The Price of Fear

In the face of vanishing freedom, Joel Agee finds inspiration in the story of Siddhartha Gautama.

Joel Agee

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I told a friend I would be writing an essay about fear. He cautioned me, counseled me: “Don’t say that our fears are groundless.” He had heard me express the widespread opinion that in allowing ourselves to be governed by fear, we may be forfeiting our freedom.

Of course our fears are not groundless. Who would deny the threat of nuclear and biological war on our shores? And there are militant factions within three major religions that seem intent on fulfilling some prophecy of a final war between good and evil, certain that they and not their enemies are the children of light. What greater danger can be imagined?

But just for that reason it seems to me necessary to live without fear—to the extent that we are able, of course. This does not mean we should not protect ourselves from real dangers. It means we must be vigilant against the counsels of fear.

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