We live in a world where we are urged to be in a constant state of fear. Through the Internet we are bombarded with horror stories, most of which are true, but most of which we and our loved ones will also never face. Some people want us to be afraid of this or that because they want to use our fear to elect the politicians they prefer. Managing fear rationally may be the cognitive and spiritual challenge of our times.
So for now, I’ve decided on four things about which I am not going to worry:
One: Unlike 46 percent of Americans, I am not very afraid of a terrorist attack on Americans on American soil. Yes, it could happen, and in fact has, whether it was September 11 or a lone Oklahoma beheader or a jihadist attack on Fort Hood. But I am personally tired of being afraid of a bunch of ugly fanatics gripped by a culture of death whose greatest weapon to date was the use of razor blades to turn our jets into bombs to be used against us. I fly a lot, and I may go down with a plane someday, but I do not choose to worry about this. Plain and simple: I refuse to be terrorized by this kind of stupid, low-tech, hateful, temporary, small, ugly triumph. Yes, we need to take terrorism seriously, but we also need to realize that this is just not the same level of threat as a worldwide Communist empire pointing massive armies and nuclear weapons at the West. Refuse to be terrorized.
Two: Unlike 36 percent of Americans, I am not very worried that someone is going to take away your daughters’ contraceptives. (I personally gave up the use of artificial contraception in favor of natural family planning when I married in the Catholic faith; but fear not, the worldwide Catholic Church has no plans to invade your bedrooms and prevent you from using contraceptives if you choose.) And don’t worry that your employer is going to take away your contraceptives either. Worst-case scenario from the Hobby Lobby case, if you work for a small, privately owned family firm whose owners object to funding abortion pills, they may tell the government they object to paying for such insurance coverage. The government will inform the insurance company, which will then provide the coverage for free, because paying for birth control and/or abortifacients is cheaper than paying for babies. Don’t worry, anxious moms, you can sleep easy at night about this one.