About the mystery missile launch (America the fearful, chapter XX)

Summary:  There is a major threat to America, one that our military cannot defend against: our cowardice.   We have become America the fearful, which clouds our thinking and emboldens our enemies. Today’s mystery missile madness provides yet another in a long line of examples. But there are easy means at hand to regain our courage.

The video of a mystery missile that has many Americans wetting their pants in fear, again. From KCBS in Los Angeles:

The media has, as usual, immediately given way to ignorant hysteria (update: see this article for examples). Worse yet are the comments on the news websites, disturbing indicators of weakness.  From the first dozen or so comments to the article at the New York Post website:

  • “Missile launch 35 miles from Los Angeles and The Pentagon has ‘no clue”. Well a lot hasn’t changed since 9-11. What am I paying taxes for?”  (Elwood 22)
  • “N Korean Submarine, Chinese Orders.”  (Comment by Archon)
  •  “This was a Test. The next one is heading into San Francisco, directly into that ‘Big Empty Space Between Nancy Pelosi’s Ears.'”  (Comment by Scooby)
  • “I thought rogue to be a nicer way of saying, dastardly terrorist bastards.”  (Comment by Bendor)
  • “We have got to get the Idiot-in-Chief out! This is unbelievable that our gov’t knows nothing!!! We may have to force him out in order to save our country.”  (Comment by dianeremarx)
  • “Somehow a missile can be launched off the coast of California and 12 hours later the government can’t come up with an explanation? That’s comforting! I don’t know what’s more terrifying the GOVT response or the MISSILE.”  (Comment by mxfnz)

These suggest a frightened weak people, their illusion of invulnerability and omnipotence slowly cracking.  It’s a serious weakness for America, since panic and fear are contagious.  Someone with a bomb in his shoe, someone sending a few bombs in printer cartridges — no matter how small the threat, each provokes extreme reactions.  Large expenditures of funds, inconvenience to millions of people, loss of civil rights.  On a larger scale, pointless foreign wars (WMD in Iraq!), torture of prisoners, and now Presidential orders to assassinate US citizens.  Too often we’re no longer the land of the free and home of the brave.

It’s hardly the behavior of a confident superpower.  This behavior can only embolden our enemies, as they sense our weak heart and minds.  It also makes a sad contrast with our strong but sober response to the anarchists (1870’s-1920’s) and the leftist radicals of the 1960’s – 1970’s.

Fortunately a remedy lies within our grasp, using the simple tools of collective action.  Today people expressing their fears, even cowardice, do so with enthusiasm.  Social disapproval — shaming them — could change this.  Cowardice is a fact of life, but nothing to be proud of.  We can treat them like we do the incontinent.  We can ignore and pity their displays of weakness.  We can encourage them to buck up, to get a grip on themselves.

Sites that traffic in fear-mongering (like Zero Hedge) should be reviled, least they profit from their anti-social behavior.

“Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful — horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember…”
— An insight from The ScrewTape Letters, by C. S. Lewis (1959)

About the news media

Most of our fears are in fact grossly exaggerated, only pin-pricks to a large wealthy nation.  Many of these threats are imaginary.  The media usually fans the flames, only slowly (and too late) bothering to check these stories — one reason they’ve lost so much credibility (a reason for their ill fortunes Clay Shirkley seldom mentions).   QE2, hyperinflation, climate armageddon, Obama the socialist, AIDS, alar on apples, jihadists,  — its a constant drumroll of doom, as explained by Peter Moore in “The Crisis Crisis” (Playboy, March 1987). 

Like this mystery missile.  A little research would have shown this to be no mystery.

  • Contrail Science quickly explained that this was a contrail from a jet, like the almost identical incident in January.  Details, mathematics, and photos.  Smart Planet rapidly linked to them.
  • The New Scientist and The Examiner rapidly gave brief explanations.
  • Eventually the big but slow news media found the correct story.


For more information

About the American spirit, the American soul:

  1. America’s Most Dangerous Enemy, 1 March 2006
  2. The American spirit speaks: “Baa, Baa, Baa”, 5 August 2008
  3. We’re Americans, hear us yell: “baa, baa, baa”, 6 August 2008
  4. About security theater, a daily demonstration that Americans are sheep, 25 January 2009
  5. Sources of inspiration for America’s renewal, 23 April 2009 – The Law of Equivalent Exchange
  6. A famous guest speaker visits the FM site to tell us that we are not weak — we are strong, 8 June 2008 — Patrick Henry
  7. A great artist died today. We can gain inspiration from his words., 26 June 2009 — Michael Jackson
  8. It’s a national emergency, so an opportunity to watch much of America get hysterical, 27 May 2010
  9. Pain and misery builds discipline!, October 2010

About the mainstream media:

  1. The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
  2. We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009 
  3. Are we blind, or just incurious about important news?, 6 July 2009
  4. We know nothing because we read newspapers, 12 October 2009
  5. Clay Shirky is brilliant and American – hence often delusionally flattering, 24 November 2009
  6. Journalists, relying on anonymous government sources, attack anonymous bloggers who correct journalists’ errors, 25 July 2010

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