I try not to lump people into buckets. I like to think I’m open-minded enough to consider various points of view. One thing, however, that really makes me mad is fear-mongering. When W was running for his second term, the Republican supporters ran TV commercials warning us all that the U.S. could be headed for disasterous terrorist attacks if we voted for a Democrat who would most certainly be “soft” on terror. More recently, there are ads urging me to call my Congressman and tell him that he should vote no on the health care plan. The ads are full of fear-inducing messages about rationing, skyrocketing costs (aren’t they already?), etc. Two of the messages talk about two different Congressmen, each of whom is the deciding vote. Well, which one is it?
Politicians do it, marketing people do it, and salesmen do it. “You don’t want the extended super warranty? It protects your computer for 20 years and covers damage, even if you drop it in the toilet.” Now, stories of people dropping their cell phones in the toilet are widespread, but your computer won’t fit in the toilet.
Too many decisions are based on fear. Some decisions are valid to make on this basis. Do you walk down the street in a neighborhood that’s known for trouble? Do you leave your car unlocked when you know that there are people around who regularly steal cars? Do you go skydiving without being absolutely anal about checking everything that come into play? Of course, not. However, most of the ads on TV and salesmen trying to sell you something are betting that you won’t do the research. You won’t bother to find out the truth.
We all make decisions about things on the spur of the moment, often based on the fear induced by the situation or persuader at hand. However, when you take some time to think it over in the absence of the pressure, you often come up with a clearer view of the situation.
People who resort to this are manipulating you and nothing makes me angrier than being manipulated. When you can, take the time. Do the research. Make up your own mind. Punish the fear-mongers.