From Publishers Weekly
Given daily terror alerts and news reports of violence, Robin, professor of political science and contributor to the New York Times Magazine
, offers a sober analysis of fear's Janus-faced potential as catalyst for economic progress and the raison d'être
of repressive regimes. A brilliant synthesis of historical perspective and the critically revealing story of "Fear, American Style," the account explores the classics of political thought by Hobbes, Montesquieu and Tocqueville and the portrayal of evil by Arendt in order to locate fear as the decisive underpinning of contemporary liberal theory. In doing so, Robin argues for the groundlessness of, on one hand, a "liberalism of anxiety" that perceives society as a debate over communities of identity and difference with low emphasis on social cohesion, while on the other hand a "liberalism of terror" that turns to abject evil as the summum malum
grounding for morality. For Robin, both of these descriptions of political realities ignore the subtle threats fear wages in our everyday lives, most notably in the workplace. The closing chapters document how the Constitution and federalism's factionalist orientation aid that everyday fear. Conceived of before 9/11, but inclusive of its results, Robin's analysis predicts that when the war on terror does end, "we will find ourselves still living in fear."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Robin's account of the place of fear in American life is refreshingly clear--and timely."--Tony Judt, New York Review of Books