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It’s Saturday morning and, as weather fronts collide, our area is being affected by high winds, thunderstorms, and a series of tornado warnings. Storms are forming west of us and, unfortunately, some communities will be damaged by high winds and, potentially, by tornadic activity. But the language that is used by the reporters is telling: “Red alert!” “You folks in Cadiz are going to get hit hard!” One wonders when meteorologists will begin screaming, “Battle stations, rig for collision.”
As in politics and other spheres of our lives, the appetite for cultivating fear and alarm has become typical of our approach to almost everything. The same kind of language is already characteristic of the reporting that we hear. Commentators, politicians, and even clergy rely upon the same, breathless urgency. With increasing frequency, leaders of every kind set dates for the end of the world as we know it, conjuring up opponents who will be “left behind” or consigned to some kind of **** – even if the end and **** are not the stuff of fire and brimstone preaching of another era.
Strategy - Language - Urgency - Reasons
Why has this rhetorical strategy become so common that it has become impossible to know when and where the language of urgency might actually apply? There may be many reasons.
Are we indulging an under-exercised and genetic capacity for fight and flight?
Power - History - Way - Stimuli - Inheritance
Perhaps. We underestimate the power that our genetic history has over the way in which we react to the stimuli around us, and how much that inheritance drives us to find a place for its expression. Our so-called sophistication and technological prowess might moderate such influences, but they cannot erase its influence and – unexamined – our natural predilections can dominate our behavior.
Are we appealing to the language of urgency too often because we live in an age when it...
Wake Up To Breaking News!
A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a Government intervention.