization because it tries to enforce American tax laws, and conservatives—at least so ultra-right-wing conservatives believe.  The believe  taxes are immoral. As a result, anything one does to avoid paying taxes is justified. The Republicans basically said—in almost these terms, that they would be emasculating the IRS so that their cronies and supporters who supported their election campaigns would not be required to pay so many taxes. Taxes were for other people to pay. Taxes on their view are not for elites and wealthy people to pay. Taxes are for the common people to pay.  It is hardly an exaggeration to say this. Many  Conservatives actually believe this.  How do I know this?  I have listened to them!  Their own words make it clear.

In Biden’s recent Inflation Reduction Act there was a provision that $80 million would be added to the funding of the IRS to hire new employees and acquire new technology to replace their ancient technology. Conservatives think that is a waste of money in the US.  It is not. It is vital to do that to support lawful government. As Franken said,

“Better enforcement of tax laws means more money for the many, many things government does such as social security, Medicare, infrastructure, not to mention feces scraped off the Capitol walls by the Proud Boys. Clearly the new funding is long overdue. In addition, to pay for immensely popular programs it will help to reduce the deficit, so everybody has got to be happy about it. Everybody right?”


Of course not! That is what people would think in a rational world. This is not a rational world. Here is what Republican Representative Bob Good said, “Democrats want to spend 80 million dollars to hire 87,000 armed IRS agents to terrorize Americans.”  Republican Senator Rick Scott from Florida said this, “They want to hire 87,000 IRS agents that can use deadly force to go after America families.”  Republican Senator John Kennedy said this, “They want to turn the IRS into the Gestapo!”

A Fox commentator on the Tucker Carlson show said this about Biden’s efforts: “A little like James Bond except rather than hunting down evil maniacs they hunt down and kill middle class taxpayers that don’t pay enough.”

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida said this on social media:  Gaetz asked: “Chaos at the IRS where they are gearing up for something, like, war in our country? Is Nancy Pelosi trying to start a nuclear war in Asia? Is there an effort by the National Security State to stoke violence in a civil war here at home? We certainly hope not.”

Of course, the Republicans are just trying to stoke the fears of the American electorate, again, by suggesting getting wealthy Americans to pay their lawful taxes is federal “overreach.”

Al Franken asked, “Do these Republicans think that if you make a mistake on your tax return the IRS will come to your door, break down, and gun down your entire family?”

Franken said the new money is to be used to restore funding to the IRS that was  aggressively cut by Republicans in Congress in 2011. Since that was done the IRS audit rate has dropped almost 60%. During that time the number of IRS agents has dropped to levels of 1954 when the US population was about half of what it is now. 1954, he said, “was when paediatricians started prescribing menthol cigarettes for sick children.” That last one might have been a joke. After all, Franken is now a comedian and not a politician anymore.

There is a better Way


I want to end this series on the paranoid elites trying to hunker down in a missile silo on a happier note. It is not all doom.

In the 60s and 70s Stewart Brand, now a Silicon Valley sage, owned the “Whole Earth Catalog.” It attracted a large and loyal cult following as it blended hippie-dippy advice with the technical. I loved their motto: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”. Brand experimented with survivalism but abandoned it.  Ultimately, he found it did not make sense. Things based on unreasonable fears seldom make sense. Evan Osnos described him in his current situation this way,

“At seventy-seven, living on a tugboat in Sausalito, Brand is less impressed by signs of fragility than by examples of resilience. In the past decade, the world survived, without violence, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; Ebola, without cataclysm; and, in Japan, a tsunami and nuclear meltdown, after which the country has persevered. He sees risks in escapism. As Americans withdraw into smaller circles of experience, we jeopardize the “larger circle of empathy,” he said, the search for solutions to shared problems. “The easy question is, how do I protect me and mine? The more interesting question is, What if civilization actually manages continuity as well as it has managed it for the past few centuries? What do we do if it just keeps on chugging?”


As it has so often in the past, America is being pushed and pulled at the same time particularly by the extremes of left and right.  On the one  hand there are people like survivalists, neo-liberals, and their political puppets who have shredded all of their fellow feeling in order to fill their bags with as much money as possible. On the other hand,  are some genuine whackos on the left as well.  Yet there are the kinder gentler souls who see a better way, but seem to be increasingly crushed by the more vocal and bellicose camps. I don’t know who will win this battle, but I care. I hope that America (and with Canada dragging along behind) comes to its senses and abandons this philosophy of fear. Fear is all right but it must be managed. Don’t let it get unreasonable. When it gives way to panic we have to realize that smart decisions will no longer be made. We must abandon panic; we must embrace critical thinking and fellow feeling. If we can do that then we will survive. If we are unable to do that, we will sink into the mire, or worse. And we will deserve it.

We must remember: there is a better way. We may need to meander to find it, but its there.


Gilded Dispair


A symbol of decline?

Every year a group of scientists, many of whom are Nobel laureates, set a big clock as a symbol of our dire straits. At the time when the Cold War was ending they set it at its lowest (safest) point ever at 17 minutes to midnight.


