The Merchants of Moral Panic

Source: Brownstone Institute
by Thomas Harrington

“[I]t is logical that many of us tend to associate the phenomenon of moral panic with the political right. And there are many reasons for doing so. From Le Bon, and his theories about the dangerous nature of the masses in the 1800s, to today’s Trumps, Erdogans, Bolsonaros, Abascals (Spain) and Orbans, the right has repeatedly resorted to moral panic to strengthen the foundations of its social power. But I think it is a very big mistake to assume that the use of moral panic is strictly a right-wing phenomenon. Moral panic is, in fact, a tool available to supporters of any social group possessed, on the one hand, of a substantial level of anguish over the relative loss of its social hegemony, and on the other, of the media connections needed to mount a sustained campaign to demonize nonconformists.” (11/23/21)