A Culture of Fear
The United States has a long history of exploiting fear for the purpose of legitimizing its growth. The current generations of American citizens are direct witnesses to over eight decades of such exploitation. In the Great Depression, the government used the fear of capitalism to legitimize previously unforeseen growth in the size of the federal bureaucracy. As the Depression wore on, the state's inability to spend its way into prosperity led to public skepticism. Thus, the government quickly shifted its focus to the threat posed by Japan, Germany, and their allies. Perhaps most relevant to current Americans was the fear of communism perpetuated through the Cold War. No less than two wars were justified by this anticommunism, as were political repression and a radical expansion of bureaucracy and the military-industrial complex.