Corrupt officials scarier than death, snakes, terrorists?


Given your choice, what’s your worst fear: homicidal maniacs, venomous snakes or corrupt government officials?

The third annual Survey of American Fears by Chapman University reports that most Americans are afraid of “C,” corrupt government officials, according to a story on the report published by Bloomberg.

After corrupt government officials came terrorist attacks and not having enough money for the future.

Other items which garnered significant fear among Americans included Obamacare (35.5 percent), reptiles (33.2 percent) and being killed by a stranger (21.9 percent).

Curiously, 50 percent more Americans are more afraid of corrupt government officials (60.6 percent) than terrorist attacks (41 percent).

What the above points out is that either those conducting the survey or those taking the survey don’t understand the difference between what it means to be afraid of something and what it means to be concerned about something.

To say one is afraid of corrupt government officials implies that one lives in a third world banana republic where there is constant fear that Stasi-like thugs will kick open doors in the middle of the night and drag away opponents, rather than referring to unscrupulous politicians who misuse public funds.

To be afraid of snakes is a very real fear; to be afraid of corrupt government officials, at least the garden variety ones we breed in the US, is not the same thing.

To state a fear of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, indicates a terror of the government program, rather than worry that it won’t work, will cost taxpayers more money or will bring chaos to the country’s medical-insurance infrastructure. You may not like Obamacare, you may think it unwise politically or economically, but do you fear it in the same way as, say, you fear finding a large, angry scorpion in one of your work boots?

Other issues with the survey:

Nearly 30 percent of Americans are afraid of a devastating tornado, just over 23 percent are afraid of a devastating hurricane, slightly more than 22 percent are afraid of a devastating earthquake or a devastating flood, and 15 percent are afraid of a large volcanic eruption.

If you’re a resident of Phoenix, Az., it’s unlikely that any of those items rank high on your list, while someone in Omaha, Neb., might be worried about tornadoes and flooding, but have little fear of earthquakes, hurricanes or volcanic eruptions, at least if they’re rational.

Hawaiians have reason to worry about volcanos, but with the rare exception of eruptions like that of Mount St. Helens in 1980, the rest of the US is pretty safe from this threat.

In other words, it depends on your location, and even then, is it a “fear” or a “concern?”

Residents of Miami have reason to be concerned over a hurricane, but is it a fear that hangs over their heads like the sword of Damocles? If so, they may want to relocate. Same if you’re a San Franciscan fearful of earthquakes.

Finally, 7.8 percent of Americans are afraid of clowns. Personally, it’s not the clowns I’m concerned with, but the people who dress up as clowns.

19 thoughts on “Corrupt officials scarier than death, snakes, terrorists?

  1. I used to be fearless, but lately I’m afraid of everything. It began when my body started betraying me. It used to be so resilient. Now, status post hypertensive crisis that landed me in the emergency room, as I was quickly going blind, I still don’t know what caused the problem.

    Point is, immediate physical danger is way more frightening than hypothetical or distant situations, but the body reacts in the same way to both. Constant stress or worry (concerns) wears down the physical body over time. Makes me wonder why people are so addicted to bad news and ominous predictions.

    • Indeed, the media fuels are fears because it drives up their ratings. Immediate danger or potential physical harm is far more threatening than something as amorphous as “corrupt government officials.”

      And I hope you’re able to get to feeling better. I can’t imagine going through something like that.

      • The reason it drives up ratings is that people watch this crap. I think my health crisis was precipitated, in part, by my getting over-stressed about things–like politics–that I can’t control or even influence.

        Paranoia seems to rule the world, these days. I’m a “live and let live” kind of person, but like the civilians in Syria, I keep getting caught in the cross-fire.

        Thanks for your concern. I’m getting better, but it’s humbling to take blood pressure meds and be a “patient.”

      • No doubt about it. Where I live now doesn’t have a television, and I don’t miss blathering fools telling me what I should be worried about – not that I paid them much heed to start with.

  2. I was going to comment about the use of the word ‘fear’ but you beat me to it.

    Does one fear for the standard of education if a university is conducting such a misworded survey?

    Years ago on a management course, we were asked to write a list of things we had to do in the morning. Everyone had long lists: get out of bed, shower, toilet, brush hair, brush teeth, make-up (it was a women’s course), breakfast, coffee, read newspaper, walk the dog/take it outside, feed the dog/cat, get the bus/walk/drive to work, blah blah. I think they thought it was a competition to see who could think of the most trivia.

    I recall I had a blank piece of paper. They are all choices. Sure there may be consequences if you don’t do some of them, but they aren’t must-dos.

    Just like one doesn’t fear govt officials. Or Obamacare.

    As a woman, sexual assault/rape/murder have always been high on my list. I think that’s a reasonable use of the word fear.

    • Yes, sexual assault and murder are reasonable fears for women, but at least the first two isn’t going to register as high on this type of survey because it’s much more likely, understandably so, for women to fear being sexually assaulted than men.

      I doubt anyone fears Obamacare like a woman fears being raped.

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