It’s kind of obvious that “Terror” today holds the same place in American government propaganda that “Communism” once did — a massively overhyped threat which is used as an excuse for aggression and increased authoritarian government.
But this morning I realized there was an important transitional period. For a long time Drugs were the new Communism. Late 80s and 90s, all those laws were passed which allowed the DEA to assume any large pile of cash was drug money, and seize it as “evidence” for trials that would never happen?
Remember how “Drug Lords” were the generic go-to villain in any two-bit action show or movie, the way Communists once served as all-purpose foils? Miami Vice was the counterpart to the spy vs spy shows of old… And I guess the forerunner of “24.”
Remember how we invaded Panama and kidnapped their president, Manuel Noriega, to try him on narcotics charges? Insane. But they got away with it because at that time, Drugs were the national boogeyman.
I think there was also a brief flirtation with replacing Drugs with Crazy Right-Wing Survivalist Types — Ruby Ridge and Waco (which may not have consisted of crazy right wing survivalists, but the Branch Davidians were adopted by them after the fact), but that never got very far, and didn’t have the international oomph that you need as an excuse to start wars.
I wonder what the shelf life on the Terror Boogeyman is, and what will replace it in a decade or three?…