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Fear and the Renunciation of Politics

That fear has become politicized is widely recognized. Commentators and politicians frequently accuse their opponents of practicing “the politics of fear.” Those who use the idiom of the politics of fear, however, assume that the meaning of the term requires no explanation. Yet it is not simply a term of description; it is also used as a statement of condemnation.

President Donald Trump has been rightly criticized for his use of the politics of fear. Indeed, as illustrated by Fear: Trump in the White House, the title of Bob Woodward’s recently published book, the president’s opponents frequently portray him as the personification of the politics of fear. But, paradoxically, denunciations of Trump’s politics of fear are often conveyed in an alarmist rhetoric that more than matches the intemperate language of the president. As some commentators have pointed out, during the 2016 presidential election campaign, the central focus of Hillary Clinton’s message was the call to fear Trump.1 And since Trump was perceived as such a fearsome threat, he could be legitimately portrayed as a target to be neutralized. This sentiment was vividly captured in the title of an article by Dean Obeidallah in the Daily Beast: “Donald Trump Can’t Merely Be Defeated—He and His Deplorables Must Be Crushed.”2

Barack Obama’s July 2018 “politics of fear and resentment” speech similarly illustrates the way that denunciations of the politicization of fear mirror the target of their criticism. After noting the “devastating impact of the 2008 financial crisis,” Obama observed that “a politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment began to appear, and that kind of politics is now on the move. It’s on the move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. I am not being alarmist, I am simply stating the facts.”3 Yet the very words “I am not being alarmist” hinted at a sense of foreboding and fear about the future.

In Europe, fear has become the weapon of choice on both sides of the political divide. Condemnations of the use of fear by populist parties are swiftly followed by warnings about the threat they pose to democratic societies. As one commentator pointed out, in Europe “populist movements and technocracies may simply represent, albeit in an extremely polarized fashion, two sides of the same coin.” They both base their strategy “on generating fear.”4

Likewise, an analysis of Swedish politics claims that, on the one hand, the “successes of many of the anti-immigrant and nationalistic political forces in Europe are based on manufacturing a politics of fear for the electorate.” On the other hand, the author of this article also noted that “the strange thing in the current political situation is that even most of the left and progressive political forces construct much of their politics on fear.”5

The embrace of the politics of fear by movements across the conventional ideological divide raises the question of why its pursuit has acquired such a commanding influence over public life throughout the Western world. What follows is an exploration of the politicization of fear and its impact on society.

Politics as Competitive Scaremongering

Commentaries on the politics of fear tend to treat it as a standalone trend, and therefore overlook the fact that this phenomenon is underpinned by a pervasive cultural mood of insecurity and anxiety. As I argued more than two decades ago in my book Culture of Fear: Risk-Taking and the Morality of Low Expectation (1997), fear has become a powerful force that dominates the public imagination in relation to all dimensions of human experience.

One of the distinct features of twenty-first-century society’s orientation toward uncertainty is the transformation of fear into a cultural perspective through which society makes sense of itself. Fear is rarely about anything specific—it is about every dimension of life. And when fear becomes detached from any specific object, it is frequently experienced as problem in its own right. Often fear acquires its own dynamic, directing attention to itself as something to be feared. As the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman explained:

Fear is at its most fearsome when it is diffuse, scattered, unclear, unattached, unanchored, free floating, with no clear address or cause . . . when the menace we should be afraid of can be glimpsed everywhere but nowhere to be seen. “Fear” is the name we give to our uncertainty, to our ignorance of the threat and of what is to be done.6

The condition described by this assessment highlights an important feature of the culture of fear. It is what I have described elsewhere as the autonomization of fear, or the objectification of fear.7 Unattached and free-floating anxieties, which almost appear as if they were searching for a threat to dwell on, seem to be driven by their own inner imperative. That is why the focus of such apprehensions can so effortlessly shift in a day—from concern with climate change, the alt-right, or predatory males, to alarm over “cultural Marxism,” terrorism, or mass immigration and crime.

With the autonomization of fear, public anxieties can exist prior to and independent of any specific threat. The politics of fear mirrors this trend and conveys a sense of foreboding toward life in general. The statement “I am frightened” is rarely focused on something specific but tends to express a diffuse sense of powerlessness. So the politics of fear is both a symptom of the sense of powerlessness that pervades public life as well as a contributing factor to it.

Commentators often communicate their concern toward the workings of the politics of fear in a language that is characteristically alarmist, expansive, and diffuse. In the course of discussing her book The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis (Simon & Schuster, 2018), University of Chicago professor Martha C. Nussbaum remarked that, “as I examined my own fear, it gradually dawned on me that fear was an issue, a nebulous and multiform fear suffusing U.S. society.”8 The communication of this “nebulous” and unrestrained sense of fear often fuels a disposition toward adopting an alarmist and doom-laden rhetorical style.

The corrosive impact of the alarmist rhetoric of fear would not be so troubling if it were contained by a more positive, future-oriented political vision and style. Public life, however, is rarely exposed to such a politics of hope. In our so-called post-ideological era, politics has adopted a risk-averse and technocratic turn that fails to capture the imagination of the public. Unable to inspire the electorate, political parties opt to draw on the cultural resources of fear to promote their policies. Often what divides parties is not ideology but the fears they choose to promote. Debate becomes focused on what constitutes the greater threat: is it, for example, immigrants and terrorists, or global warming?9 Political debate, consequently, often amounts to a performance of competitive scaremongering.

Competitive scaremongering in public life is typically expressed through a vocabulary that aims to polarize and caricature. The promiscuous use of the word “fascist” and the unfortunate tendency to issue the warning that “he is just like Hitler” or “it’s just like the 1930s in Germany” serves as a mirror image of the hysterical political language that these phrases decry. Jason Stanley’s How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Random House, 2018) is paradigmatic in this respect. According to Stanley, although Trump is not a signed-up member of a fascist party, he “uses many fascist tactics.”10 Another commentator warns that “[contemporary] America is Weimar Germany,” before adding that “the 1930s are repeating themselves.”11

The politics of fear is always a practice conducted by “them.” Many commentators who deride and criticize others for “playing the fear card” would be surprised to learn that they too are fully involved in this practice. This observation has held true for some time. An interesting illustration of this selective approach was provided by a conference on fear held at the New School in New York in February 2004. The different papers discussed at the conference transmitted the sentiment of frustration and anger toward the institutionalization of the politics of fear by the George W. Bush administration in the immediate post-9/11 era. The editor of a special issue of Social Research, which published the conference proceedings, was in no doubt that fear was “encouraged by our government and exacerbated by our media.”12

That the journal’s editor, Arien Mack, did not have any principled objections to the use of fear as a political instrument, however, was made clear when he stated: “Fear, of course, also has its positive side, which can be seen when we are asked to be afraid of not only terrorism but also second-hand smoke, bioengineered food, or even diseases, such as SARS or AIDS.”13

In this naïve and simplistic account, the characteristic double standard applied to the politics of fear was laid bare. For Mack, there are two types of fears—positive and negative ones. The “positive side” of fear relates to causes that the editor supports, while the negative side pertains to policies that he opposes.

In his essay “A Life of Fear,” George Kateb explicitly endorsed the instrumental use of fear against governments and causes that he opposed. He stated that he did not want “to direct fear away from terrorists, but to expand the scope of fear to include the American government and its close collaborator Israel.”14 Needless to say, from his standpoint, expanding “the scope of fear” was a legitimate tactic used to support a good cause; his own “expansion of the scope of fear” apparently had nothing to do with the bad politics of fear.

