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Fear is the Enemy | The Nation

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Fear is the Enemy

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When fear enters into the hearts of people they are apt to be moved to hasty action. Here in this country today we find people who have fully their obligation as citizens; yet now they are taking fright because ideas which have obtained a hold in other countries have crossed the water and are appearing in certain groups in the United States. These ideas can only appeal to those who do not really understand what democracy means, or who for one reason or another have had their faith shaken in the efficiency of democracy.

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We who believe in democracy should not be so much concerned with stamping out the activities of these few groups or individuals as with developing among the people in this country, a greater sense of personal responsibility toward a democratic way of life. It is our job to know what democracy means, and to try to attain real democracy. We do not move forward by curtailing people's liberty because we are afraid of what they may do or say. We move forward by assuring to all people protection in the basic liberties under a democratic form of government, and then making sure that our government serves the real needs of the people.

In a recent article by Dr. Eduard Lindeman I read his definition of democracy and it ran something like this -- democracy is the acceptance by the people of the belief that the greatest possible benefits shall be shared by all the people. In other words, our government, our basic liberties, our way of life must be constantly looking toward an ideal whereby the mass of the people shall be beneficed. Let us beware of unreasoning fear which will make us curtail these liberties and prevent a free expression of new ideas. Where the majority rules, there is little danger of moving too fast. When the power becomes concentrated in the hands of a few, there is great danger that the majority will not be able to move at all.

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