Review: United States of Fear

Over the weekend, I was perusing a…well-known library site in search of inspiration or, failing that, simple distraction. Instead, I found United States of Fear, by Mark McDonald, M.D. And I’m glad I did.

This is a very short book, consisting of only four chapters and clocking in at (according to my reader app) a measly 178 pages. I’ve written that much in two weeks before, but that’s fiction. United States of Fear is very much nonfiction. It’s real, the real life we’re dealing with at this very moment.

Dr. McDonald is a psychiatrist working in Los Angeles. In itself, that wouldn’t be cause for celebration. “Nobody’s perfect,” I would say. What makes his perspective important is that he uses his practice and position to publicly call for a return to rationality, something sorely needed in the world today. As he bluntly puts it, America is in the grips of a mass delusional psychosis. This is very similar to Dr. Robert Malone’s diagnosis of mass formation psychosis; in both cases, the point is that most people in this country have fallen victim to a self-reinforcing, even contagious sort of fear.

We can’t blame that entirely on our elected leaders, so many of whom disregarded not only basic scientific facts and their oaths of office, but all common sense in their quest for medical tyranny. We can’t pin it all on mainstream media, which has displayed perverse pleasure in stoking the fears of its dwindling supply of viewers for two straight years. No, we all share in the blame.

The seeds were sown generations ago. As the author explains, the fear gripping our nation today has its roots in the Red Scare of the 1950s, the feminist movement of the 1970s, the political correctness craze of the 1990s, and this century’s obsession with terrorism. In every case, the dangers existed. Some Americans really were Soviet spies. Some men really were rapists and abusers. Some people really were harmed by callous use of language. And some people really were Islamic fundamentalists wanting to destroy the West. But not all of them, and not all the time.

So it is with the Wuhan virus. Dr. McDonald consistently uses that terminology, and I respect him for that. Call this thing what it is: a biological agent released from a lab in Wuhan, China. (In the short weeks since the book was published, we’ve discovered—confirmed, rather—that it was developed by the United States, but that wasn’t known at the time.) Words have power. Names have power. Refusing to use a name because it is taboo only gives that name power over you.

The virus itself, of course, has little power of its own. Yes, it is infectious, but no more than the seasonal flu we’ve all had at some point in our lives. The currently favored strain, dubbed “Omicron”, is even more contagious, and this follows the normal pattern for viruses: they mutate to become easier to spread, but lose their lethality in the process. “Omicron” case numbers bear this out, as the strain is more like a common cold, and the only people dying from it either already had something very wrong, or else they’ve suffered debilitating immunodeficiency effects from the experimental mRNA treatments we’ve all decided to call vaccines.

As the author explains, and as attentive researchers have known since March 2020, the Wuhan virus is essentially only deadly to those who are sick, morbidly obese, or elderly. The fear effects surrounding it, on the other hand, are well on their way to destroying an entire generation. Year-over-year IQ averages have dropped 20 points since 2020; this is more than a full standard deviation, meaning that the average child of 2021 would be in the bottom third of intelligence when compared to those only a year older. Social development is also being stunted, as these same children are having trouble forming friendships and interpersonal bonds simply because they aren’t allowed to. Even infants are suffering: lip-reading is an important part of acquiring speech, yet it’s impossible when everyone around you is wearing a mask. If all this weren’t bad enough, cases of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts in children are skyrocketing (no surprise, as they’ve done the same in this middle-aged man) and too many parents are too afraid to do anything about it.

Dr. McDonald specializes in child psychiatry, so it’s no wonder he spends a lot of time on that topic. Really, though, it’s a symptom of a bigger problem, which he discusses at length. Most of the fear comes from women, specifically educated, left-leaning women in urban areas. In other words, the same ones who have grown up hearing about “toxic masculinity” and “systemic racism” and other such nonsense. They are socially conditioned to look at the world from the perspective of a victim, and what does a victim want above all? Safety. The Franklin quote never enters their minds, except as an object of derision.

