Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The Politics of Fear

As a political moderate, rhetoric from both the left and right of the spectrum routinely makes me wince. These days, with polls suggesting the Obama administration is about to be spanked decisively by voters, with the recent defeat of the Labour government in the UK, with Labour hanging on by its fingernails in Australia, and with a front-runner in Toronto’s mayoralty race who isn’t left-of-center, the media elites have their knickers in a knot.

Amid all the gnashing of teeth, though, one phrase jumps out at me. It is being alleged that conservatives are now ascendant because they’ve done something underhanded. They’ve invoked the politics of fear. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

That’s a good one. I mean, how else does one possibly describe that outrageous 2006 US television advert in which global warming is represented as a train about to run over a little girl? It’s only 33 seconds long. If you haven’t watched it in a while, it’s worth re-visiting.

And then there’s last year’s shameful “Bedtime Stories” ad funded by the UK government in which a little girl is read a storybook that features the drowning of a puppy dog and other horrors.

Where are the widespread denunciations of those politics of fear? Surely the evidence of harmful, human-caused global warming is robust enough that one doesn’t need to stoop to this sort of emotionally-manipulative scare mongering?

Surely decent people of all political stripes are horrified by the deliberate use of children to frighten other children?



UPDATE Sept 30, 2010:
See another example of the use of kids in global-warming ads HERE. In this instance, school children who aren’t sufficiently enthusiastic about reducing their carbon footprint are blown to pieces – as in blood and gore everywhere. Really.

UPDATE Oct 1, 2010:
Here’s a Greenpeace ad that uses a young man. He’s been provided with a script that not only contains a series of factually dubious howlers, it paints him as – I’m sorry, but this really seems to be the case – an eco terrorist-in-waiting. He doesn’t attempt to persuade. Instead, he threatens.

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2010 by in children, ethical & philosophical, media and tagged .
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