Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

The Australian Ministry of Utmost Fear

By Lyn Bender - posted Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The recent very public arrests of Muslim type people, alleged to be planning to smuggle a bomb encased in a meat grinder onto a plane, has been foiled by Australia's security teams. Airports were on alert as passengers were encouraged to be thankful for the terror watch forces. Prime Minister Turnbull in sonorous tones - as one speaking to small children declared – "Everyday we are working to keep Australia safe from terror."

"The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself. Nameless unreasoning unjustified terror, which paralyses needed effort"

This is part of the oft-quoted 1933 inaugural speech of President Franklin D Roosevelt.


He was right about nameless unreasoning fear and its immobilizing impact.

The fight, flight or freeze mechanism, is a survival instinct for visible immediate threat. It is far less useful for non-immediate threats. In fight or flight, our thinking narrows to a primitive reactive mode. It is an early evolutionary instinct. Heart rate rises, blood pressure increases and digestion is suspended.

Higher cognitive functioning is disrupted. There is no time to ponder ambivalence or consider a range of possibilities.

Authoritarian leaders have historically used fear to make their people submissive by:

  • Manufacturing or inflating threat.
  • Arousing fear and terror regarding this threat.
  • Claiming their leadership as a saviour in the face of this threat.
  • Increasing powers regarding command surveillance.
  • Waiving accountability

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.


Who said that? Oh it was Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Examples of fear mongering that have been used politically, historically and currently include:

Fear of:

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

16 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Lyn Bender is a psychologist in private practice. She is a former manager of Lifeline Melbourne and is working on her first novel.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Lyn Bender

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Lyn Bender
Article Tools
Comment 16 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy