Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
While most analysts of political fear focus on ideologies like Marxism or fascism, few have attended to the significance of national security as a purveyor and signifier of fear. But in the modern era, there is no more influential or potent public language of fear than that of national security. An examination of key modern political theorists and selected events in American history shows how national security packages and domesticates the use of fear in political life. Security itself is a potent language of fear — one that is particularly appealing to political elites — because it offers the single-most effective vocabulary, at once neutral and universal, for pursuing and justifying partisan political projects.
Corey Robin is Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His book Fear: The History of a Political Idea (2006) received the Best First Book in Political Theory Award from the American Political Science Association. He also writes for, among other publications, American Political Science Review, The New York Times, and The London Review of Books.