Fear Of Terrorists Influences Parents – Study

Here is further evidence of how people become socially conservative when in a social situation that causes fear and stress. I’ve brought this up before because it explains why social conservatives have motivation to fear-monger.


As the researchers concede, these experiments aren’t proof that thoughts of terrorism have a uniquely negative effect on parenting. Exposure to images of an attack might simply have increased the parents’ stress level, “which could then translate into harsher and more controlling social interactions with their children.”

But they note previous research has found a link between terror threats and authoritarian political beliefs. The notion that this mindset could slop over into domestic decision-making seems entirely plausible.

Either way, it’s one more example of how fear can inspire behavior one may later regret. So in turbulent times, perhaps it’s wise to avoid reading the newspaper before heading to the nursery. It’s never a beautiful day in Mr. bin Laden’s Neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean you and your children need to live there.

12 thoughts on “Fear Of Terrorists Influences Parents – Study

  1. Have you been following the news about Obama:

    It’s a lengthy read, but I highly recommend it if you have the time.

    Anyways, see the following too:


    To it’s credit, here in Canada, Macleans, a right-wing magazine actually defended Hersh:

    Contrast this with what the American media has been saying.

    Anyways, Hersh is best known for breaking the world the My Lai massacre and the MH-CHAOS CIA spying.

    • I’m aware of it, but I haven’t been closely following it. At this point, I just assume my government is lying to me and that the MSM is a lapdog to the rich and powerful, until proven otherwise. That is the more intelligent and wise assumption to make, as history has proven.

  2. Interestingly enough, if you Google “Seymour Hersh”, then the overwhelming majority of links are filled with claims that his story is false.

    I suspect the mainstream media is lying in this one.

    • The MSM has a long track record of getting major news stories wrong. Or else spinning them so that the truth becomes unrecognizable. It isn’t just that those in the MSM are lying, although that does happen. What is worse is that the gatekeepers are probably also lying to themselves.

      They want to believe what they are told, because it is simpler to do so. To begin doubting what the rich and powerful say would demand more than just quality journalism. It would also require deep soul searching about our entire society. That is a scary prospect, to not just question the official story but also the cultural narrative and the status quo that is built upon it.

  3. I suspect so.

    Most people in most societies do not want to think, but to be told what to think.

    I think though that American society may be worse in this regard, because people are so blind to it. I have noticed for example that when I criticize my own nation, most Canadians if it’s a reasonable criticism might nod – they may disagree with me, but it will be on what I said.

    By contrast there seems to be a mentality in the US of any criticism being bad – a culture that dislikes dissent. I have met more reasonable Americans – both in person and online (yourself included), but the proportion of those who cannot tolerate criticism is far worse.

    • I suspect the American dislike of criticism is sort of situational. I don’t think it is necessarily and centrally cultural or otherwise fundamental to American society. Rather, I think it is one of the side effects of being the global superpower.

      The US media-corporate-government complex runs the most powerful propaganda machine in the world. And most of that propaganda is directed at the American people. It’s not just powerful but also subtle where those who promote the propaganda also to varying degrees believe in it or want to believe in it. As for the rest of the population, it’s just easier to go along to get along.

      Being the world’s dominant global superpower is a precarious situation. I think most Americans are aware of this. Americans don’t want to think too much about this because it scares them to consider what will happen when we lose this position in the global hierarchy. Americans are genuinely afraid (and for good reason) that others might treat us as we have treated them (the same basic reason American whites fear the emerging minority-majority).

      To seriously question the official story is to pull at a thread of power and of the status quo. It’s more than plausible that if too many people pulled on the threads holding America’s power together the whole thing might unravel. If suddenly many truths about the US government and others in power (corporate, etc) were to become public, it would be a serious existential threat to the entire system. It would give internal activists and foreign governments the moral legitimacy to question the US and hence resist or even challenge US policies. Suddenly, the US govenrment would be constrained in its ability to act, especially in relation to allies and former allies.

      No one has to tell journalists to follow the official line. It’s just human nature to understand which side one’s bread is buttered on and to act accordingly. This isn’t only about the US government being embarrassed on the international stage. The consequences could truly be dire. The Cold War first and foremost was a propaganda war, and that war is still going on. It’s not just about who controls the world but also who controls the perception of reality. Those who work within the system, whether within the government or big biz, like the system they are a part of along the perception of reality and the social order it entails.

      If the US loses its social position in the global hierarchy, then everyone within the US system of power also loses their social position or at least it becomes greatly reduced. People will do almost anything to defend their sense of social identity. Lying is the least that they will do. People have been known to kill and die for less. To challenge someone’s identity is to challenge everything they know and believe. Few people allow others to destroy their entire sense of reality without a fight.

