“Jumping at Shadows” is Sacramento-based journalist Sasha Abramsky’s polemic against what he calls America’s most dangerous epidemic: irrational fear. Abramsky portrays a political and cultural landscape that is, increasingly, defined by its worst fears and anxieties. And he examines how miscalculating risk impacts life, everything from the medicines we take to how we parent. Abramsky joins us to discuss his book and the political implications of fear.

Guests:
Sasha Abramsky,
author, “Jumping at Shadows:The Triumph of Fear and the End of the American Dream”

Mentioned on Air:
We Need Just One Republican to Break the Spell Trump has Cast on GOP Voters (Sasha Abramsky’s Op-Ed in the Sacramento Bee)

Sasha Abramsky: Fear is America’s Most Dangerous Epidemic 14 November,2017Michael Krasny

  • geraldfnord

    Simply put, a system which makes lack of success the precursor to a ‘deserved’ hunger, thirst, illness, exposure, and increased danger of crime—is extremely good for success’ gate-keepers.

    To paraphrase John Cale, ‘Fear is The Man’s best friend.’.

  • EIDALM

    Great subject, the summery is if you could scare people a lot, even from none existing phantom enemies, and act like you are their saver, then you can exploit them to do anything you want, that is what happen with the bogus war on terror, which was created by the elites, ruling class, to use fear against the American people to steal their assets, and civil liberties…..Please watch on line the BBC 3 hours video by Adam Curtis, The Power of Nightmare,it very explain how the Neoconservatives, used fear and bogus war on terror to have the American people accept and follow their agenda of regime change and perpetual wars in the Middle East starting by their cohort war criminal GW Bush genocidal invasion of Iraq, based on lies as well as using fear to t spying on all Americans, and the curtailment of their civil liberties…..

    • Noelle

      Yes, Adam Curtis’ work is really eye-opening.

    • IsernHinnerk

      It is not just the Neoconservatives, fear is used by others to get Americans to give up their civil liberties such as the 2nd Amendment.

      • De Blo

        No one has in any way opposed the 2nd Amendment. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear some form of arms, but it does not guarantee the right to buy any number of weapons of any type without a background check. No one opposes the second amendment, just basic regulations on gun purchasing, ownership, and usage that in now way conflict with the right to bear arms.

        • Curious

          “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

          what part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand?

          • William – SF

            A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

            The military and police serve the purpose of securing all States. There is no necessity for people to bear arms.

          • Curious

            It was a protective measure against a tyrannical government.

          • William – SF

            Yes, as or like the British government of the time. The military is more than sufficient at the task today. The country has outgrown its usefulness.

          • Curious

            The military is under the control of the government.

          • William – SF

            Yup. And if your point is that if the government with collusion of the military were to choose to not defend its people and the constitution, then none of us regardless of weaponry would have a chance – we are literally out gunned. That’s a lot of people, of both political parties, making an extraordinary compromise. Unlikely.

          • Jane Hamber

            Here are the words of the 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” At the time of this was written, the US had no effective standing army or police forces.” The arms were to be used to defend against insurrections or attacks on communities by native Americans or by foreign powers. Why would you assume that the founding fathers wanted every American to own numerous weapons with thousands of rounds of ammo including semi-automatic rifles in a time when there is no need a militia and where Americans account for 82 percent of all gun deaths among 23 high-income countries and more Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 than in all U.S. wars (1.51 million vs 1.4 million).

          • Curious

            You are misinformed.

  • Noelle

    This is what I’ve been thinking about a lot. did people used to say “have a safe holiday” 50 years ago? I partially blame local TV news, making crime a big part of their broadcasts, thus making crime seem worse than it is. Then all the coverage about kids being kidnapped, killed, abused etc which has made parents so worried that kids are no longer allowed to play on their own, instead they have playdates, everything is planned out for them by adults. And since 9/11 we have as a nation become really afraid of terrorism,foreigners,immigrants,angry black people…need I go on?

    • marte48

      “If it bleeds, it leads.”

  • marte48

    Fear of job loss and homelessness is not imaginary.

    • Noelle

      Yes, and how we react and deal with the reality of that is what is important.

  • geraldfnord

    On the other hand, excessive fear may be in part due to there being more of us with more to lose, and given how many people there are in the States, even low-probability events happen regularly to someone.

