What follows is a kind of dissection of an example of the mentality that’s been induced by 50-plus years of what you might call “safetyism.” This preoccupation with risk-avoidance to the point of pushy, peremptory absurdity.
Because, of course, you can never be too “safe.”
The video below moans about the substandard efforts of various car manufacturers to harass people sufficiently to wear seat belts. Note that I did not say their seatbelts. Which I did not say for the same reason I have never said anyone ought to wear their “masks.”
This is not pedantic. It is vitally important.
The use of “their” is very deliberate. It is meant to convey – and to assert – a kind of needful symbiosis. That a seat belt – or a “mask” is almost a part of us and heaven forbid the intimation of disassociation. What is wanted – and intended – is for the person being addressed to immediately feel obligation. And shame, for not wearing “their” seatbelt or “mask.”
But it is just a “mask” – or a seatbelt. An object, nothing more. Unless, of course, you do claim it as yours – in which case, that’s up to you. But the very last thing those who use their – or your – want is for you to make up your own mind and exercise choice, yourself.
Every has been forced by government decree to buy them since 50-plus years ago. Everyone of driving age today is familiar with them, aware of their function. But this is never enough for the acolytes of safetyism. Everyone must be required to wear them, too – which by now ought to have a more generally familiar feel to it. What else has the government recently tried to force everyone to wear, too?
If you said their – or your – “mask,” that’s what Col. Landa (from the Tarantino film, Inglorius Basterds) says is a Bingo!
Anyhow, it ought to be agreed that everyone has heard – a lot – about wearing seatbelts, asserted to be theirs. Much of it from their cars, which in many cases will not stop reminding – another obnoxiously, insufferably passive-friendly abuse of language – to wear their seatbelt even when it is ridiculously apparent they have purposely decided not to. Anyone willing to endure the repetitive chiming/dinging – often a loud and jarring chiming/dining – for the sake of not wearing the damned things clearly doesn’t need a reminder.
He knows perfectly well that he’s not wearing it – and doesn’t want to.
Civility would leave it at that. Would, in fact, have let it go well before that. But safetyism is relentless. The chiming/dinging must continue for longer, louder. Perhaps forever – or at least for long enough that the victim of this harassment cannot stand it any longer and gives in, by bucking “his” seatbelt.
Also the passengers. All of them. Shotgun, of course – but now also those in back. Safetyism has decreed chiming/dinging for everyone in the vehicle. So even the backseats are no longer safe harbor. The driver is put in the same position the government puts the store owner, who is forced to act as tax collector for the government. Just so, the driver of the cars coming off the line will be forced to become the government’s nag, pestering the people riding in back to wear their seatbelts – in order to save his nerves from the unendurable racket of all that chiming/dinging.
The cloying degradation of this business almost beggars the descriptive power of words. The driver acting as parent – of other adults – on behalf of a government that regards them all as retarded children too stupid to act in their own best interests.
But that is actually a superficial explanation. In actuality, the treating of adults as retarded children is merely the everyday etiolation of this sickness that is safetyism. What it’s really all about is using the cloying pretext of “keeping us safe” to keep us under control – by asserting that we have no say in matters that are properly no one else’s business and certainly not the government’s.
Soon, it will be more. Heck, it already is. But it will be more than we can imagine. There will never be an end to it.
Safetyism pushes itself beyond all previously acknowledged boundaries of civility that – once upon a time – formed a kind of perimeter around the person (and property) of the individual, past which government was not allowed. Better said, beyond which government had no rightful authority.
Today, after 50-plus years of safetyism, there is no boundary beyond the reach of this inhuman doctrine, which forms the basis of what has become an inhuman society, in which no one is free to be let alone, ever – because it might not be “safe.”
And to think, it all began with a seatbelt, all those years ago.
. . .
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