A Sublimated Expression of Distrust of the People

The politics of fear is often associated with alarmist right-wing rhetoric warning about the breakdown of law and order. Donald Trump’s frequently repeated promise to “make America safe again” serves as a paradigmatic example of the politicization of fear. The politics of fear, however, transcends the political divide. One of its main drivers is the belief that the public is much more likely to respond to fear than to rational argument.

A loss of faith in public life and in people’s decision-making capacity is one source of the current practices associated with the politics of fear. The belief that appeals to people’s insecurity and yearning for safety are essential for political success is not simply a response to the prevailing sensibility of Nussbaum’s “suffusing fear.” It is also underpinned by a loss of faith in public life and in the wisdom of the electorate.

It is widely acknowledged that the public does not trust politicians. What is far less often discussed is that the problem of trust also works in reverse. The political classes do not trust the electorate. They believe that rational argument and appeals to reason are pointless and that it is far better to rely on spin and appeals to emotions such as fear. This conviction first started to become pervasive during the years following the horrific destruction of the World Trade Center in September 2001.

During and after the 2004 American presidential election, some Democratic Party supporters reacted to the loss of their candidate by concluding that the “fear factor” was the key to gaining the support of the electorate. For example, Don Hazen, executive editor of the online publication AlterNet, warned that the “fear factor is often overlooked by progressives, who frequently make appeals to logic on the assumption that if people know all the facts they will act accordingly.” Hazen asserted that “intellectual arguments” are “not at their most potent at this juncture” and therefore “facts and analysis must be accompanied by a vision that addresses safety.”15 In other words, “progressives” too must learn to make the fear factor work for them. They too must embrace a rhetoric that underlines the importance of “keeping America safe.”

The call for the liberal Left to connect with the public through the promotion of fear was also advanced by Michael Walzer, coeditor of the periodical Dissent. He stated that “fear has to be our starting point, even though it is a passion most easily exploited by the right.” Echoing the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, Walzer argued that protecting people from the fear of death is a “legitimate and necessary task,” and he proposed a version of the politics of fear that was apparently more “progressive” than that practiced by President Bush. “The Bush administration exploits our fears, but it is not interested in a collective effort to cope with them—that is, to provide the necessary forms of protection and to stimulate the necessary forms of mutual assistance,” Walzer wrote. From this standpoint, a synthesis of the politics of fear with an enlightened social agenda represented the way forward for the liberal Left.16

Some advocates of a leftist version of a politics of fear have sought to endow this perspective with enlightened and positive qualities. From this standpoint, scaring the public can be represented as an act of civic responsibility. For example, the American political scientist George Marcus asserted that anxiety assists individuals in becoming more informed citizens. “Most Americans do not know very much about politics in general or where candidates for office stand on the sundry issues of the day,” he argued. But “anxious citizens are well-informed because the emotional incentives have caused them to grasp the importance of issues in uncertain times.”17

Marcus’s idealization of the benefits of anxiety is a sentiment that is widely shared. The management of public anxiety is now systematically pursued by public officials and campaigns dedicated to the task of “raising awareness.” In a cultural climate where fear has become both politicized and normalized, campaigners committed to raising awareness do not simply exaggerate, they are self-consciously promoting what they consider to be “noble lies.”

In the twenty-first century, the promotion and politicization of fear is often justified on the grounds that people must be made afraid of the risks they face in order to get them to act against future threats. Segments of the environmentalist movement have justified this approach on the grounds that, since the activity of people today threatens the future of the planet, the use of fear to restrain their greed and consumption is ethically justified.

Noble Lies and Moral Panics

Perhaps the most systematic ethical justification for the use of fear in recent times can be found in the works of the German philosopher Hans Jonas. Jonas’s influential text The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age (University of Chicago Press, 1979) advocated the instrumental use of fear—what he calls the “heuristic of fear”—to promote public acceptance of a dreadful view of the future. He argued that a politics of fear was necessary to prevent ecological catastrophe.