Sadly, since then the clock has been moving back up closer to midnight. In January 2016, after tensions rose between Russia and NATO and after the warmest year on record for the world, they set it at 3 minutes to midnight. After Trump got elected and bellicose relations continued between the US and North Korea it was set at 2 & ½ minutes to midnight.  That was the highest since 1953 when the US first tested the atom bomb. it is even higher now.

There is no doubt that all of this is being driven by fear. Fear of disaster can be a useful thing. When the world realized that a hole was being punched in the Ozone layer because of chlorofluorocarbons (‘CFSs’) in the atmosphere they got together and adopted the Montreal Protocol to do something about it. They phased them out. This was a rational response to fear. That action has been a remarkable success story.

But this is not happening  in Kansas at the missile silos bought by wealthy fearful people. Instead, it is another case of the super wealthy doing nothing to  solve the problem they helped to create. Instead of doing something helpful,  they are using their money to buy an escape. It is illusory, but that is what these rich people want to do with their money. Instead of using it to help solve the problem, they are trying to run away from it.  As Evan Osnos said,

“Fear of disaster is healthy if it spurs action to prevent it. But élite survivalism is not a step toward prevention; it is an act of withdrawal… Faced with evidence of frailty in the American project, in the institutions and norms from which they have benefitted, some are permitting themselves to imagine failure. It is a gilded despair. As Huffman, of Reddit, observed, our technologies have made us more alert to risk, but have also made us more panicky; they facilitate the tribal temptation to cocoon, to seclude ourselves from opponents, and to fortify ourselves against our fears, instead of attacking the sources of them.


Some of the super-rich have a perverted sense of risk.  One of them, a hedge fund manager of course, said this to Osnos “He was telling me we should buy land in New Zealand as a backup. He’s, said to Osnos, ‘What’s the percentage chance that Trump is actually a fascist dictator? Maybe it’s low, but the expected value of having an escape hatch is pretty high.’ ” Even though he had supported Trump he wanted an escape hatch in case he had made a mistake.

Another super-wealthy CEO had a much better approach. This is what he said,

 “There are other ways to absorb the anxieties of our time. “If I had a billion dollars, I wouldn’t buy a bunker,” Elli Kaplan, the C.E.O. of the digital health startup Neurotrack, told me. “I would reinvest in civil society and civil innovation. My view is you figure out even smarter ways to make sure that something terrible doesn’t happen.” Kaplan, who worked in the White House under Bill Clinton, was appalled by Trump’s victory, but said that it galvanized her in a different way: “Even in my deepest fear, I say, ‘Our union is stronger than this.’ ”


Osnos understands this well. The panicky approach of rich people trying to escape reality is just plain dumb. It is dumb and counter-productive as it is likely to make the problem worse, not better. Super-rich people are purchasing their own doom with these mad schemes.  Osnos understands that the CEO who believes the political union in America is stronger than the survivalists think is in the end, an article of faith—a conviction that even degraded political institutions are the best instruments of common will, the tools for fashioning and sustaining our fragile consensus. Believing that is a choice.”

Yes there really is a better way.

Facilities of Doom


Evan Osnos had the benefit of a tour of the Kansas facility. I wish I could have seen it, It had many amenities. $20 million buys a lot of amenities. It has a 75- foot- long pool, a rock-climbing wall, an Astro-Turf “pet park,” a classroom with a line of computers, a gym, a movie theatre and a library. According to Osnos “It felt compact but not claustrophobic.”


Osnos also described the armory and related facilities:

“We visited an armory packed with guns and ammo in case of an attack by non-members, and then a bare-walled room with a toilet. “We can lock people up and give them an adult time-out,” he said. In general, the rules are set by a condo association, which can vote to amend them. During a crisis, a “life-or-death situation,” Hall said, each adult would be required to work for four hours a day, and would not be allowed to leave without permission. “There’s controlled access in and out, and it’s governed by the board,” he said.”


The facility also contained a hospital bed, operating table, dentist’s chair and food storage area. 2 doctors will be residents and 1 dentist. I guess they are wealthy enough.

Many Americans don’t think Kansas is isolated enough. Many of them are choosing a New Zealand option instead. One American told Osnos this,

“I think, in the back of people’s minds, frankly, is that, if the world really goes to shit, New Zealand is a First World country, completely self-sufficient, if necessary—energy, water, food. Life would deteriorate, but it would not collapse.” As someone who views American politics from a distance, he said, “The difference between New Zealand and the U.S., to a large extent, is that people who disagree with each other can still talk to each other about it here. It’s a tiny little place, and there’s no anonymity. People have to actually have a degree of civility.


There they don’t need bunkers. They are thousands of miles from Australia. They think they will be safe there. Amazingly some of them like New Zealand because it is mountainous and remote. They think there they can avoid rising sea levels. So these rich Americans who likely publicly supported all government inaction on the issue of climate change are actually privately worried about climate change. Worried enough to buy property in New Zealand.

Even people who claim not to believe in climate change actually fear the consequences of climate change!


