By John Klar
Behind anger is fear. For instance, many wealthy people are not greedy — they are terrified of poverty and can never accumulate sufficient wealth to appease that anxiety. Fear and emotions take primacy over logic. George Orwell explained in 1984 how Big Brother employed constant fear to pacify the masses (the “proles”), with vague foreign “threats” that were purely fictitious.
In the Cold War, it was nuclear extinction; in the Iraq War (and still), it was “threat levels.” After 9/11, Americans were cautioned with “threats to the homeland.” Orwell warned not just of Soviet socialism, but of any monolithic government that sought dominance.
Vermont is the national Petri dish for the Orwellian fear-mongers. Visceral quaking by overwrought Vermont “progressives” over firearms was well funded by out-of state interests, and Vermont swiftly shifted from one of the least restrictive Second Amendment havens to one of the most oppressive, employing a “thoughtcrime” that was perfectly timed (post–Sandy Hook) to dupe the electorate: a student was charged with an “attempted” attack on a public school, when there had never been any attempt. Fear trumped logic.
Vermont is one of the most amenable states in the nation to blacks, yet racism and Nazi-fear have been employed by the Vermont attorney general to undermine police efforts to arrest fentanyl-traffickers and to create a panel that labels Vermont a “white supremacist culture” and redrafts Vermont textbooks to inculcate “white guilt” in schoolchildren. Vermont voters embraced Barack Obama more than almost all states, Vermont has the narrowest income disparity between blacks and whites, and Vermont never permitted slavery — but the Legislature has rewritten the state constitution. And “fear” of imagined Kavanaugh-driven changes to Roe v. Wade led to one of the most extremist post-Roe abortion laws in the nation.
The latest fear is the end of the world in 12 years. This is based on a single “study,” though it is impossible to predict such a timeline. Using Greta Thunberg floating over the ocean as a pawn, Vermont’s “climate change warriors” launched a fear campaign, enlisting school-skipping students to block traffic and disrupt businesses, with government support. (The Rule of Law must not be allowed to get in fear’s way.) The state’s elite Middlebury College has also gained attention for concocted fear translated into self-justified hate and violence.
But as the progressive strategists play “Watch the Birdie!” with Orwellian fear distractions, corporations reap huge sums while collaborating with the progressive-dominated Vermont Legislature. These efforts are a cause for real, not imagined fear — and one day, Vermont may erupt in real anger in reaction against virtue-signaling anarchy.
The Vermont pensions for teachers and state workers are among the most underfunded in the nation. The estimated $4.5-billion deficiency is a lie, calculated using accounting gimmicks and absurd forecasts. For every percentage point below the 7.3% “projection” of earnings on invested funds in these pensions, some 600 million additional dollars is suddenly added to that $4.5-billion total. If the national markets dip, Vermont faces a fiscal whirlpool as assets shrink, obligations swell, credit ratings tank, and businesses flounder. No wonder working Vermonters are fleeing the state.
But it is really much worse than all that, if Vermonters were willing to look fear in the eye. In large part because of this rapacious regulatory-corporate fascism, Vermont’s rural schools are being closed, and Vermont suffers high rates of opioid-related deaths. Who will come to the rescue? The pharmaceutical industry, with free opioids for all. (Huxley warned us as well.)
As the progressives foment anxiety in children over uncertain future “climate change,” the corporations make a killing. Cancer rates are increasing not from carbon footprints, but from toxic Monsanto-dependant industrial food trucked 3,500 miles to the East Coast. No worries — “sequestered carbon” in Vermont trees can be sold as esoteric derivatives to polluting California corporations to “offset” their pollution — which will perhaps float onto the Vermont forests. There is no call for personal responsibility, or reduced lawn-mowing, or fewer videogames and flat TVs — the government “solution” is a carbon tax on gasoline, to be refunded to citizens via government bureaucracy as a subsidy for electricity.
This is not random — this is strategy. The people are diverted away from real problems by useless “solutions” that enrich corporate “stakeholders” and government lackeys. Our nation sees this Democrat ploy in the attacks against President Donald J Trump, labeled the bogeyman to avoid policy discussions or financial analysis. Fear just makes thievery so easy. And what could be easier than reducing all issues — opioids response, environmental policy, economic growth — to just one person?
The liberal essayist Thomas Frank has called out the DNC on this repugnant strategy, in his 2016 tome “Listen Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?”:
For [Democrat elites], … there’s nothing dysfunctional or disappointing about Democratic politics; it feels exactly right. And what is rightest and most inspiring about it is the Democrats’ prime directive: to defeat the Republicans, the unthinkable brutish Other. There are no complexities to make this mission morally difficult; to the liberal class, it is simple. The Democratic Party is all that stands between the Oval Office and whomever the radicalized GOP ultimately chooses to nominate for the presidency. Compared to that sacred duty, all other issues fade into insignificance. (pp. 254-255)
But most Vermonters can see through the fear and hate to the real threats — economic implosion, deaths from ubiquitous opioids, the irrevocable loss of vital rural schools. The thing about the fear spiral is that being hateful is pretty scary. As Vermonters peer into the causes of the actual, imminent calamities their home state is confronting, they will discover those responsible for the pensions crisis, regulatory labyrinth, economic failure, closed schools, and anxious addicts — the government that plied their minds and children with false fears, and the callous corporate profiteers who make money regardless of outcome.
Those Green Mountain problems were not caused by the nation’s current president, though focusing contempt toward him has thus far served the Vermont Democrats (and their governor) quite well. Donald J. Trump cannot fix Vermont’s problems. When the 2020 election ends, where will the hate be vented? Vermont’s Democrats appear to believe that fear will trump logic until the cows come home.
The herd is moving.
John Klar is an attorney and farmer residing in Brookfield, and former pastor of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. This commentary originally appeared at American Thinker.