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I came across the following quote in a radio programme (Das Philosophische Radio, in German) that is devoted to matters philosophy. The resulting question borders on sociology but I hope it is still okay to ask it here also due to its origin. A listener gave this possible explanation for wide-spread fear in contemporary society (translation courtesy of Google Translate):

To my mind, an increasing infantilization of society plays a role. [Uncertainity is ill received]. [Taking] care of [yourself first] and [only] when it is no longer [possible relying on the] help of others, no longer seems to be the goal for many. The community, the state, it must [put everything right]. For everything there must be someone to blame. The dangerous moments in life are often acted out on a kind of game level such as bungee jumping, free diving, free climbing. [But] in real life, nothing [bad must occur].

This sounds like an internally consistent argument that a (conservative) politician, sociologist, or philosopher might make. Is there any philosopher who comes to mind and whose work could serve as a basis for the listener's observation regarding a possible causal link between such infantilization (including virtual bravery) and fear (concrete anxiety)?

  • I would be careful with the term "conservative" here, as this resembles many who call themselves "classical liberals." – James Kingsbery Apr 9 '15 at 17:59
  • @JamesKingsbery Fair enough. The question does (should) not depend on this qualification. – Drux Apr 10 '15 at 10:28

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