The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Just ignore the ‘social terrorists’ in your life

By Aaron Zundel

“Ter·or: a state of intense fear. ter·ror·ism (1795): the systematic use of terror esp. as a means of coercion,” according to Webster’s Dictionary.

Fear is a powerful emotion, one that goes straight to the core of our biology. It’s an evolutionary tool8212;one of the most basic8212;that nature imbued in us to ensure our survival. Fear protects us by creating an intensely negative emotional response to those things which we perceive as threats to our lives, our livelihood, or our offspring. When people become frightened, they often become irrational, willing to say or do things they would not normally do in an attempt to escape or neutralize a perceived threat. It makes sense then that, although fear might be a benefit to us in the evolutionary long-run, it can also be wielded against us in the short-term as a form of coercion or control.

On Sept. 11, 2001 many Americans discovered firsthand just how this process works. In more subtle ways, we experience it in our social lives, as we interact with those around us.

Take for instance Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, a local conservative lobbying group. One of the most powerful women in Utah, Ruzicka might better be classified as a social terrorist8212;that is, one who wields political or rhetorical power to strike fear into the hearts of those who might oppose her.

Now before I go any further, I want to clarify that social terrorism falls below the type of international terrorism that includes slamming jetliners into national landmarks. Nevertheless, it is a destructive practice, and Ruzicka is a capital offender. Especially this legislative session, as the Utah Eagle Forum has been working tirelessly8212;and quite successfully8212;to scare Utahns into believing that allowing same-sex couples to do something as benign as share insurance benefits is morally bankrupt.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Ruzicka ended a recent e-mail to supporters with the sermon that she “would like to share some scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants that have great meaning and comfort to me. In section 101 verses 86-95, the Lord gives us some lobbying instructions…We are told after we importune at the feet of our elected officials and they heed not (a righteous message) the Lord will arise and come forth and vex the nation and in His time will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers. He also mentions outer darkness, weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Scary stuff, huh? And that’s just what she’s saying about what’s going to happen to the legislators. Imagine what she’d say to the rank-and-file Utahn who supported such legislation.

Although Ruzicka is a master at wielding her power to intimidate people both politically and religiously, she is not alone in her fear-mongering tactics. Anyone who uses his or her position to scare people into submission can be considered a social terrorist, and these people are not uncommon. Prominent media figures include Rocky Anderson, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and Rush Limbaugh, just to name a few. On a more personal level, we all know one or two individuals in our own lives who try to control our thoughts or actions through fear8212;be it a friend, family member, professor, co-worker or someone else.

But fear not. The good news is that these social terrorists can be dealt with. Certain individuals might control aspects of our lives such as a political policy, job, grade, relationship, or8212;perhaps most important8212;mental perspective. However, those who use fear to do it do so because they have no real authority to speak of, and thus are not skilled or powerful enough to take true control of the situation. Like the boogeyman, they have power only if we believe in them, and they lose that power over us when we refuse to play their little mind games.

Really, try it. The next time you spot one of these social terrorists, simply ignore them. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they lose control, and how quickly you can get back to worrying about real problems8212;like what the Legislature is going to do about the budget deficit.

[email protected]

Aaron Zundel

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *