See something, say something. It’s the 21st century’s
golden rule. Because we’re told danger lurks
around every corner. But in general, doesn’t fear
at least help to keep us safe? Barry Glassner is a sociologist
who wrote a book called “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid
of the Wrong Things”… and hosts a podcast
called “Fear Not.” So after patting him down
thoroughly for weapons, I asked him… What’s wrong with
being afraid of things? It’s not good for your health.
It’s not good for the world. It’s not good
for your country. It’s bad in every
possible way almost. Give me a list of a few things
that we’re afraid of that we shouldn’t
be afraid of. Terrorism in the U.S. But what do you mean? We saw it happen.
9/11. We saw it. You’re much more likely
to get killed or hurt in all kinds
of other ways. You should be more afraid
of your slippery bathtub… rickety furniture
in your house. [ Laughter ] They’re much more likely
to kill you. So, is the furniture
being put together by Muslim
fundamentalists? [ Laughs ] The [bleep] Swedes have
been trying to get us. It’s IKEA, isn’t it? It turns out Barry’s right. There’s loads of things the U.S. should fear more
than terrorism. Lawn mowers mow down
way more Americans each year than Islam. Driving, icicles, getting struck by lightning,
sharks, choking, the flu. But if logic tells us
we should be less worried about ISIS and shoe bombers, why do we hear
so much about them? I mean, the reason is because
there are all sorts of people making a lot of careers
off of this — cable TV news,
social media. And the crazy think
about this is, this is about
the safest time and the safest place in the
world in the U.S. right now. What else should we
not be afraid of? We should not be afraid
of almost anything that Donald Trump
tells us to be afraid of. But do you think he believes
any of the things that he says? I know one thing
he certainly believes — it’ll get him votes. Donald Trump’s formula
is this, right? Gets you afraid
of something… American carnage.
They’re rapists. …and say that
he can fix it… This is so easy.
We’re going to fix it. …and oftentimes that
only he can fix it. I alone can fix it. That’s a great thing to do
when crime rates are going down. -Right.
-Because guess what. You can say you fixed it. Now, sure, it’s easy
to call Trump out, but he didn’t invent all this. And it’s a vicious cycle with each side
feeding off each other. What’s a more Democratic
sort of fear-mongering thing? They try to get you
to write checks by sending you these scary
pictures of Donald Trump. That’s fear-mongering.
Yeah, I feel like the left fear-monger
a lot more with the foods. They get Whole Foods on you. There’s tons of fear-mongering
about food from the left and from
liberals, absolutely. Some trans fats
comin’ to get ya. So politicians do it for power, the media does it for ratings, and then there are the people
doing it purely for money. The security industry,
which is huge, is constantly coming up
with new products. Now you can monitor
your home, watch your kids from
every angle on your watch. What that does is
make you more fearful. Yeah, and then when
they get to 18, you don’t want to see
your daughter being fingered on the couch or anything. Or maybe you do.
[ Chuckles ] We don’t know each other
that well. Um… And fingering may not
even be the worst of it. In fact, when this fear thing
really takes hold, It can have some
pretty dire consequences. -Can you die from fear?
-Oh, yeah. Vaccine scare is
a great example. People stop vaccinating kids,
and people die, yeah. You’re so obsessed with the
thing you’re fearful about that you’re not paying attention
where you should be. What’s the easy fix?
What do we do? I mean, you have to learn
who’s selling you the fears. Why are they doing it?
What are they getting out of it? Then once you recognize those,
you can tune it out. Right now at the start
of the presidential election, there’s probably
nothing more important than learning to be skeptical
of anyone who stands to gain from making us all
scared shitless. But since Barry here
is the expert, I need him to rule on
a few things once and for all. Okay, I’m gonna
rattle off some things. You tell me if I should be
fearful of these groups. -Mexicans?
-No. “Mexicans storming
the border” Mexicans.
No. -New Zealanders?
-No. Canadians? -They can be —
-Yeah, they can be scary. Can be — Sneaky little
dopey bunch, aren’t they. Weren’t even thinking about that
when I started my day. -[ Laughs ]