Appeal to Fear Fallacy

Appeal to fear (also called argumentum ad metum or argumentum in terrorem) is explained in this video. Several examples from politics and everyday life are provided to make the audience familiar with its usages.


Dirty trick: Appealing to fear

There are a lot of fears hidden within the inner depths of each person. Fear of death, fear of disease, aging, going broke, being alone, feeling unsafe, rejection. A dirty trick is to manipulate the person using these fears to get out of coming up with a logical argument to reach our goals.

If we allow woman inside stadiums, their safety will be compromised.

The structure of this fallacy is as such: If you don’t believe in A, something bad shall happen, hence A is right.

An artist, a writer, a musician has produced an artwork which hasn’t obtained a license. They are explaining why they didn’t agree to issue the license: 

Look, this kind of talk is for the western culture, if we allow such things to seep into our culture, our culture shall be destroyed.

This method is very commonly used by politicians, but it’s not limited to them, people also use this trick in everyday life.

You always say no to every boy that comes your way, if you say no to him also, you’ll be alone forever.

People who use such a trick try to divert other people’s attention from their non-existing or in-complete argument by employing their inner-most fears, so others would do the thing that they want.


Richard, L. E. (2012). The Thinker’s Guide to Fallacies: The Art of Mental Trickery and Manipulation.