I received the following from a reader in reply to my article about the Bill of Safety and thought it a subject much in need of further discussion:
Here in Orygun I’ve watched the Safety Nazis’ seemingly inexorable rise in influence. Seems they always use the public burden theory, starting back in the ’60s with the motorcycle helmet laws and, as you said, seat belts and on and on. There seems no end to it and I’ve yet to come up with convincing arguments as I end up the devil’s advocate seemingly arguing “against” safety. My reply to most (government) help has always been, “No thanks, I’d rather make my own mistakes.” But unfortunately it seems that I am consistently in the minority. We have been saddled with the “precautionary principle” for quite a long time now and things seem to be getting worse. But then, you know all this. Not long long the Oregon legislature, despite overwhelming votes in 35 out of 36 counties against it, passed a bill to give illegal aliens drivers licenses because ….. “it’ll make our roads safer”. It seems there is no escape. I wanted to let you know there are others out here besides the sheep.
The first, of course, is to point out that it’s morally wrong to punish people for harms they haven’t caused. That someone may cause harm is not a morally valid basis for punishing people because they haven’t actually done anything to cause harm. Might cannot be substantiated – or even defined, except as a kind of vague assertion of possibility.
To grant power to “prevent” this open-ended might is to grant unlimited and arbitrary power – tyranny.
If someone does cause harm then you have an objective, morally inarguable basis for holding him (and him only) responsible for the harm he has caused.
This brings up the unspoken premise behind the “public burden” argument – which should be spoken of, loudly.
It is that it’s just as immoral to hold others – “the public” – accountable for what an individual actually does do. If I choose to not wear a helmet when I ride my motorcycle and if I wreck and if I am injured, then I am responsible for any costs incurred. It is a moral outrage to force other people to bear the burden of the negative consequences – if any – of my actions. And it is a moral outrage to accost me with violence on the basis of “negative consequences” that have not occurred but might.
No! It is outrageous to suggest that Joe has an obligation – enforceable at gunpoint – to hand over money (or liberty) because Frank – a person he never even met, whose actions he has no way to control – caused harm to himself or someone else.
Hold Frank accountable for what Frank does – and Joe accountable for what Joe does. And leave both of them alone if what they do causes no harm to either – or anyone else.
The problem, of course, is that reason and logic – let alone moral principles – don’t register much with Clovers.
Their anxieties must be assuaged – by gutting your freedom. By cosseting and corralling you (and me) and everyone else, just to be “safe.”
Such people are dangerous for the same reason that its dangerous to hand an idiot child an automatic rifle and a bottle of gin and leave him alone for the day. Only they’re worse because they’re nominally adults and so ought to function at a higher level. Unfortunately – deliberately – they don’t.
The whole point of “public” – i.e., government – schooling is in fact stultification of the critical faculties. It is to keep the mind from ever developing much beyond that of a child’s mind. Such minds are much easier to control, without the “child” even realizing it.
Even more progress in this regard has been made over the past 30 or so years, during which time a generation has grown up caged – literally. Pretty much everyone born since about 1990 spent their earliest years strapped into a “safety” seat – which is in fact a psychological seat. Intended not to keep the child “safe” but rather to impart fear and passivity.
The outside world is a dangerous and scary place.
Authority will keep you safe!
This isn’t said overtly but the message is the same, regardless. And the result is an entire generation of young people imbued with a hysterical aversion to risk – exaggerated to neurosis – who have been conditioned to sit inertly and wait to be told what to do by Authority.
People’s minds – and spirits – have been crippled. Which is deliberate policy. Fear-riddled, child-thinking adults cannot deal with life; they look to their parent – the government – to make it all right.
To keep them safe.
And the walls of a prison grow around us all – but seen only by those whose minds have somehow not been crippled, who aren’t the functional equivalent of terrified child in desperate need of years of cognitive and emotional reparative therapy.
. . .
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