Iycee Charles de Gaulle Summary Critical Argument on “Do We Fear the Right Things?” Essay

Critical Argument on “Do We Fear the Right Things?” Essay

People have fears for many things from spiders to clowns. Due to the attacks on September 11, 2001, many Americans can now add another fear to that list. Something that was considered to be a convenience since it’s invention is now something people are replacing with long drives in their personal vehicles, buses and train rides for long distances. In some of these cases, one also goes as far as driving for days on road trips. The fear of being in an airplane accident is so farfetched that you have a higher chance of being in an accident, yet people are still replacing flying for driving.

In an essay by David G. Myers, “Do We Fear the Right Things?” he says. “…Terrorists, perish the thought, could have taken down 50 more planes with 60 passengers each in 2001 and—had we kept flying (speaking hypothetically)—we would still have finished 2001 safer in planes than on the road.” He goes on using other examples like smoking, health issues, food poisoning, etc. His main point he is trying to show his readers is there are many things that can have a higher chance of hurting us, yet we fear something with less of a chance.

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Myers backs his argument with statements such as, “Why do so many smokers (whose habit shortens their lives, on average, by about five years) fret before flying (which, averaged across people, shortens life by one day)?” and “more Americans in 2001 died of food poisoning (which scares few) than terrorism (which scares many).” Everything that Myers writes in his paper is something this student agrees with. Myers has stated his opinion on the subject and backed his view with various and well stated evidence as well. There are so many things and situations that pose a high threat to us, yet we do not fear them like we do flying due to the September 11 attacks. People skydive; knowing they have a slight chance of not making it, yet take that risk. All this was done for the adrenaline of the Running head: CRITICAL ARGUMENT ANALYSIS ESSAY3

experience. One would say that in a way, the terrorists have accomplished their goal. The terrorist may not have been successful in breaking us down completely, but they have us fearing and changing our way of doing things.

There are four influences that psychological science has identified. The first being that we fear what our ancestors have conformed us to fear. Things or activities that are far safer than flying are feared because it’s what our ancestors feared before us. The second is that we fear what we cannot control. We cannot control flying and that scares many. People partake in risky activities, but since they can be controlled, the fear is not as high. Thirdly, we fear what is immediate. A perfect example is smoking. Many continually smoke because the effects are not ones they can see immediately. Finally, the fourth is we fear what is most readily available in memory. Meaning the things that are freshest, in a sense, in our “memory bank”. The images of September 11, and other incidents involving planes, are burned into out memory (Myers, 2001).

David Myers has stated his view on this subject, which is one this student agrees with. He has provided evidence to back his opinion on the subject. Myers uses not only facts, but also examples to help the reader understand his view more.

In an essay by Rohit Agarwal, he uses the work done by J.B. Watson and his assistant, Rosalie Rayner, at Johns Hopkins University to illustrate how we can be conditioned to fear things and situations. The subjects name is Albert and he was eleven months at the time. He was exposed to a white rat that he did not fear and reached for upon seeing it prior to the conditioning. Watson repeated this action, adding a loud banging sound every time the child went to reach for the rat. After a while, Albert was afraid of the white rabbit upon seeing it. The rat was the conditioned stimulus. This experiment shows how if we are exposed to something Running head: CRITICAL ARGUMENT ANALYSIS ESSAY 4 repeatedly, it will have an affect on us, whether good or bad.

Besides the impact of what the 9/11 attacks have had on us mentally, there is also the financial impact of it as well. Mark Bennett and Harry Bray wrote an essay entitled, “The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism”. They write about the global effects on tourism since the attacks. “Combined with a lull in the global economy, the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York resulted in 4 million less international arrivals world wide in 2001 in comparison to the previous year. This obviously indicates an element of fear introduced and an unwillingness to fly particularly on transatlantic flights showing that the tourist industry was affected on a global scale not just in America.” There are numbers that Bennett and Bray use to show us the effects of the attacks.

In conclusion, the authors and their essays show us that the attacks have affected us in many ways. They have put us in situations where we have been inconvenienced due to our fear. This student feels that we should take back the control to where we were before the attacks.

David G. Myers. (2001). Do We Fear the Right Things?. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, ENG 215 website. Preserve Articles. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.preservearticles.com/201104185528/essay-on-fear.html Mark Bennett, Harry Bray. (n.d.). The Impact of Terrorism on Tourism.