Doom Boom


Fear was not invented recently in America. Long before people bought condos in missile silos, fear was a profitable business. It has always been there. It always has been profitable.  There were ample fears earlier in the United States too. The Cold War was brimming with fear.  Many thought there were communists under every bed. Many feared nuclear annihilation. Of course, as always, politicians ensured that the most important people had the most protection. That meant, of course, they were protected. As Evan Osnos said,


“During the Cold War, Armageddon became a matter for government policymakers. The Federal Civil Defense Administration, created by Harry Truman, issued crisp instructions for surviving a nuclear strike, including “Jump in any handy ditch or gutter” and “Never lose your head.” In 1958, Dwight Eisenhower broke ground on Project Greek Island, a secret shelter, in the mountains of West Virginia, large enough for every member of Congress. Hidden beneath the Greenbrier Resort, in White Sulphur Springs, for more than thirty years, it maintained separate chambers-in-waiting for the House and the Senate. (Congress now plans to shelter at undisclosed locations.) There was also a secret plan to whisk away the Gettysburg Address, from the Library of Congress, and the Declaration of Independence, from the National Archives.”


Frankly, I would have felt better if the political leaders were the last to be put into bunkers, so that their conduct would not be overly reckless. In 1961 John F. Kennedy encouraged “every citizen” to help build fall-out shelters.  Thousands of Americans complied. Back home I knew someone a block away who had one in his house. Now that seems crazy.  Few people would have survived a nuclear attack in those shelters. But this advice played on American and Canadian fears. Many people felt better doing something.

This was part of a cherished American tradition of fear mongering–one of the most popular sports in America. Right next to NASCAR racing, wrestling, and NFL football.

Osnos described the American fear movement this way,

 “In 1976, tapping into fear of inflation and the Arab oil embargo, a far-right publisher named Kurt Saxon launched The Survivor, an influential newsletter that celebrated forgotten pioneer skills. (Saxon claimed to have coined the term “survivalist.”) The growing literature on decline and self-protection included “How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years,” a 1979 best-seller, which advised collecting gold in the form of South African Krugerrands. The “doom boom,” as it became known, expanded under Ronald Reagan. The sociologist Richard G. Mitchell, Jr., a professor emeritus at Oregon State University, who spent twelve years studying survivalism, said, “During the Reagan era, we heard, for the first time in my life, and I’m seventy-four years old, from the highest authorities in the land that government has failed you, the collective institutional ways of solving problems and understanding society are no good. People said, ‘O.K., it’s flawed. What do I do now?’ ”


I doubt that anyone ever lost money overestimating American fears.  Doom is always booming.



Strange Fears


All unreasonable fears are strange, but some are stranger than others. Some fear environmental collapse. Not such a strange fear at all.

Some of the people who put down $3 million to purchase a condo in a former missile silo in Kansas have strange fears. In the land of conspiracy theories that should not surprise. Maybe they all do. Evan Osnos interviewed Tyler Allen a real estate developer in Florida who bought a unit in the Kansas silo. He worries about future “social conflict” in America. That really is not so strange a fear.  Allen also thinks that the government will deceive the public, as it has done in the past. He even believes that Ebola was allowed into the country “in order to weaken the population.” Unsurprisingly, he is transfused with fear and conspiracy theories. But I am not putting down $3million. Of course, I can’t put down $3 million, but if I did, I would think that there must be a better way.

Allen claimed that when he started suggesting ideas like this people thought he was crazy, but they don’t anymore. He said, “my credibility has gone through the roof. Ten years ago, this just seemed crazy that all this was going to happen: the social unrest and the cultural divide in the country, the race-baiting and the hate-mongering.”

Of course, how will people get to their bunkers? The buyers don’t live next door. Tyler lived in Florida. That is a long way from Kansas. Tyler thought he would have 48 hours to make it to Kansas. Most people he believed, when the crisis came, would head to the bars while he headed towards Kansas. I guess they would be watching from “Sports bars.” Of course, if a nuclear bomb hit American, such driving would be difficult. Did you see the images of the highways around New Orleans when the people there were told to evacuate because of impending Hurricane Katrina? We would not want to be in the line-up. Pretty messy!

As I have said, all of this is driven by fears–in particular fears of the very rich. Osnos does not disagree,

“Why do our dystopian urges emerge at certain moments and not others? Doomsday—as a prophecy, a literary genre, and a business opportunity—is never static; it evolves with our anxieties. The earliest Puritan settlers saw in the awe-inspiring bounty of the American wilderness the prospect of both apocalypse and paradise. When, in May of 1780, sudden darkness settled on New England, farmers perceived it as a cataclysm heralding the return of Christ. (In fact, the darkness was caused by enormous wildfires in Ontario.) D. H. Lawrence diagnosed a specific strain of American dread. “Doom! Doom! Doom!” he wrote in 1923. “Something seems to whisper it in the very dark trees of America.


Do these doomsday fears not tell us something important about the über rich? This is what they are bringing about! They have no one to blame but themselves. Can’t they do better? Their own actions are creating these fears. Their own actions could forestall them.

There must be a better way and its not being brought in by forest fires from Ontario.