The Shocking Reasons that Americans Are Right to Be More Afraid of Bad Government Policy than Terrorism
Preface: I am not so much anti-government as anti-stupid policy. (Moreover, the problem is not solely “bad government” or “corrupt corporations”. The deeper problem is that the two have become intertwined in a malignant, symbiotic relation.)
Multiple polls show that Americans are more afraid of our own government than of terrorists.
Sure, the government – not Al Qaeda – is taking away virtually all of our Constitutional rights. And that includes reserving to itself the right to assassinate or indefinitely detain American citizens.
But stupid government policy is threatening us in other ways, as well.
You are approximately 9 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist. [UPDATE: make that 55 times more likely.] This is a result of bad policy: the over-the-top militarization of American police forces.
Government policy has also redistributed wealth from the average American to the super- rich. (Indeed, the government and big banks – not Osama – have destroyed free market capitalism in the U.S.)
According to a 2011 CDC report, poisoning from prescription drugs is one of the leading cause of death. Indeed, the CDC stated in 2011 that – in the majority of states – your prescription meds are more likely to kill you than any other source of injury. So your meds are thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al Qaeda.
After drug companies were busted for using fraudulent data for drug approval, the FDA allowed the potentially dangerous drugs to stay on the market.
And when one of the most respected radiologists in America – the former head of the radiology department at Yale University – attempted to blow the whistle on the fact that the FDA had approved a medical device manufactured by General Electric because it put out massive amounts of radiation, the FDA installed spyware to record his private emails and surfing activities (including installing cameras to snap pictures of his screen), and then used the information to smear him and other whistleblowers.
Yet the government is working hand-in-glove with the giant good companies to dish up cheap, unhealthy food.
The government’s response to the outbreak of mad cow disease was simple: it stopped testing for mad cow, and prevented cattle ranchers and meat processors from voluntarily testing their own cows (and see this and this).
In response to new studies showing the substantial dangers of genetically modified foods – they’ve already been tentatively linked to obesity, cancer, liver failure and all sorts of other diseases (brief, must-watch videos here and here – the government passed legislation more or less pushing it onto our plates.
When BP – through criminal negligence – blew out the Deepwater Horizon oil well, the government helped cover it up (and here). As just one example, the government approved the massive use of a highly-toxic dispersant to temporarily hide the oil. The government also changed the testing standards for seafood to pretend that higher levels of toxic PAHs in our food was business-as-usual.
In fact, the government has long covered up environmental risks.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control – the lead agency tasked with addressing disease in America – covered up lead poisoning in children in the Washington, D.C. area.
The Bush administration covered up the health risks to New Orleans residents associated with polluted water from hurricane Katrina, and FEMA covered up the cancer risk from the toxic trailers which it provided to refugees of the hurricane.
And then there’s nuclear power. The American government has:
- Wholly subsidized nuclear power (it would never have been built without 100% backing)
- Covered up the severity of the Fukushima accident, raised acceptable radiation limits and agreed to buy radioactive Japanese seafood
Sadly, radiation from Fukushima and U.S. reactors will kill some Americans. The National Journal reports:
“Look at what’s going on now: They’re dumping huge amounts of radioactivity into the ocean — no one expected that in 2011,” Daniel Hirsch, a nuclear policy lecturer at the University of California-Santa Cruz, told Global Security Newswire. “We could have large numbers of cancer from ingestion of fish.”
Indeed, one doctor claims that Fukushima had already killed 14,000 Americans 9 months after the accident. We doubt her numbers … but it is clear that even low levels of radiation can damage human health. Whatever the number, this was caused by the government … not Al Qaeda.
(The government also created a computer virus which threatens nuclear plants world-wide.)
Bad Government Policy Is Increasing the Risk of Terrorism
Ironically, the government’s actions are so idiotic that they are actually increasing the chance of a terrorist attack.