Nothing to fear, maybe

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What we fear and why we fear it is the new favorite topic of economist Stephen Dubner, co-author of the "Freakonomics" book and New York Times blog. In the context of the New Year's Day bombings in Aspen and the Muslim family who were removed from a commercial flight, he joins John and Adaora to explain why the things we fear the most are simply irrational.

Be sure to read Stephen Dubner's blog post on fear, The Cost of Fearing Strangers.


Stephen J. Dubner

Comments [4]

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Sep. 20 2012 08:05 AM
Phil Cardarella

Actually, I suspect that more people HAVE been killed by church-going, divorced Santas than by Iranians on airplanes or in them (except by the Iranian Air Force in war with Iraq.)

For all its Islamic bravado -- and its subsidizing of certain ARAB Sunni groups that have engaged in terrorism -- Iranians have not been engaged in direct acts of terrorism (except against their own people as a form of repression.)

Statistically, you are far more likely to choke to death on a peanut on an airplane than be mowed down by an AMERICAN of Iranian descent and his family on their way to Disneyworld.

As Barney Frank once observed: Stupidity makes some people prejudiced; Prejudice makes some people stupid.

Jan. 07 2009 04:17 PM
joe james

You miss one basic point in your comparison of the Killer in a Santa Claus suit and the Iranians. A lot more Iranians have killed people on airplanes, or tried to kill them, than
killers in Santa Claus suits. So based on events, there is more reason to be concerned about an Iranian on an airplane than a person in a Santa Claus suit. This is sad and hard on peaceful Iranians but they have to blame their
fellow Iranians for creating this apprehension. The fear is not irrational. It is in fact quite rational.Sheep will run if they see a peaceful dog who looks like a wolf.

Jan. 07 2009 03:38 PM

Even if you know your fears are irrational, do you care?

Jan. 07 2009 08:46 AM

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