Men, he is quick to add, haven’t done their share. We have let ourselves become passive and weak. Although my experience is tainted by the same sort of depression, I can vouch for this personally. I recognize how much of it comes from social expectations. I was raised in a conservative, Christian environment with firm gender roles. The man, I was always told, is the breadwinner, the protector, the paterfamilias. The woman bears children, takes care of them, and serves in general to nurture. Men are strong in body, women in heart, and that’s the way of things.

Modern progressivism and feminism have turned that on its head, denying that this millennia-old way of looking at the world has any merit whatsoever. To this side of the political spectrum, women are supposed to be independent fighters, the center of a household, and men are relegated to a role one step above that of a sperm donor. We lose control, we lack agency, and the very real biological processes underlying the “traditional” family are completely ignored. Not surprisingly, it is this same segment of the population that expresses the most dissatisfaction with marriage, the least desire to reproduce, and the strongest urge to control others’ lives.

That’s the author’s thesis: America has become paralyzed by fear mostly because it has subverted the traditional social order. And I wholeheartedly agree. It’s what I’ve spent the past two years trying to find a way to say. Maybe I don’t always live up to my own expectations—believe me, I’m well aware—but I understand why I have them. Too many people don’t “get” those perfectly natural urges they feel. And we fear what we don’t comprehend.

Before I close out, I will say that Dr. McDonald also doesn’t have a full grasp on the complexities of the situation on the ground. First, he recommends Telegram and Signal as virtual meeting-places because they are “largely secure” and “inaccessible to the NSA.” This is patently false, and it hides a very important point. Telegram is a censorious platform that has suspended users for posting certain information. Signal’s claims of encryption cannot be verified at the protocol level. Both should be considered suspect at best, compromised at worst, and neither is the friend to privacy that we need. Instead, it would be better to promote truly free platforms such as Matrix and the fediverse, as well as applications like Element which make end-to-end encryption simple and safe.

Second, the doctor repeats the mistaken assumption that everyone in America who needs therapy can get it. Some of us can’t. That’s especially true of in-person visits, which are vital for improvement. Most psychiatrists and therapists in rural areas have switched to virtual-only appointments, have adopted anti-health policies of mandatory masks or vaccines, or have an unwritten rule that every mental problem can be solved by just prescribing more SSRIs and amphetamines. The truly good practitioners—what few there are—are booked for months, and some of us need help now. I know. I’ve been there.

Almost no one has the complete picture of just how much the fabric of our society is fraying. I don’t claim to. I only know what I’ve seen and felt. The America I grew up in began dying over 20 years ago, when so many people decided to throw away essential liberty over the fear that a one-in-a-million event would repeat. But it limped along for nearly two decades. The killing blow was in 2020, and it could have been prevented.

I’ll admit that I was afraid of the Wuhan virus at first. But I learned about it, and I realized it was nothing to be afraid of. Anyone who took twenty seconds to check the Diamond Princess figures could say the same thing: this is a bad flu at worst. Instead, they surrendered to fear, and they forced all the rest of us to go along. They brought us into their delusion, whether we liked it or not, and they have imprisoned us inside it with no clear escape.

Every time you see a person wearing a mask outside, you’re seeing a victim of this fear. Whenever you watch a woman—it’s always a woman, and there’s a good reason for that—taking a Clorox or Lysol wipe to her groceries, you’re watching the result of mass delusional psychosis. Overprotective mothers not letting their children play, or even locking them in their rooms, are but a symptom of a greater disease. The Wuhan virus has two safe, effective treatments: ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. Our social psychosis has no such easy cure. It will take a lot of work on everyone’s part. Men need to remember that they are men. Women need to be willing to let themselves be protected by those who have evolved to do exactly that. Parents must teach their children that safety is never assured.

“Fear is the mind-killer,” wrote Frank Herbert. A lot of minds have died these past two years, but maybe we can resurrect them.

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