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Freedom and the politics of fear.

(After Martha C. Nussbaum’s Jefferson lecture)

“Anyone who trades liberty for security

deserves neither liberty nor security."

(Benjamin Franklin)

At the present time, people have the ability to do good or bad throughout their life,

being responsible for their actions and considering acting in their own way no matter what

other people think, but to act at their own discretion and without taking into account other

people. But this definition is confused with debauchery, which is to want to live in an

excessive way, acting without thinking about the damage that can be caused to other people

and its consequences.

On the other hand, there is fear, an emotion of terror or panic of doing something. But

also a passive emotion, because when the people afraid, they retire from situations that

believe they may affect them, leading them to feel helpless.

Then freedom dissolves into fear and causes a clash among mental patterns producing

anger. This can be presented by facts that seem unfair, which generate a desire for

retribution for the damage caused, that is to say that a punishment that changes or dim the

feeling of pain itself, for the satisfaction of pain that the angry person who unleashes the

anger can feel. Perhaps the sense of helplessness can cause an immediate response that

leads to decisions and actions without any fear; in other words, anger can reduce fear and

this leads to freedom, without taking into account the consequences of actions.

From the natural state of man, he has sought the way to live in his own society,

seeking his well-being, and therefore happiness; So he had to lose some of his freedom and

give it to the leader of his social group, this in turn created rules that in certain cases did not

favor the entire conglomerate, even attacking their own freedoms. As Martha C.

Nussbaum's mentions, “Instinctual self-love makes us value our own survival and comfort."

This savage society, incapable of having a form of morality based on duties and

rights with equality for all, provokeds a psychic-corporal disorder of actions that harmed

society itself; unleashing resentment towards injustice, encouraging the wrath of those who
were victimized by the cruel actions and abuses of their leaders. As Martha C. Nussbaum's

mentions, "(...) the people we blame ought to suffer for what they have done. "

However, at present, in order to create confidence, politicians have always played

with fear: they have their instruments which are renewed more and more, according to the

most important levers (war, economic crisis, etc.). As Martha C. Nussbaum's puts it, “If we

were not helpless, we would just go get what we need. But since we are initially helpless,

we have to rely on others."

At the same time, politicians only respond to citizens security demands. In fact, the

state is the guarantor of the fundamental rights of all human beings. In the end, a frightened

citizen is an ally of a false democracy. But a citizen who can pretend to think and act with

wisdom and not with violence gets rid of those fears. At least, dominates them with the

right approach and takes the necessary reins to protest and encourage justice and, therefore,

freedom. As Martha C. Nussbaum “Protest and blame are positive, in a sense: they

construct an orderly purposive world in which I am an agent, making demands”. As in

country, Colombia, violence in society is fascinating and terrifying. To protect themselves,

some will see nothing better than a security policy assumed by the state.
Do we enjoy freedom only when we are about to lose it? everything is happening

today as if our democratic societies had become incapable of understanding the importance

of a certain number of values outside the moment when a great crisis is about to deprive

people from freedom. The attack on the Santander Military School sets a good example.

After the initial trauma, the weeks that followed had something remarkable: Colombians

lived a great moment of solidarity with the victims.

At the same time, this first awareness was accompanied by a more bitter realization:

was it really a massacre for people to experience an impetus of solidarity around values that

should be natural for all?

This sacred union soon came to an end: television continues to broadcast oppressive

news and the government quickly introduced widespread surveillance measures. As Martha

C. Nussbaum mentions, "(...) the angry person doesn’t need to wish to take revenge herself.

She may simply want the law to punish the wrongdoer; or even some type of divine justice"

Fear must be considered as a social evil, which finds its true cause in the fact that

society as a whole is unhappy and finds itself in the grip of a slightly veiled frustration.
While it is true that modern democracies depend on public opinion, it is also true that, in

large part, this is dictated by fear.

In conclusion, politicians have always known that fear is the best way to convince

people to provide full support to the Government; and either to distract the public or justify

their actions and decisions, politicians can always count on a real or announced dramatic

event. Justice in different countries apply the law of retaliation: "An eye for an eye; tooth

for tooth "As said Martha C. Nussbaum when quoting Gandhi:" An eye for an eye "in order

to avoid the damage caused.

But people accept almost everything that is imposed on them gradually, including the

loss of their freedom. In this way, the politics of fear fulfill their role, to pass over the rights

of the people to make their own decisions, based on the manipulation of the people,

implying the fear to have the power that in all the instances becomes malicious and toxic to


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