  • EIDALM

    On page 52 of the Neocons, perpetual wars and regime change agenda, in the year 1998 The Project For New American Century, they wrote that in order to have Americans follows our war plan, WE NEED A NEW PERLE HARBOR, less than 3 years later we had 911 incident, was that just coincident, I think not, there were never real investigation of who was behind the 911 indecent to use fear…….Don’t forget the laughable security plans by their man Michael Chertoff, comedy of yellow, orange, and red alerts, and others…….Well they succeeded and got their way and enforced their agenda of perpetual wars and the highway robbery of Americans of their assets and civil liberties.

  • Noelle

    Politicians are using our innate fear of fear to their own lust for power. And DJT appeals to the subrational in us all.

  • Ben Rawner

    What are some ways to transcend this fear?

    • Noelle

      Embrace rationality? Limit watching TV news?

  • EIDALM

    Why is it whenever Donald Trump under extreme scrutiny, the bloody terrorists commit an act of terror. again it was fear which was created by the Neoconservative and the actions of terrorists played big role in the ascend of Donald Trump to the office of the presidency after all.

    • Curious

      Islamic terror must be defeated.

  • Charles Kritzon

    A favorite quote that seems, sadly all to relevant today, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” -Voltaire, philosopher

  • G Whiz

    The original Twilight Zone had it right with Monsters on Mulberry Street and The Bomb Shelter (not sure of the title of this one).

  • William – SF

    Re: pic above. I had that look in the 70s. Delighted someone is still rockin’ it.

  • Yes this fear issue is a big problem, so what do we do to fix this situation?

    • One of the answers I just heard on the air in response to this question was that we need to slow down and have discussions — slow food, talk with each other at the table to gain better understanding rather than just have quick reactions on social media, etc.

    • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

      Hi Tim, noticed your comment and question. Please see my comment, and feel free to give me a call. We are located in Berkeley.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Fear of Nuclear Winter (which could happen at any time with only a “small” number of actual explosions, triggering massive urban fires) is entirely rational and generally (and inappropriately) underplayed.

    But I take the author’s point, and I believe the most effective response is a boldly optimistic vision — involving the entire global population — in a movement for solidarity toward good human values and relationships according to “Our Highest Civic Ideals.” [www.STARALLIANCE.org.]

  • Noelle

    It’s so refreshing hearing someone speaking rationally about this.

  • Vida Felsenfeld

    Hello, great show. There has always been American Fear, politically or otherwise. Fear has been sped up in people’s minds over the past few decades because of social media/technology. Everything is breaking news now, nothing is normal news anymore–everything that comes out a politician or celebrity’s mouth is breaking news. I stopped watching the news, watching too much television, got off the FB grid (except for this entry), went back to meditating. I may not be able to control the forces out there, but I can try to control my life. People need to slow down and get a grip, stop yacking and start listening, help others, and be kind to one another.

    • Noelle

      A clear-eyed assessment.

  • Elizabeth Finkler

    Was just thinking: My grandmother grew up in a smallish city near Pittsburgh, PA in the first part of the last century. Her stories of things that went on in her hometown while she was a child and teenager convinced me that nearly as much bad stuff happened 100 years ago as happens now. We’re just more up-front about it.

    • Elizabeth Finkler

      She also told me that she was convinced that no ship every made it across the Atlantic Ocean safely… because shipwrecks and sinkings were front-page news, while the safe arrivals were buried in the back pages in the shipping news.

  • De Blo

    The whole point of the terrorism committed by Christian and Muslim conservatives, as well as other hate crimes, is to terrorize the population. If we are not afraid, then these crimes cannot hurt us (as they are exceedingly rare and the risk of being a direct victim is infinitesimally small.

    • Curious

      Christian terrorism? LOL!! Oh, right. Barry brought up the Crusades (and was even wrong on that.)

  • bpnjensen

    A superior interview and topic, congratulations to Michael and Sasha for this great discussion! I am encouraging everyone to listen to this podcast.

  • Curious

    In 2014, only 248 individuals were killed with a rifle, whether that rifle was a semi-automatic “military style” AR-15 or AK-47 or merely a classic wood stock, bolt-action hunting rifle, like everyone’s grandpa had.

    What that means is that an American citizen is, on average, 15.4 times more likely to die by stabbing or beating than being shot with a rifle of any type.

    But the left creates a frenzy of fear about firearms.

  • Scott Whittaker

    Hot time in Eden

    How more fearful can you get,
    Than calling weather an existential threat?
    The message delivered by a wild-haired commie,
    Has me calling the State my Mommy.

    We’ve been battling climate since time began,
    Only a century the far left man.
    Comparable to Satan in his diction,
    Most heated debates caused by his friction.

  • Tijmen

    On the other hand, excessive fear may be in part due to there being more of us with more to lose, and given how many people there are in the States, even low-probability events happen regularly to someone.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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