Politicians peddle fear because it works
Published 11:16 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Politicians and activists throughout the ideological spectrum use fear tactics to win.
Candidate Barack Obama portrayed Mitt Romney as an evil destroyer of businesses, even though Mitt’s company saved many more companies than it lost.
The attack ad succeeded.
Republicans market “fear the socialist Bernie Sanders.” Mike Huckabee claims Obama’s terrible Iran acquiescence with lead Israelis to “the doors of the ovens.” Liberals scream for you to fear the scary Tea Party and fear Dr. Ben Carson and his weird religion.
Why? It works.
Chapman University conducts an annual Survey of American Fears. Among their findings is nearly one fourth of Americans report having voted for a particular candidate due to their fears.
In October, the American Psychological Association released a study of over 50 years of research on fear-based appeals.
Dolores Albarracin, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an author of the study, says, “These appeals are effective at changing attitudes, intentions and behaviors. There are very few circumstances under which they are not effective and there are no identifiable circumstances under which they backfire and lead to undesirable outcomes.”
The fact that their research shows no backfires from fear-based campaigns gives even more confidence to the fear-mongers, especially when the appeal is combined with a solution.
“They also confirmed prior findings that fear appeals are effective when they describe how to avoid the threat (e.g., get the vaccine, use a condom),” Albarracin said.
This is why Democrats and their liberal supporters will continue to market computer simulations as dire proof we are all doomed by man-made climate change.
The only solution? Vote Democrat, unless it’s former Governor Jim Webb, punished for the heretical belief that Americans would do best to explore all means of energy production.
This may also explain the irrational fear-based Huffington Post headline, “100 Million More People Will Be In Poverty By 2030 Without Action On Climate!”
Factually, careless spending on alternative energy production has hurt the poor and middle class.
Imagine experiencing a 50 percent increase in the cost of your electricity.
This is what has happened in Britain as the government has increased its share of renewables from 1.8 per cent to 4.6 per cent. Higher energy prices mean the poor are forced to turn down the heat in winter, creating what British newspapers report as “fuel impoverished” pensioners riding buses on winter days just to keep warm.
Over the past five years, heating a home in the UK has become 63 percent more expensive. Germany is worse, with real people suffering an 80 percent increase in fuel costs.
Perhaps an abbreviated compendium of failed climate alarmist predictions will put the latest terrifying headline in perspective.
Life Magazine, 1970: “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support …the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half…”
Michael Oppenheimer, The Environmental Defense Fund, 1990: “By 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…”(By 1996) The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers…The Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.”
March 29, 2001, CNN: “In ten years’ time, most of the low-lying atolls surrounding Tuvalu’s nine islands in the South Pacific Ocean will be submerged under water as global warming rises sea levels.”
In 2005, Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation: “Scholars are predicting that 50 million people worldwide will be displaced by 2010 because of rising sea levels, desertification, dried up aquifers, weather-induced flooding and other serious environmental changes.”
Despite the dozens of failed catastrophic predictions, the facts won’t stop the campaigns of fear.
Rick Jensen is Delaware’s award-winning conservative talk show host on WDEL.