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Fear mongering 101

Posted on: April 30, 2020

There are many ways to avoid change. One way is to vilify the new by fear mongering.

One of the best ways to do that is to make a personal and relatable threat even if there is little or no evidence for it. Consider this headline:

Fear mongering 101

The tweet reminded me of a Pessimists Archive podcast episode I reflected on in January. That episode focused on how bicycles and phones — new technologies in their time — supposedly caused face-related maladies. It is fear-of-technology repeating itself.

It is one thing if the fear is warranted. It is another when the fear mongers have already made up their minds and look for pseudo science data to justify their claims.

If we are to be critical consumers, we need to be able to discern strategies like fear mongering. If we see this happening over a period of time, the skill becomes pattern recognition. Both are learnable skills that distinguish a skeptic from a cynic.

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