“I hate to say this, but this place is getting to me. I think I’m getting the Fear.” Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
First it was Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. We had to invade Iraq. Never mind that the United States had a no fly zone over the country and had practically destroyed the Republican Guard; that Iraq had no effective way to deliver such weapons or that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the State Department didn’t think such weapons even existed.
Then in 2008 the Washington fear machine was at work again. The White House, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department were screaming that the world was falling into another Great Depression.
The latest End of Days is a prophecy from Hillary Clinton. At the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington last week, the U.S. Secretary of State said that terrorists like al-Qaida pose a nuclear threat. It is all part of the Obama administration’s plan to convince the American people that al-Qaida is going nuclear.
According to journalist Emily Gertz, “Fear of the terrorist has been used for the past several years to induce Americans to accept an increasingly authoritarian government and the dilution of our civil liberties.”
It is not just the fear of terrorists that President Obama and his Liberal elite are using to expand their sphere of influence. It is FEAR of everything: the jobs we might lose, the food we eat; even the water we drink and the air we breathe.
In his essay, The Politics of Fear, Alex Gourevitch writes that fear mongering is part and parcel of the environmental movement. “Environmentalism is a left-wing politics of fear because it rests on the deeply fearful idea that only an overweening threat to our physical and collective health… Threats to the very conditions of life, rather than social controversies over power and distribution, come to motivate political engagement—an engagement that presumes setting to one side inequality and unfreedom (sic) as the central categories of political contestation.”
A Gentler Time
America has vastly changed from when FDR proclaimed: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
No doubt The Age of Fear began with 9/11. Before, Washington did its best to keep a lid on anxieties. The Crash of ’87 is an example.
I was driving to work and the radio announcer said: “The Dow Industrials are currently down 325 points.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I thought. The Dow couldn’t be down that much. Either the announcer was stupid or he was playing a prank.
But it was true. The stock market was plunging. It was Black Monday and the Dow plummeted 508 points, or 23 percent, to 1,739. Half a trillion dollars in wealth had just been erased. Over the next few days the world witnessed the Dow’s fall from over 2,600 to 1,700.
What I remember most about the Crash of ’87 was the Federal government’s response to it. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan not only provided liquidity for the banks but urged calm and told the world that America’s economy was “fundamentally sound”. It was a message reiterated by House Speaker Jim Wright, President Ronald Reagan and U.S. Treasury Secretary James Baker. It was our Federal government doing its damndest to reduce panic; to stabilize a dangerous situation.
The stock market crash of ’08 brought an entirely different response from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, as explained by Andrew Ross Sorkin in his bestseller, Too Big To Fail. According to Sorkin, the leadership of the Fed and Treasury opted for a novel strategy to get Congress to ante up half a trillion dollars to bail out Wall Street—fear.
“This is only going to work if you scare the sh** out of them.”
That had been Jim Wilkinson’s advice for Paulson before he and Bernanke left to meet with the congressional leadership at Nancy Pelosi’s office that evening. By Wilkinson’s reckoning, unless they could convince Congress that the world was literally going to come to an end, they would never receive approval for a $500 billion bailout package for Wall Street.
History’s Lessons About Fanning Fears
Washington had struck on something that tyrants have known for centuries—that fanning fear makes a populace compliant to just about anything.
A few years before the Wall Street bailout House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned of impending danger out of Iraq: “Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology.”
Then in the autumn of 2008 Pelosi did a flip-flop; first opposing and then embracing what had become a $700 billion bailout of the financial markets. In the end Pelosi and two presidents argued that without the taxpayer bailout our entire financial system faced collapse.
No doubt Pelosi will stand shoulder to shoulder with Secretary Clinton on the latest great fear, nuke toting mullahs. The real question is what is Pelosi and the Obama administration really selling? The answer is submission—the handing over of our liberty—in the name of national defense, the economy and the environment.
Of course pedaling fear is nothing new. Ancients like Alexander did it. So too has the Catholic Church, Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. The difference is that America’s leaders once allayed our fears. Today they incite them. FDR was wrong, what we really need to fear is the fear-makers themselves.
Washington’s New Strategy Will Send Gold Soaring
America’s leaders might not be less moral than those before them (I will let you decide). What has changed is that Washington once had a vested interest in quieting fear. It was how government supported the once mighty U.S. dollar.
What is painfully evident is that over the past decade the Federal government has been intent on getting its way, the dollar be damned. And it certainly has been. The U.S. dollar index, a measurement against a basket of other currencies, has fallen by one third. During the same period the price of gold has risen fourfold.
Action To Take: Expect Washington to fan fears on everything from the environment to the economy, even at the expense of the dollar. That means you should diversify out of most dollar instruments and buy physical precious metals. I urge you to store 1-ounce gold and silver Eagles and 1-ounce platinum rounds for your safekeeping.
Yours for real wealth and good health,
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report