I can’t remember where I heard this, but I thought it was rather profound. People do things for only two reasons: fear or love. A person only takes action if they love to do something, or they fear the consequences if they don’t. I would offer up a third option which would be a combination of the two.
An example would be a job. A few fortunate folks amongst us actually love their occupation and wake up in the morning looking forward to the day ahead. Most of us grudgingly get out of bed because we fear homelessness, car repossession, or starvation. Another is relationships. While many love their spouse or significant other, some just fear being alone. One person buys a firearm because they love hunting. Another makes the same purchase out of fear that their home will be broken into.
Advertisers are well aware of this, and commercials fall into two categories. We’ve all seen acne, dandruff, and deodorant commercials, and the social ostracization that occurs if you have pimples, flakes, or if you smell bad during a sporting event. Vacation, car, and concert commercials employ the opposite tactic, but still employ the fear of loss if the viewer doesn’t “take action soon.”
Politics, and the messages used to attract voters are more successful if they employ some element of fear. Conservative fears tend to be more odious. Immigrants are dangerous criminals, and they are changing the face of our once great nation. We need to build the wall. Muslims refugees are putting our lives in danger and threatening our Christian heritage. Support the Muslim ban. Liberals are trying to take away your guns and robbing you of your ability to protect your families. Join the NRA. The military is weak and underfunded, putting our “heroes” at risk. Increase military spending. Homosexuals are threating the sanctity of marriage. Fight marriage equality. Minority gangs are shooting up the streets and waging a “war on cops.” We need more police and prisons.
Liberals tend to fear things like climate change, income inequality, discrimination, police brutality, and Donald Trump. Their messages come across best in the form of comedic entertainment. Angry and hateful radio broadcasts seem to work best for spreading conservative fears about the direction our nation is taking. While Bernie Sanders speaks of millions losing their health care, if they have insurance at all, conservatives speak of “socialized medicine,” “death panels,” and a country that will soon look like Venezuela if the liberals aren’t stopped. The Left fears poverty and feels that the minimum wage needs to be raised. The Right is afraid that this will lead to automation at McDonalds, and thousands of fast-food workers losing their jobs. Progressives want “free” college because they feel that an uneducated populous will diminish America’s standing in the world and contribute to the continual rise of the alt-right. The other side sees college campuses as centers for leftist indoctrination, liberal elitism, and communist sympathizers ready to destroy America.
I fear an impending civil war where Christian conservatives and neo-fascists consolidate forces, and lay waste to progressives and democratic socialists because the later groups weren’t scared enough.


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