Apparently apathy can be overcome when people feel threatened.
But Dobson also discovered that there were diminishing returns. In other words, if a warning is successful in getting a donation then a second warning was less successful. The returns for any given warning diminish as people realized that the grim foreboding hasn’t come true. In order to prevent the requested donations from drying up Dobson had to discover – or make up – another threat to warn people about. Like Heroin, people developed a tolerance to the warnings. To get the same effect you have to up the dosage over time.
I believe that scaring people with warnings about danger is somewhat like a cross between “Crying Wolf” and drug dependency.
The AP has an article today about how politicians and their supporters lie, and how their lies are supported by the Internet. The Internet has allowed the public to become more involved in politics than ever before, but it has also allowed people to be extremely uncivil.
Birthers, Tea-baggers, Freepers, Rush Limbaugh and writers at World Net Daily (I’m looking at YOU Chuck Norris!) are an excellent example of the soaring tirade against the current administration. These people don’t just rail against the things that Obama is doing, but also against things that aren’t true. Obama is supposedly a secret Muslim Socialist who is in America illegally to kill off old people through health care reform.
If you were reading this for the first time, you’d think I’m making this up.
These people are addicted to hate, and have such a high tolerance that they’ve had to up their dosage of fear and loathing to ludicrous levels. Whole news networks have become dealers in this crack, and sit on the corner of Fox and Talk Radio offering passers-by a ‘free taste’. And when a well-mannered, civil person appears on their show and speaks sense they get yelled at.
This. Is. Insane.
Look, I don’t have a problem with calling someone out when they are in the wrong, but when you make stuff up to be upset over then you’re hurting real people who you convince to believe you. You’re welcome to believe in Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, you’re welcome to believe that Obama should be deported as an illegal alien, you’re welcome to believe that Bush destroyed the World Trade Center. You are allowed your own beliefs.
But you’re not allowed your own so-called “facts”.
This vicious cycle of ever-increasing warnings has by necessity gone from warnings about truth to warnings about things that are made up because the people addicted need more despite to feel the same level of outrage.
Unless we get some perspective on this, things won’t end well.