Jonas takes a dim view of the human species. According to Jonas, by utilizing the power of science, people have set in motion a chain of events whose destructive consequences cannot be calculated or known. He claims that, in these circumstances, the restraint of human activity is the only prudent course of action. But how can human ambition be restrained and held back? Jonas’s answer is straightforward: the mobilization of fear.

Jonas, in other words, offered an early version of the Thatcherite doctrine that “There is no alternative.” According to this argument, an ecological catastrophe is inevitable unless humanity fundamentally alters its ways and adopts a culture of austerity and restraint. To realize this objective, humankind must abandon its faith in the principle of hope and learn to wholeheartedly embrace the principle of fear. Jonas argued:

Consequently, an imaginative “heuristics of fear,” replacing the former projections of hope, must tell us what is possibly at stake and what we must beware of. The magnitude of those stakes, taken together with the insufficiency of our predictive knowledge, leads to the pragmatic rule to give the prophecy of doom priority over the prophecy of bliss.18

Jonas’s pessimistic dismissal of the politics of hope is underpinned by an epistemology that is both elitist and fatalistic. The claim that people are more likely to be inspired by fear than hope has led to the emergence of a political style that regards scaremongering as the only realistic instrument of political mobilization. Jonas had no doubts on this point. He stated that people are much more likely to be moved by the evils that threaten them than by their hopes in a virtuous future. He wrote, “We know much sooner what we do not want than what we want. Therefore, moral philosophy must consult our fears prior to our wishes to learn what we really cherish.”19

The call to first consult our fears highlights the foundational status that Jonas ascribes to this perspective. The logical priority that Jonas attaches to fear is linked to his assertion that what is at stake is nothing less than human survival. He believes that fear must be deployed by any means available and that the duty of ecologically aware individuals like himself is to construct through both “reason and imagination” future scenarios that can “instill in us the fear whose guidance we need.”20

For Jonas, the elevation of ecological survival into an immediate, pressing issue had profound implications for public life. He took the view that ecological problems are far too important to be left to the unpredictable outcome of democratic decision-making. He rejected liberal democracy because he was convinced that, in such a society, people would resist attempts to restrain their ambition or accept the lowering of their living standards through the imposition of an austerity regime.

To realize his project of institutionalizing austerity, Jonas opted for the rule of a benevolent elite, one that he saw as akin to an ecologically aware Marxist dictatorship. But his state would only be Marxist in name, since Marxism is classically associated with developing science, production, and consumption. Jonas understood that Marxism is alien to his project but nevertheless hoped that an unaccountable, enlightened elite could enforce its will on the public through appeals to Marxist ideology. He wanted to maintain a Marxist façade while keeping secret the noble elite’s commitment to a world of austerity and restraint. In his advocacy of a grand deception perpetrated by an enlightened elite, Jonas’s dystopia comes across as a caricature of Plato’s Republic.

At times, Jonas is aware of the utterly depressing and dehumanizing qualities of his embrace of dishonesty and deception. But he is convinced that this is the best course available for survival. As he explained, “perhaps this dangerous game of mass deception (Plato’s noble lie) is all that politics eventually have to offer to give effect to the principle of fear under the mask of the principle of hope.”21

In this anti-teleology, lying acquires the quality of a virtue, and promoting the principle of fear under “the mask of the principle of hope” is presented as an exercise in ethical responsibility. Jonas actually argued that, in twisting the truth, his noble liars had conjured up a higher truth. As he put it, “We are also saying that in special circumstances the useful opinion may be the false one; meaning that, if the truth is too hard to bear, then the good lie must do service.”22

The acceptance of the proposition that the use of fear is a legitimate option for raising awareness of a noble cause has become widespread in academic circles. Some academics who perceive themselves as critical intellectuals are prepared to openly advocate a double standard in relation to the politicization of fear. Criminologist Stanley Cohen, for example, explored the possibility of using moral panics—and the anxiety toward what he called “folk-devils”—for positive ends. He believed that moral panics could help bring to public attention wrongs that were denied by the powerful. Moral panics directed at those who deny torture, injustice, climate change, or acts of abuse are deemed to be an acceptable tactic for motivating people to fear the right problems. Hence a “good moral panic” is a useful tool for righting moral wrongs.23

