Why Fear Is The Biggest Motivator
Politics and Activism

Why Fear Is The Biggest Motivator

What is fear-mongering? Why is it so effective?

Why Fear Is The Biggest Motivator

The first question you may have is most likely “Gosh Drew, what the heck is ‘fear-mongering’?”. Well, good people of the internet, Google defines it as “the deliberate arousing of public fear or alarm about a particular issue”. However, the much more informative Urban Dictionary defines ‘fear-mongering’ as “what Republicans use to fight terrorism and what Democrats use to fight global warming”. So basically, it is how politicians inspire public interest. They trigger fear as a highly motivating and extremely influential factor in voting. The mode in which politicians spread fear is by using propaganda.

Now, how to spot fear mongering!!!! Learn up folks.

Long long ago in a galaxy far far away from reality, one small seemingly harmless little Austrian boy named Adolf Hitler grew up to be one of the most charismatic and hateful men to ever live. Now young Hitler knew of poverty and the strife it caused, so when the Germans were defeated in World War I and plunged into economic and social turmoil he offered the German people what appeared to be a solution (even though many from within the German Worker’s Party felt he was unqualified to do so). Hitler used all forms of media including radio, film, art, the press, music, books, and theater to spread his message centered around fear of outsiders and the elite state of the Nazi Party. This specific propaganda painted a world where the best Germany was one that was exclusively owned and operated by Germans. Its purpose was to “elicit political loyalty and race consciousness” say the experts at the USHMM. Hitler preached anti-immigration and racism. The Nazi Party illustrated certain groups of people as the root cause of economic woes and social issues. Hitler spread fear in the hearts of the German people which caused a deep social divide.

Fact: we have been taught in school that mass genocide and devastation are a bad thing. We have also been taught that Hitler is a bad guy, and not the funny kind like Dr. Evil. However, his methods are not so dissimilar from politicians of today, playing on fear to sway people into backing a certain agenda. There are two prime examples of this sort of politicking that are extremely relevant today.

The recent Brexit “Vote Leave” campaign, spearheaded by Nigel Farage, to leave the EU was founded on fear and nostalgia (a very powerful combination). History teaches us that at one point in time the UK was so dominant and vast that “the sun never set on the British Empire”. This kind of extensive power leaves a sour taste in the mouths of the power hungry when it is taken away. The emotionally charged campaign slogan for “Vote Leave” was “Put the Great back in “Great Britain”. The champions of “Vote Leave” attributed the root cause of this epic fall from greatness to be an influx of immigration mandated by the EU, not the Spanish Armada or the transfer of Hong Kong back to China. Farage decided wage stagnation was due to immigrants stealing jobs from British blue collar workers. Furthermore, that these same immigrants were taking advantage of the social services paid for by the English tax payer. Now, despite all the most knowledgeable economists weighing in and coming to the clear decision that leaving the EU will in all likelihood send the UK into an immediate recession, the irrational fear that the British were not in control of their own destiny and that their country was being overrun by immigrants won out in the voting booths. Reason was drowned out by the tidal wave of fear-mongering rhetoric and propaganda used.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign first gained speed when he accused Mexico of sending us their “criminals, drug-dealers, and rapists” and that the United States should in fact build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. Now the only two other famous walls that come to mind are the Berlin Wall (divided a nation) and the Great Wall of China (built by slaves)… Anyway, Trump has continued to use similar divisive tactics by citing outrageous statistics regarding immigrants such as “The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.” This statement simply does not hold up under scrutiny, The Washington Post describes it as yet “another cherry-picker number”. In his nomination acceptance speech Trump painted what NPR described as a “dystopian” reality. He opted for an eleventh-hour-before-the-apocalypse-esque speech founded upon erroneous statistics regarding crime rates and police deaths. Trump’s strategic rhetoric “turned his white supporter’s fear into a weapon”, as stated by Vox, capitalizing on economic and social anxieties to foster support for his run at a spot in the oval office.

But why is fear so powerful? Psychologists link the effects of fear with survival instincts that have adapted from preserving life to maintaining a certain lifestyle. Fear in the times of early man was the driving force in what kept the species alive and kept them from hanging out with saber-toothed cats and running over the edge of cliffs. However, instead of big animals and heights, humanity is afraid of change and the unknown. This is why politician often employ campaign strategies that capitalize on people’s biggest fears. Voting is a far more emotional decision than previously thought to be; that is precisely why fear-mongering and doomsday rhetoric is being used too frequently. It is not a new tactic but it is one that is here to stay. Guard yourselves against it and make sure when you hit the voting booths you are armed with accurate knowledge and not frightening specious statistics.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Preview These Top Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2020 Picks — From Luxury Purses To Skincare

Currently 3 million people viewing the Stella McCartney purse I absolutely must have.

Online shopping has been a guilty pleasure of ours for years, but now more than ever it's been a shopping lover's outlet for all our home redecorating projects and resort wear we're purchasing for that trip we had to cancel.

One of my favorite places to (virtually) window shop has always been Nordstrom. I admittedly can't afford to go on sprees there often, but I still get a high off of adding things to my cart I know I'll never actually end up buying. But sometimes, that's not enough — that's when I, like the masses of luxury-, beauty-, fashion-, and decor-lovers around the world count the days down to the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Keep Reading... Show less

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less

Rihanna is known for many things: her music, fashion, makeup, and now skincare. As a makeup artist myself, I can confidently say that she rocked the makeup world when she released her makeup line in 2017 and has been influencing the beauty world ever since.

Trying some of her makeup products myself, I know that she doesn't skimp on quality, and even though some of her products may be a little pricey, trust me, you get what you pay for.

Keep Reading... Show less

On Saturday, August 1, 2020, the National Hockey League resumed play for the first time since March 12, 2020. The season was paused due to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and a concern for the players contacting the virus and spreading it through the League. Fans and players sat and waited for the hockey season to resume, which took more than 140 days.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.


Keep Reading... Show less

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments