Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Creating Fear

We have learned that one common technique used by would-be fascists or totalitarians is the exploitation of fear. If a large segment of the population is sufficiently afraid of something, they will be willing to give power to a leader who promises to protect them from what threatens them.

If there is no great threat to a nation, unscrupulous leaders can still create fear among the people, and then use that fear to gain power. But the fear must be great, because it has to be powerful enough to convince most of the people to give up most of their rights to a dictatorship: hence the advent of doomsday scenarios.

If a political movement succeeds in convincing the citizens that there is some terrible fate ready to happen to them, like "global warming" or "climactic instability", and illustrate these fears with notions of catastrophic floods, storms, and droughts, then the votes might be scared enough to turn over their civil liberties to politicians who promise to save them from these terrible threats.

Beware the politician who creates fear!