- Brownshirt tactics
citations missing = October 2008
notable = October 2008The term "brownshirt tactics" refers to the usage of fear, terror, and images thereof to make people vote for a specific party, notably the populist
demagogueryparty that promises to be tough on terror, while in reality being the one clandestinely instilling the fear in the first place. The name comes from the color of the uniforms of the Nazi members of the SA.
As with all
propaganda, for it to be maximally effective the link between the message and the one benefitting from the action must not be revealed. It is a risky strategy for a party to employ their own violent party members. It is safer to provoke or incite others to carry out acts that scare people (e.g., baiting terrorists, or using hate speechto manipulate mentally disturbed persons to commit crimes), as long as this provocation or incitement is not generally understood by the electorate. In either case it may be expected that an electorate not trained in critical thinkingwill vote in higher numbers for the more hawkish party. Note that while hate speech is forbidden in most western countries, it is not banned in the United States of America.
Argumentum ad baculum
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.