Centennial Institute’s Women 21 (Women of the 21st Century) met at Cool River Café to hear Julie Gunlock from Alexandria, Va. relate a humorous presentation on a serious topic—the culture of alarmism. She included excerpts from her new book From Cupcakes to Chemicals and demonstrated how the food nannies, environmentalists, public-health officials, politicians and government regulators benefit from keeping the American public scared.

Headlines alone are scare tactics while progress and technology are at odds with each other, Gunlock said.

To combat being told how to live, she cautioned: “Trust your instincts and evaluate the sources while being overwhelmed with so much information.”

Gunlock is the director of the Culture of Alarmism Project at the Independent Women’s Forum and has written for the The New York Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Tampa Tribune and other publications. She has also offered political commentary on Fox News and other networks.