“Laboratory studies have shown that when people are asked to perform tasks under the influence of fear, they tend to make decisions based on incomplete information and rely on oversimplified assumptions. They use rigid decision making and don’t rely on as many options…To put it bluntly, fear makes us stupid.” Extreme Fear by Jeff Wise
In critical situations, fear-making-us-stupid is a powerful tool.
When attacked by a lion you do not have the time to carefully consider each possible option that you have. Fear, in this case, keeps you alive by making you stupid. Your brain won’t think past “fight or flight” so that more sophisticated choices don’t get in the way of the keep-yourself-alive sections of your brain.
Your brain, when operating under fear, jumps right to rigid decision making and relies on as few options as possible.
I was walking past a tea party on Tax Day and was tempted to stop by except that the level of limited thinking would have just made me angry:
“Socialized medicine is terrible because it’s part of Socialism.”
(decisions based on incomplete information)
“If we give the government the power to dictate how and when we receive medical treatment, then next they are going to be dictating how and when we can have children!”
(relying on oversimplified assumptions)
“I will never give up any of my rights to the government!”
(rigid decision making)
“The free market is superior to socialism.”
(not relying on as many options)
I have no advice to give other than be aware of your own fears and how it affects your thinking. The government prospers when we are afraid because fear retards the ability of intelligent people to make intelligent choices. A lot of people in this country think that they are supporting the government, but are too afraid to realize that they are just being manipulated by the government.
If you’re afraid of being controlled by the government, the first thing you should do is step back and relax. Recognize your fear, but don’t let it blind you.