A Crisis of Motivation

In a complex, post-traditional setting, motivation constitutes a constant challenge for society. At different times and in different contexts, a wide range of motivational factors such as fear, hope, greed, loyalty, and ideology influence people’s actions. People contribute to society because they identify with their community or nation. They are also motivated by a variety of impulses, such as an aspiration for financial gain, religious convictions, or ideological affiliations. Society relies on these motivational influences to realize its objectives and to maintain stability and order.

Since the 1960s, it has been widely recognized that Western capitalist societies suffer from a motivational deficit. Values that have inspired citizens in previous times—patriotism, loyalty, religion, ideology, and so forth—appear to have lost much of their import. More significant, the absence of a commanding influence of moral authority means that values encompassing everyday behavior are themselves a focus of constant debate and contestation. During the 1960s, this development was diagnosed as a temporary problem. More than half a century later, the problem has continued to endure, and there has been little progress in establishing a system of values to replace the ones that have lost their influence.

Since the 1960s, and especially since the 1980s, Western societies have found it difficult to generate values that can motivate people to identify with the social order.24 The scale of this problem was recognized by the German social theorist Jürgen Habermas, who in his 1973 book Legitimation Crisis described a persistent motivational challenge. Habermas argued that the problem of legitimacy was underpinned by a “motivation crisis,” which was the outcome of the failure of the “socio-cultural system” to supply the values required to sustain itself.

The implication of Habermas’s thesis was that contemporary society lacked the spiritual or cultural resources necessary for maintaining its authority. His analysis suggested that Western capitalist institutions, which have historically relied on traditional values to legitimate themselves, now required new sources of validation.25 Since the late 1960s, the crisis of legitimation has become increasingly pervasive, and elites are continually in search of a “new narrative” or a “big idea.”

From the 1970s onward, the problem of motivation has expanded into all dimensions of social life. The motivational influences of communist, socialist, and liberal ideology, as well as identification with the national community or belief in the efficiency of capitalism, have significantly diminished. The authority of science has also lost some of its luster. The formidable hopes invested in technology’s potential to benefit humankind now compete with pessimism about its future trajectory. In this cultural landscape, the idea of harnessing people’s beliefs and hopes to motivate their loyalty and gain their commitment has lost much of its power. By default, the motivational influence of fear has gained momentum and influence. In this context, fear is not simply a motivational force but offers a wider perspective that touches on multiple dimensions of people’s lives, where other such frameworks are lacking.

The emergence of the perspective of fear is intimately linked to the motivational crisis that stems from the feeble status of moral authority. As I noted elsewhere, “The shift from positive affirmation to a negative conception of authority is one of the most significant developments in the cultural history of modernity.”26 A negative conception of authority does not communicate or rely on confident, forward-looking ideals. Instead, it depends on motivating people through appealing to their sense of vulnerability, existential insecurity, and anxiety about the future. This is a form of authority that relies almost exclusively on protecting people from the negative forces that threaten their lives. It is precisely the absence of positive ideals and objectives, which could constitute a focus for unity and legitimacy, that has led to the emergence of a negative, fear-based conception of authority.

Outwardly, the contemporary perspective of fear resembles the outlook of Thomas Hobbes, who saw people’s fear of death as the foundation for establishing the authority of the sovereign ruler and for maintaining social order. For Hobbes, fear helped restrain people’s passions and served as an instrument for taming society and reinforcing order. Yet Hobbes’s embrace of the fear of death as a sentiment that could underpin the stability of political authority has little in common with the function of politicized fear in the twenty-first century. The latter perspective has become detached and freed from the Hobbesian fear of violent death and the momentous struggle for human survival that preoccupied him. Hobbes offered a big picture that depicted the fear of death as a motive for converting individual aspirations into a single unifying force—ultimately, the secular state. In the twenty-first century, however, warnings about death touch on the minutiae of existence and possess a matter-of-fact, banal quality. They have little to do with the affairs of the state or with providing legitimacy for any political ruler or program. In contemporary culture, fear is harnessed to the project of regulating the petty details of everyday life.

