BREGGIN.COM - Nov 6, 2020 -
Ginger Ross Breggin and Peter R. Breggin M.D. -
For more than 70 years a branch of public health science has been studying fear. But not to help humans cope. Seventy years of study have gone into how to scare people into compliance or submission in obeying public health officials and politicians. As it turns out, fear is a powerful motivator and can drive humans to be more easily manipulated into doing things they would ordinarily resist doing.
Few citizens realize that the government and public health scientists have put time, money and much effort into studying how to scare people into doing what the experts want us to do. The study of fear as a tool to manipulate individuals or populations is called “Fear Appeal.” It is a robust field of study within psychology and public health and has been widely used to intimidate us since the beginning of the pandemic.
Remember when a large group of public health experts, surrounding the President of the United States, announced that there was a new deadly disease loose in the US threatening us with the loss of 2.2 million lives if we did not take drastic measures. I remember the stone in the pit of my stomach, the abject fear that figure and that threat stirred. Two weeks to bend the curve morphed into six weeks, and six weeks has extended seemingly forever.
Now increasing numbers of people are feeling angry at being frightened by the pandemic and COVID-19. We have become aware of the constant release of new bits of bad news or predictions about the disease, and many of us have begun to push back against what some have labeled “panic porn.”[i] [ii] Other citizens, especially those with emotional vulnerabilities or who live in lockdown isolation, have suffered from months of the fear-inducing messages leading to depression, anxiety, panic attacks and hopelessness.
No one has been talking openly about this “scientific” form of scare tactics called “fear appeal.” Who knew that scaring us is actually science! Now we see this science being applied daily, especially by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the media face of the science that is used to justify the harshest shutdown measures.
A recent attempt by Dr. Fauci at fear-based influence occurred when he urged Americans to cancel their family Thanksgiving gatherings. [iii] [iv] He said “When you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting … it is unfortunate because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition, the family gathering around Thanksgiving, but that is a risk.”
More recently Fauci and the Washington Post used “fear appeal” to sway the election by making dire warnings about a Trump victory. With the presidential election day only 48 hours away on November 2, 2020, Fauci’s warnings about COVID-19 and President Trump’s handling of it became increasingly dire. The Washington Post offered this threatening headline:[v] ‘“A whole lot of hurt”: Fauci warns of covid-19 surge, offers blunt assessment of Trump’s response.’