- invent an existential threat
- convince gullible people that it threatens them personally
- get money and power from them to "fight" it
- use some of that money and power to make your message more convincing and to broadcast it more widely
This may involve the creation or consolidation of a new belief-tribe (e.g. fear of divine retribution was used to convince evangelicals in the 1980s to form the core of the anti-abortion movement, politically fracturing the Christian base which had previously tended to side with liberal causes) or it may exploit one that already existed (said evangelicals later being ripe picking for anti-gay hatred, among many other things).
The threat is usually but not always some other group (i.e. demonization), since it is easier to convince gullible people that other people are a danger than to convince them that natural phenomena (e.g. global warming) pose a danger.
Religious fundamentalists are particularly prone to believing threats of divine retribution in the afterlife, even if there is no scriptural support for the claim in question, and are therefore often used as patsies for fearmongery.
The Bush-Cheney administration exploited the emotional trauma resulting from the 9/11 attacks to promote a general culture of fear in the United States during the first decade of the 2000s, which enabled the right wing establishment to push through many agenda items that the public had resisted for many years, including sharp reductions in overall liberty and in accountability for the powerful. This trend shows no signs of abating as of this writing (2015), though it does seem to be gradually changing in nature.
- 2010-07-15 [Talk|Index] Don't Fear the Right § “We regularly hear warnings about militias and tea parties, but for the most part, these people are not the enemy. Although Tea Party leadership has been largely taken over by Republicans of the Sarah Palin school, many of the rank-and-file are potential class allies. Even some of the local leaders are libertarians who oppose war and defend civil liberties.”
- 2010-02-04 [Talk|Index] The government has your baby's DNA § “Many parents don't realize their baby's DNA is being stored in a government lab... "We were appalled when we found out," says Brown, who's a registered nurse. "Why do they need to store my baby's DNA indefinitely? Something on there could affect her ability to get a job later on, or get health insurance."”
- 2008-09-21 [Talk|Index] The world should unite against the USA § “9/11 gave Washington a wonderful opportunity to launch the Bush doctrine, which is no more and no less than the Rumsfeld/Cheney doctrine of the late 80s and early 90s, steeped in Cold War hues, namely anti-Russia and pro-energy lobby.”
- 2007-12-20 [Talk|Index] study says no proof airport security makes flying safer § “Airport security lines can annoy passengers, but there is no evidence that they make flying any safer, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.”
- 2007-03-25 [Talk|Index] Terrorized by 'War on Terror': How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America § 2=(alt) by Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski: “The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.”
- 2006-09-15 [Talk|Index] Ask the pilot § Who, exactly, is responsible for terrorizing the American public over the past month? Was it the failed London cabal, or the U.S. government, with an eye toward elections?