Republicans and fear

someone said:“Republicans use fear to manipulate people into voting for them.”

my thought:I am not usually a cynical person, but I just had a cynical thought.

What if there just is no GOOD way to sway the masses?

First, let me define “the masses”. There are a huge number of people in the country that don’t follow politics, don’t really think too hard about these issues, don’t really understand the relationships between many political ideas, and don’t really care to try. Their world is confined to the politics of work and food and figuring out how to relax while on a budget. They are not analytical; they are emotional. They react from their gut, and when they hear something that “sounds right” they believe it MUST BE RIGHT. They do not like gray areas.

That’s the “masses”, and I firmly believe it’s a majority of the population.

They are not swayed by logic, or argument, or higher philosophy. They are swayed by emotion.

The Republicans have chosen fear.

What have YOU chosen, Democrats?

Sympathy? Frustration? Peace and love? Higher morality? No offense, but maybe that’s why Democrats get voted out of office so much. And every time Democrats HAVE been voted in, it’s been based on emotion, not ideals. You have to manipulate emotion to get elected by the masses.

So…. are you mad that Republicans play on fear?

Or are you mad that they have found a more effective emotion to manipulate than YOU have?


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  1. I would say that the republican message “less government, freedom to compete, freedom to prosper, and hence freedom to fail” is hardly a message that capitalizes people’s fear, I would say that, though pragmatic, it is quite a crude message.

    On the other hand the democrat “If you vote for me I will protect you through big government, more spending and more entitlements” message is actually the message of fear, that uses the natural search for protection of people to seek adherence.

    • Greg Stevens says:

      The message “I will protect you” is a message of fear? Really?

      I’m just curious: when someone says “I will help you,” is that also “manipulating people through fear” as well?

      • I agree that in general to tell someone “I will protect you” or “I will help you” when the person in question needs protection or help is not a message of fear, it is rather a message sympathy or empathy.

        But in the normal course of society, when you have a political party or leader use these messages I doubt it is the product of a sincere proposal, but more of a utilitarian kind of relationship where “the people” is a mere object to be used for political gain.

        The structure of the message is:

        1. You are in danger (a fabrication that creates fear).
        2. But there is a solution (creates hope).
        3. And that solution is me (positioning of protector or helper).
        4. Therefore vote for me (political gain).

        What I think is that the current Republican message is “get off of me because i want to be free” and that the notion of a potentially absent or smaller state generates fear, but in this case against the party’s electoral prospects.

        In the case of Democrats the message of “bigger government, more protection, more help” generates a fear that there is a permanent and structural danger in society and therefore they are needed to provide protection.

        So, comparing both messages i think that the democrats are the ones capitalizing the fear lie.

        • Greg Stevens says:

          I understand your argument, but personally I think the only way to have a really “fair” discussion about the positions of each political party is to do the apples-to-apples comparison on each side…. and I don’t think that is what you are doing.

          Please allow me to explain.

          Let’s take (and this is simplified, I know, but for the sake of this discussion) the Democratic message as “We think society will benefit the most from a powerful government” and the Republican message as “We think society will benefit from a weak/limited government.”

          Obviously, both of these messages can be cast in either a positive/optimistic or a sinister/pessimistic light, right?

          Take the Democratic extreme too far, you get complete oppression and control of the government of people’s lives, you get inefficient economics because a state controlled economy is bureaucratic and doesn’t respond to change, you get a reduction in personal choice because of GOVERNMENT, and so on.

          The “sinister motivation” on the Democratic side is government tyranny and power for the sake of power.

          Similarly, take the Republican extreme too far, you get people taken advantage of by corporations and fraudsters, you get inefficient economics because there is nothing to stop monopolies and illegal practices from destroying competition, and you get a reduction of personal choice because of unequal spread of wealth and poverty, and so on.

          The “sinister motivation” on the Republican side is tyranny of the wealthy over the poor, and greed.

          So here is the problem I have with the argument that you make above: you’re basically comparing the “optimistic” view of the Republican message (“we just want to be free!”) with the pessimistic view of the Democratic message (“I’m going to scare you into being subservient to government!”). This is an unequal comparison, because although there are SOME people of each type on both sides, surely you must admit that the converse is also true: there are Republicans who are greedy just as there are Republicans who just want to be free, and there are Democrats who believe that the government can help the disenfranchised just as there are Democrats who see the government as a form of control and power. Both parties have a “light” and “dark” side, as it were.

          So if we want to have a fair comparison of the parties, let’s compare virtue to virtue, and sin to sin. To do anything else is not to have an honest comparison.

          • I agree that a fair comparison is to acknowledge that both parties have positive/optimistic and sinister/pessimistic sides, and that a fair comparison is to observe everything.

            With this in mind i’m sure both parties have used the “fear” message as needed in the past and present.

            Related to your observation, I have been moving to an alternating model (that is actually what happens in reality) where nations go through periods of less government a then periods of more government depending on the current circumstances at the times.

          • Greg Stevens says:

            That’s very interesting! And it’s actually something I’ve thought about a bit, recently, as well. When taking a historical view, it really does seem like the idea that there is some “optimal form of government” (or economy, for that matter) is overly simplistic. Some forms of government function well in some circumstances, others produce better results in other circumstances. And, as you pointed out, those circumstances not only are different from place-to-place, but they also vary over time.

            It’s very difficult for human beings (…. and I’m not trying to sound snotty or elitist here, because I totally include myself LOL!!!!….) to take a dynamic view of things. It’s so much easier to grasp on to a particular system and say “this works, so this is what should always be done!” But that approach works with almost nothing in real life. It doesn’t work with exercise routines, it doesn’t work in relationships, and… we both agree, I’m sure… it doesn’t work with political systems!

            Great chatting with you. I’m glad you commented and I hope you continue to enjoy my blog.