David Halpern, in The Hidden Wealth of Nations, directly addresses the culture of fear, which I think is what makes our politics irrational. He reports that Britons fear crime, immigration, and terrorism, even though crime is down, immigration is overwhelmingly positive, and terrorism is extremely rare. Americans share these fears. What these fears have in common is a fear of the Other all out of proportion to the actual threat. Halpern writes
“Fear of crime is … showing a mirror to ourselves – a glimpse into the hidden wealth or poverty of a nation.”
Nations that promote social connections and social trust are happier, calmer, less fearful. They also have less crime. And their discussion about crime, immigration, and terrorism can be conducted in a calmer, more proportionate way.
Fighting fear is not just rational, it actually makes the social order better.