Foreign Policy Magazine

Scared Stupid

Americans’ greatest fears are actually the least of their worries.

I like to think that the people I know are of above-average intelligence. Most of them, anyway. (I do know lots of people in Washington.) Yet were you to ask them to list their biggest fears, they would offer up answers similar to those enumerated in public polls and reports on the subject. One such study, conducted by Chapman University in 2014, ranked people’s biggest phobias in order: public speaking, heights, bugs, sharks and other animals, drowning, blood/needles, small spaces, flying, strangers, zombies, darkness, clowns, and ghosts.

That’s right. Despite the fragility of life on this planet and the

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