It isn't fear, just a mild safety concern. Wanna try again?
[EDIT]: Would you mind if I broke your kids' leg? It's a low chance something like that could happen on a slide, but there's always that little chance.
As and American. There that just put me in a bias group of people in this here discussion... As an American I can tell you that your notion that we are being controlled by fear is exaggerated and generalized. I think what you mean is that Americans are materialistic and attached to worldly things but to rebuttal that I will base my argument (like you no doubt) on the media's portrayal of the rest of the world, and it's exactly the same.
Tell me, what country's people is not cautious when it comes to their government? We are all being controlled because each and every one of our nation's government has established rules for their people to abide by for the sake of preserving the notion of orderly civilization. You say Americans are controlled by fear but people have been controlled by fear for much longer than the birth of the United States... People have lived in fear of a God's wrath for eons, so in that respect how can you say other nation's people aren't being controlled by fear as well? They live their lives abiding by the creeds and codes of their religion to avoid hellfire or the disapproval of their god and it's all done in fear.
And even as an American whose country was founded on the idea of the equality of all men, I can tell you that no, not all people are created equal, both in the physical sense and sociocultural sense. Genetically, some people are born faster stronger and smarter (there's a 1200 page textbook I can send you a link to that explains it all if you have the time to take out of your busy schedule to read it) and while someone who is not born with these qualities and certainly gain these same traits through nurture, the only way they'd be equal is if the former literally does nothing and vegetates which is highly unlikely.
And sorry for sounding like a cold heartless robot but look at people born with mental disorders and severe physical handicaps? Are they equal? Human behavior is as it has always been, we are animals and like animals we have superior alphas that get all of the chicks and reproduce. A species recognizes its leader when it shows that it's better than everyone else like a lion ripping the throats out of its peers. In our case, the alpha is the person with the so called 'false sense of power' and is able to muster up the biggest guns, hire the most badass guys so no one is going to mess with him. We follow that person because instinctively for our survival that is the sound thing to do. So would a pack wolf be afraid that it might piss off the alpha male and get mauled to death? absolutely. That's what keeps a pack of wolves living in harmony amongst themselves. Are we afraid of our government because if we do something wrong we'd be sentence to jail? Yes. If we weren't we would be solving our personal problems with murder and brutality and simply taking what we feel we are entitled to because hey, no repercussions.
You say America's people are motivated by superficial and material source (Music, television, the social scene). I sure there is a lot that you left out but we grew up in a generation where those things are the primary ways of receiving information. For all we know historical texts written on books may all be a lie by which we base our opinions off of, does that mean we should go back to the original source and decipher hieroglyphics and ancient texts inscribed in stone? Please, tell me how you have your opinion if it is not based on something they read, saw on TV, or was relayed via social networking? How did you come up with the notion that Americans were being controlled by fear? Did it just pop into your mind from thin air? or did you read it in a book? A book written by man who was also influenced by something else he had heard. And this author must be right because everything he writes is something you agree with. Huh America is controlled by fear, and corporations... well that sounds about right, he makes some excellent arguments and has some flashy examples, by god he must be right! I think I will advocate this idea now because it was so eye opening!
Every nation has its bunch of stupid ignorant people who don't know anything past their nation's boundaries, it just so happens America gets all of the attention because we have the means to be flamboyant and loud about via sattelite, we have a people who are not afraid to voice their opinion stupid as they may be to the whole world because they have the balls; It's because our country gives every person the right to free speech. If every nation were able to announce whatever they did to the world we would be seeing just as much ignorance for everybody else. Yes this new generation of American children suck and geography and frankly they don't care for much else than their Miley Cyrus' and Justin Beibers but the majority of them will grow out of it and go to college (which you no doubt have given your liberal way of thinking and tone of writing that asserts that you have the world all figured out).
Honestly, and correct me if I'm wrong, but you must be a student at a liberal college or at least a recent graduate from one. Because from your untainted opinions on America's people you seem to be pretty sure that we live in the worst place in the world. I is SO terrible to be living in this controlling institutionalized iron jungle captained by cynical old men with our unnaturally low infant mortality rates, disgusting fat people who never go hungry, and blissfully unaware young adults who party every weekend having the time of their lives. Lets move to Europe, where the people are so sophisticated well mannered and real. To that I say have fun meeting those snobby aesthetically obsessed French people, crude and vulgar Scottish people, Uptight English bureaucrats, and unreasonably abusive Italians! Haha generalizations! look familiar?
Power is real, it's only those who don't have it (like us young scholarly types) that want to make the argument that it doesn't exist so that we may have a fair shot. Give it a couple of years and maybe a rewarding career and you'll come around.
Contrary to what you're thinking, there are Americans who realize the media influences our thoughts and opinions. And once you realize how the media does this, nd why, you become free of it. However, OP, I am curious as to what country you're from, and what makes you believe this problem is uniquely American. Also, power is far from being an illusion