an overwrought public anxiety that evil things are afoot. The term seems to have been coined by Jock Young in 1971.* The most obvious example of an ancient moral panic is the blood libel.

Other famous examples of moral panics include the 1955 Boise scandal, in which three cases of lewd conduct between men and teenaged boys, plus a noxious editorial, triggered a general war against homosexual men. In the early 1930's, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) launched a public relations effort to have federal laws passed banning the use of marijuana; it was driven by a jurisdictional struggle between Harry Anslinger (FBN) and J. Edgar Hoover (FBI). The campaign was a success; it not only achieved the desired legislation, but created a wave of mass hysteria about the "threat" of marijuana.

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* Goode & Ben-Yehuda, *Moral Panics* (1994), p.12.
In the movie *Quadrophenia*, set in Brighton, UK in the late 1960's, a recurring theme was the contemporary moral panic over the clash between Mods and Rockers.
by Abu Yahya February 15, 2009
Intense hysteria about a social or political problem that, instead of solving or reducing the problem, actually makes it worse.
The intense xenophobia behind the Trump Administration's efforts to stop migrants from Central America from entering the U.S. have actually increased the number of asylum seekers many times over from during the Obama Administration. It's an example of a "moral panic paradox" -- people are afraid the asylum laws will change so they need to immigrate now before that happens. Another moral panic paradox happens when gun-control advocates seek limits on the sale of assault rifles after a mass shooting. The result is increased sales of assault rifles because people feel they need to buy them now before the laws change.
by Mooseface April 14, 2019
Hym “Moral Panic and Controlled Opposition are both... Terms... and they both mean things.”

Dr. JeepJorp “BuT wHaT dO tHeY mEaN!?”

Hym “GET OUT OF HERE DR. JEEPJORP! NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU!”

Dr . JeepJorp *whimpers and hobbles away*

Hym “Jesus... Where was I? Oh! Controlled opposition. That’s why the Overton window exists. That’s why we’re kept in the feedback loop. You don’t care. You get your little dick sucked? Or your fat meaty cock gobbled? You manage to get some of your life subsidized? Are you not being crimed? Then you’re fine. Quit complaining about your life. I had to work hard to get where I am! Unless I lied. Then I just lied with every waking breath and everyone around me just went along with it. People don’t even know the difference! They can’t even think! They just accept the propositions. No matter how absurd.”
by Hym Iam December 2, 2022