Nothing to Fear but Fear of Fear Itself

It’s in the nature of government to want to clamp down on information. You see it clearest in totalitarian systems. And in New York City.

The city’s deputy commissioner of counter-terrorism wants to clamp down the private ownership of devices that measure toxins. You know, like anthrax, asbestos, ragweed.

The mayor is all behind him. They have put forward a bill to license such devices.

Why? According to the Village Voice, after 9/11, lots of people bought toxin detectors. And “a lot of these machines didn’t work right, and when they registered false alarms, the police had to spend millions of dollars chasing bad leads and throwing the public into a state of raw panic.”

Scared now?

But the Village Voice went on to take it back as jest: “OK, none of that has actually happened.” That’s just what the regulators think might happen. The Voice was just having fun with its readers.

The scare scenario is just that, a cooked-up scenario.

At a public meeting it was noted that, soon after the catastrophe of 9/11, when the EPA said the air around Ground Zero was safe, it was privately held detectors that proved the EPA wrong. The commissioner did a little hemming and hawing. But when asked if the city really had to put unlicensed detector users in jail, this bozo said yes.

Remember folks: Fear is the great weapon of totalitarians. We have nothing to fear but fear of fear itself.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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