That rising fear, that hysteria, that irrational thought or two. Nope. I don’t normally do panic, though I’ve seen it plenty of times. What concerns me though, is moral panic. Moral panic is a custom made panic and massaged by a willing and vested interest groups.
First you find a target, normally you choose the alienated, the vulnerable, the non-conformist. The list is endless, drug users, bikies, anything LGBQIT, refugees, migrants, religion, the homeless, the mentally ill … add as you see fit.
You demonise your target and begin to create fear, suspicion, hatred, anger, a feeling of disproportionate power against you.
Then you get the media, police, politicians, religious insitutions wound up about your fear. You now have a moral panic as everyone rushes around demanding tougher laws, better justice, retribution, protection.
The cicuit breaker is the community, it is up to us not to be panicked, to check teh facts, to be curious as to origins and sources of stories, to interrogate for the truth, especially of the media and politicians.
The most famous historical moral panic in Australia was the “Razor Gang” panic of 1920s Sydney, where police, politicians and the media helped to create fear that razor gangs were rampant and out of control. what transpired was that there was a “need” to sell newspapers, increase the police budget, and to help conservative poilticians stay in parliament. Laws were strengthened in response. Interestingly it was the churches who reversed the panic.
In recent decades it was communism. Currently it is refugees, and Islam.
In a real twist, the alleged moral panic created by Orson Wells in the radio play ‘War of the Worlds was pure media hype according to new research. Panic within panic.
Check before you panic!