Not a Force for Unity

Although the politics of fear reflects a wider cultural mood, it did not emerge spontaneously of its own accord. Fear has been consciously politicized. Throughout history, fear has been deployed as a political weapon by the ruling elites. Machiavelli’s advice to rulers—that they will find “greater security in being feared than in being loved”—has been heeded by successive generations of authoritarian governments. Fear can be employed to coerce, terrorize, and maintain public order. By provoking a common reaction to a perceived threat, it can also provide a focus for gaining consensus and unity. Today, the objective of the politics of fear is to gain consensus and to forge a measure of unity around an otherwise disconnected elite. But whatever the intentions of its promoters, its main effect is to enforce the idea that there is no alternative.

Hobbes and others hoped that fear could be harnessed to inspire the solidarity and unity needed to build and sustain a social order. Whatever the effects of the politicization of fear in the past, however, it rarely succeeds in realizing this objective today. Nevertheless, the scare campaigns that target people’s existential insecurity have had a noticeable impact on the conduct of daily life, mainly producing periodic outbursts of fear directed toward specific threats.

Short-lived mobilizations in response to air pollution compete with campaigns inspired by the fear of fracking. Anger targeting immigrants vies for attention with outrage directed at criminals and sexual harassment. But these appeals to fear have not led to solidarity. In the current climate, evils come in many shapes and sizes, and people’s reactions to them do not follow the same pattern. Indeed, responses to these evils tend to be at variance with one another. We do not always fear the same threats, and we certainly react to them with varying degrees of intensity. There are a few notable exceptions to this trend—such as the universal fear of the child predator—but by historical standards, the consensus on the meaning of evil is conspicuously fragile.

The capacity of the politics of fear to unify people is assumed to be self-evident by its critics. Those who condemn the politics of fear frequently articulate the concern that it represents a powerful force that can both intimidate the public and also unify it around an objective. The idea that the politics of fear is a formidable weapon for mobilizing support and gaining unity often draws on the historical achievements of strong dictators and totalitarian regimes in the past. Claims that fear consolidates social bonds are so frequently repeated that their validity is rarely tested.

In fact, there is little evidence that governments who “play the fear card” are able to realize their goals or foster a mood of common purpose and solidarity. President Bush and his administration were often accused by critics of playing the fear card after the destruction of the World Trade Center. Both the administration and its critics anticipated an enduring phase of public solidarity. As it turned out, unity proved to be short-lived. Within a few years, a ferocious debate erupted about the conduct of the War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq. A significant portion of the American public even questioned who bore responsibility for 9/11. In August 2006, a survey of 1,010 adults found that 36 percent of the American public suspected that federal officials assisted the 9/11 attacks, or took no action to stop them, so that the United States could justify going to war in the Middle East. According to the same Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll, a significant number of respondents refused to believe the official version of events.27

Whatever the effect of the politics of fear, it does not provide a durable foundation for social solidarity. Its one-dimensional emphasis on avoiding evil can foster a climate of risk aversion, but it lacks the motivating force necessary to encourage people to come together. Though the perspective of fear is widely shared, its main effect is to render people passive rather than to activate them. And although we all share the perspective of fear, we attach different meanings to it and therefore our fears are as likely to divide as to unify. What characterizes the culture of fear is not solidarity and unity around a common concern but competing claims about what to fear. Hobbes’s argument about the unifying force of fear has little relevance in our time. Indeed, it is the divisive legacy of the perspective of fear that ought to worry those concerned with the problem of social solidarity. The impact of this perspective is to reinforce preexisting social and cultural patterns. It encourages the privatization and segmentation of social experience.