      Reality tunnels are the most powerful thing in the world. That is precisely what makes propaganda so powerful, for it is the art and science of controlling reality tunnels and those who inhabit them. Most people don’t appreciate this.

  4. I suppose so. So in other words, it is basically a “superpower racket” for those in positions of power. Their personal wealth I suppose depends on them keeping up appearances.

    On the other hand, to question it might even further strengthen that power. The reason why I think that is because the US might if it looked inward recognize the very real need to address the problems of poverty, set up a more affordable healthcare system, invest in education, infrastructure, and real national priorities. That might entrench the US even more.

    • I think you are right that it could fruther strengthen power to do as you say. But your reasons aren’t the kind of reasons that occur to those in control of or otherwise a part of the system.

      If most people were more rational than not, they would do all those things in order to strengthen the system. I’m just not sure that is the real point of it all.

      When people believe in something as real, they have no incentive to question it for that cuts to the heart of what they believe in. They aren’t defending the system as much as they are defending their belief in the system, even if that seems self-destructive from an outside perspective.

      To think rationally would require them to stand outside of the system to see it objectively. That is the one thing they can never do, unless external conditions force it upon them.

    • Most people seem to have a simplistic and unsophisticated understanding of human nature and social systems.

      My dad is a smart guy, but he has a hard time grasping such things. When I tell him things like what I write here, he either assumes I’m talking about a conspiracy theory or some other fully conscious intentional action of individuals. A psychological and sociological perspective eludes him. Most people never learn of the theories and research about basic social science explanations as dissociation, splitting, smart idiot effect, etc. These insights seem counter-intuitive, until you’ve studied them deeply and seen how they work, both individually and systemicallly.

      I’m not entirely sure why it is so hard for people, such as my dad, to realize how hard it is to challenge something that one is a part of. At least some of these understandings should be common sense. Whatever the difficulty, it’s not stupidity. I must assume iit’s a defense mechanism. Most people are part of the status quo, to varying degrees, one way or another. As such, almost all of us have a vested interest in the system, and it takes a lot to get someone to challenge their own vested interest.

      My dad isn’t rich and powerful, but there is no doubt that he is heavily invested in the system and it has treated him well. If he wanted to understand why people don’t question the system they are a part of, all he would have to do is look at his own behavior. He is more self-aware and more willing to question than most people, but he is ultimately unwilling to take a hard look at the worst problems of our society, especially when it touches upon cherished beliefs.

      It’s taken my dad 80 years to get to this point of questioning deeply at all. It required him to retire to gain a bit of perspective from a somewhat more outside standpoint. Even so, he continues to associate and socialize with people who are fully insiders of the status quo. Those are the people he identifies with. If not for his strong moral sensibility, he wouldn’t even question as much as he does.

      To my dad, my speculations can’t be real. Because if he acknowledged they might be real, he’d have to question not only the system but question his own reasons for not previously questioning. His self-justification is tied to not going too far. He’ll walk up to the ledge of doubting the system, but he won’t willingly go over to see what is on the other side.

      For certain, you’ll never see him in the street challenging the vast corruption and injustices. He senses there is a lot wrong with our society, but it mostly doesn’t effect him personally. It’s not his problem and he won’t accept responsibility, even in the brief moments when it occurs to him to give it serious thought. There is no urgency. His questioning is just words. It might as well be about the problems of the Roman Empire for all that it matters to his personal life. He knows that he’ll likely be dead and gone before the pied piper comes for his due.

      I suspect many people think that way. They just hope there can be a long enough delay before the shit hits the fan. Only the youngest generations have strong motivation to face the hard facts and try to do something about it. There is nothing like the real threat of potentially horrific results to motivate people. But without that motivation, it all seems like intangible speculations.

  5. Nations reap what they sow. In this case, the US as well.

    I think I understand what must have happened in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s – so few questioned and just went with the status quo, trying to protect themselves.

    • I think it’s fundamentally the same in all societies. Even in the most well functioning societies, people rarely think about and question the status quo. It’s the default position for humans to go along to get along, unless something thwarts that and causes them to start doubting.

      Whether a society is worthy or not probably has little to do with how capable people are of thinking rationally and objectively. That creates a difficult challennge then for present society, especially the US but also globally. How do we get from where we are to a better way of life?

  6. I don’t think that history will be very kind to the Silent and Baby Boom generation at all because of this.

    I suspect that there are a great many like your father – many probably even more indifferent.

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