A MarketWatch story this summer let us in on why millennials stash so little cash in 401(k) accounts. Like, given climate change, what’s the point? “The weather systems are already off,” a woman named Lori Rodriguez told a MarketWatch reporter, “and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to be a little apocalyptic.”
A few days later, a New York Times writer lamented his personal contribution to the apocalypse. A brief family trip to Miami during the winter had—so his “online carbon calculator” revealed—run up an environmental tab totaling “about 90 square feet of Arctic ice, an area about the size of a pickup truck.” The horror, the horror!
These attitudes and their origin are the subjects of Frank Furedi’s book, How Fear Works. Furedi’s work helps to explain what a race of scared little bunny rabbits we’re turning into, our younger folk more than anyone else.
Comparatively little of what Furedi, a sociologist drawn almost morbidly, you might say, to the study of fear, shows concerning our fearful society is likely to stun us: the constant uncertainties of modern life, constantly outlined in the media; the growing demand for “safe spaces,” wherein to hide from reality; pats on the head for the anxious and fretful; safety valued above human liberty. At that, his materials and meditations...