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The Antidote To Fear February 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.

“The whole aim of practical politics,” H.L. Mencken wrote almost a century ago,” is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

Never has that adage been truer than now.

No President Has Spread Fear Like Donald Trump

* In politics, absurdity is not a handicap. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

* It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office. ~ H.L. Mencken

There are three kinds of lies:  lies, damn lies, and statistics. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

* Everything you read in the paper is absolutely true . . . except for the rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. ~ Erwin Knoll

Donald-Duck-LazyWhat happens when we get caught up in F.E.A.R.?

F.E.A.R. (“False Evidence Appearing Real”) can be a real downer when our mood is precarious.  We don’t always have the necessary strength of will to shout out loud, “THAT’S NOT TRUE!”

Want to drown out F.E.A.R.?

Donald-Duck-DivingClick your heels together and repeat after Mencken:   Hogwash & Hobgoblins!

Better yet, wave your Potter-riffic wand at Trump’s Twitter Feed while incanting:  Expel-liar-mus!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related: Mantra for Today ~ Trust



1. Jill Weatherholt - February 11, 2017

I turn off the news. 🙂

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

I don’t follow Trump on televised news or Twitter . . . but I have recently subscribed to TIME and MONEY newsletters.

Trump is such a F.E.A.R.monger.

2. Kate Crimmins - February 11, 2017

Don’t follow the tweets at all. Too inane. Seriously, way too inane. Although your post is humorous there’s a lot of truth here.

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

Thanks, Kate.

In many situations, humor is THE antidote to F.E.A.R. ~> e.g., watching SNL skits portraying the inane antics of Trump and Bannon and Spicer is reassuring.

As was the 9th Circuit’s refusal to reinstate Trump’s travel ban.

Kate Crimmins - February 11, 2017

Love, love, love Alex Baldwin

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

He is the perfect foil for Trump’s foibles.

3. Rainee - February 11, 2017

I agree with your sentiments Nancy.

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

Trump uses F.E.A.R. to encourage us to rally behind him while he protects us from the “very bad people” who want to do “very bad things” ~ but when we ignore his F.E.A.R.mongering, we see that HE is a very bad person who wants to do very bad things.

Rainee - February 11, 2017

Trump gets lots of coverage in our papers and conversations. Hopefully the majority of people will see things as you have written. I try to see the long view in that we have had bad world leaders before and they come and go and life continues …

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

Agreed. “This too shall pass.” 😀

4. Ally Bean - February 11, 2017

Hogwash & Hobgoblins! Perfect mantra. Thanks.

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

Here’s to banishing imaginary Hobgoblins!

5. Behind the Story - February 11, 2017

I hadn’t heard the Napoleon quote. Many of us have been surprised at the truth of it (that absurdity is no handicap in politics).

The only quote I have a quibble with is Disraeli’s. Statistics misinterpreted or misapplied are the main problem, not statistics per se. With regard to fear mongering, we could benefit by paying attention to a few statistics. Someone could make a list of probably hundreds of thousands of things that are more dangerous to our health and well-being than Islamic terrorists. But marketers of fear have chosen this one, dramatic danger to work us into a frenzy of fear. We may be sorry if enough of us fall for their scam.

I’m not familiar with Harry Potter incantations, but I would like to expel the liar in chief.

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

7 out of 10 people agree with you about the Disraeli quote. 😀

You are right. It’s not statistics that’s the problem . . . it’s people who manipulate statistics in untenable ways.

6. colonialist - February 11, 2017

The only thing we have to fear is … fear itself. FDR.
Oh mother dear I greatly fear our mittens we have lost. Not FDR. Here, the kittens won’t get pie unless they overcome fear and find the mittens.
I keep expecting spontaneous combustion from the trousers of certain leaders.

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

We’re hoping to see that skit on Saturday Night Live!

7. Debra - February 11, 2017

I sometimes think I should “look away” and I simply can’t. I’m fascinated with the psychology of all that is going on. But what I am NOT, is fearful. I am heartened by the invigoration of the idea that we as citizens do have a voice. That–and SNL! I think he’s going to go up in a poof of smoke…you know, “Liar Liar Pants on Fire!”

nrhatch - February 11, 2017

Ha! “Liar Liar Pants on Fire” would be a GREAT SNL skit, Debra!

And don’t stare into the Death Star too long before you look away.

8. theburghalhidage - February 12, 2017

Mencken was indeed an astute observer of the human condition. His characterization is entirely accurate and although it may apply to Trump in many respects it does not apply to Trump exclusively. Fear ( the actual phenomenon, not your acronym) is a tool wielded by anyone in the field of politics. You may assign this to Trump; it is surely your right to do so. If you are an honest person you can not apply this to Trump and turn a blind eye to the countless examples of the same from the opposition. I have two more quotes for you from the equally brilliant George Orwell:

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

nrhatch - February 12, 2017

I agree with you. Confirmation bias contributes to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs even in the face of contrary evidence.

Poor decisions due to these biases have been found in political, organizational, and religious contexts.

That said, I never said that Mencken’s quote applied exclusively to Trump. I just quoted from and linked to an article entitled:

“No President Has Spread Fear Like Donald Trump”

9. livelytwist - February 13, 2017

Hmmm Erwin Knoll knew what he was talking about with that quote.

nrhatch - February 15, 2017

Yes. And not just papers. Also books, movies, magazines, and (gasp) blogs.

10. Bun Karyudo - February 15, 2017

It seems to be that if you terrify people by playing on their fears, you can then tell any old lie and be believed.

nrhatch - February 15, 2017

Yes . . . perhaps the adrenaline rush causes a rush to judgment, increasing the risk of reaching the wrong conclusion.

Bun Karyudo - February 15, 2017

I think it might.

11. whitecrowponders - February 15, 2017

I always thought Mencken was like a modern day Confucius because it seemed that so many things he said came out like bubbles of quotes. One of Confucian principles was to quote others (which is why he wrote the odes) so that one referred to a third party and hence didn’t come across as confrontational. The objective was to have more civil discourse. Note how frequently we all do this – because sometimes it is better accepted if we use the words of another to lend authenticity to our perspective.

nrhatch - February 15, 2017

Good points. I enjoy sharing quotes . . . especially if they are pithy, witty, or thought-provoking.

12. Tiny - February 16, 2017

Amen. The wand it is 🙂

nrhatch - February 16, 2017

It’s a comedy of errors!

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