When our moral lives are shaped by fear, and safety is worshiped as the highest good, we are tempted to make health and security the primary justification for right action. We thus lead timid lives, fearing the risks of bold gestures.
Instead of being courageous, we are content to be safe. Instead of being hopeful, we make virtues of cynicism and irony which in turn keep us a safe distance from risky commitments. We are more likely to tell our children to “be careful” than to “be good.” The extravagant vision that would change the world gets traded in for the passive maxim “do no harm.” Our moral lives atrophy on this new diet of self-protection.