Fright in perspective

A tip for survival in 21st Century America: When someone on television warns of grave threats to human welfare from the environmental consequences of some regular activity, change channels. When someone approaches in person with a similar message, turn and run. These people want to frighten you, and fright is bad for the heart. Fright is the go-to tool of environmental activism. When pressure groups want to stifle something—oil well drilling, pipeline construction, whatever—they first arouse fear about the activity among local populations. Then they besiege public officials with their coalition of the frightened. The officials usually relent. Fright helps pressure groups achieve their goa...

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