Fear and Depoliticization

Fear has turned into a dominant mode of political motivation across the partisan divide. Today, the main distinguishing feature between different parties and movements is what they identify as the foremost target of fear: the degradation of the environment, immigrants, irresponsible corporations, street crime, terrorism, global warming, and so on.

In one critical sense, the term “politics of fear” is a misnomer. Although promoted by parties and advocacy groups, it actually expresses the renunciation of politics. Unlike the politics of fear pursued by authoritarian regimes and dictatorships in the interwar era, today’s politics of fear has no clearly focused objective other than to express claims in a language that enjoys a wider cultural resonance. One of the distinct features of our time is not the politicization of fear but the cultivation of our sense of vulnerability. While it lacks a clearly formulated objective, the cumulative impact of present-day political discourse is to reinforce society’s consciousness of vulnerability. And the more powerless we feel, the more we are likely to find it difficult to resist the siren call of fear.

The precondition for effectively countering the politics of fear is to challenge its principal message—that “there is no alternative.” There is always an alternative. Whether we are prepared to act on the choices confronting us depends on whether we regard ourselves as defined by our vulnerability or our resilience.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume II, Number 4 (Winter 2018): 172–86.


1 See Molly Ball, “Donald Trump and the Politics of Fear,” Atlantic, Sept. 2, 2016.

2 Dean Obeidallah, “Donald Trump Can’t Merely Be Defeated—He and His Deplorables Must Be Crushed,” Daily Beast, Nov. 2, 2016.

3Obama’s Full Speech about the ‘Politics of Fear and Resentment,’” CNN, July 17, 2018.

4 V. A. Bruno, “The Production of Fear: European Democracies in the Age of Populisms and Technocracies,” Social Europe, June 13, 2018.

5 Bo Rothstein, “Politics of Fear Versus Politics of Hope,” Social Europe, June 12, 2018.

6 Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Fear (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2006), 2.

7 See Frank Furedi, “The Objectification of Fear and the Grammar of Morality,” Moral Panic and the Politics of Anxiety (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012), 103–16.

8 See Tim Balk, “Q&A: Martha Nussbaum on Fear, Protest, and Donald Trump,” Chicago, July 11, 2018.

9 These points are further developed in Frank Furedi, Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right, (London: Continuum, 2005), chaps. 3 and 7.

10 Noah Berlatsky, “Is Trump a Fascist? Learning How Fascism Works Can Help Prevent Its Spread in America,” NBC News, Sept. 3, 2018.

11 See Umair Haque, “Why Haven’t We Learned Anything from the 1930s?,” Eudaimonia & Co., Sept. 5, 2018.

12 Arien Mack, “Editorial,” Social Research 71, no. 4 (Winter 2004): v.

13 Mack, vi.

14 George Kateb, “A Life of Fear,” Social Research 71, no. 4 (Winter 2004): 891, 896.

15 Don Hazen, “Grappling with the Politics of Fear,” AlterNet, March 2005.

16 Michael Walzer, “All God’s Children Got Values,” Dissent (Spring 2005): 35–40.

17 George E. Marcus, The Sentimental Citizen: Emotion in Democratic Politics (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002), 103–4.

18 Hans Jonas, The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), x.

19 Jonas, 27.

20 Jonas.

21 Jonas, 149.

22 Jonas, 151.

23 See the discussion in Dimitar Panchev, “Good Moral Panics” and the Late Modern Condition (London: lasala Foundation, 2013).

24 For a discussion of the motivational crisis, see Frank Furedi, The First World War: Still No End In Sight (London: Bloomsbury, 2014), 152–56.

25 Jürgen Habermas, Legitimation Crisis (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975), 73, 75.

26 Frank Furedi, Authority: A Sociological History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 407.

27 See Thomas Hargrove III, “Third of Americans Suspect 9/11 Government Conspiracy,” Scripps Howard News Service, Aug. 2, 2006.

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