Fear of death is the death of freedom
We're so immersed in the "Safety First!" mindset that we take it as axiomatic. The slogan is repeated endlessly. I've been hearing it since grade school. We all have.
Its effects are everywhere. Playground equipment removed from schools. No Smoking signs in bars (and restaurants, and airplanes, and shopping malls, and cafes ... but bars). Speed limits and seat-belt laws and bicycle helmet mandates. Warning signs on public transit cautioning against exiting the vehicle while it's still moving. Workplace safety guidelines and environmental impact assessments and insurance compliance regulations that make it nearly impossible to build anything. "Safe spaces" in universities, and organizations staffed by the university-indoctrinated. Codes of conduct at conferences, and community guidelines on social media. Security procedures at airports - the metal detectors, shoe removal, liquid volume restrictions, and the rest of the counter-terrorism theatre. Gun control legislation. "Safe injection" sites, and other "harm reduction" measures aimed to smooth the addict's path to self-destruction through dissipation. Condom dispensers in high school bathrooms. Building code regulations telling homeowners what they can, and moreover cannot, build on their property.
And then of course, the nightmare of the 2020s, the era in which Safety First really came into its own as the justification for claustrophobic tyranny over the human spirit. Lockdowns. Masks. Social distancing. Work from home. Zoom school. Closed borders. Spike protein injection mandates.
If it saves just one life.
My goal here isn't to question whether any of the above examples are effective at achieving their nominal goals (they aren't). It isn't to ask if the nominal goals represent real threats justifying intervention (they don't). It isn't even to point out the rank hypocrisy - the privileging of one form of safety (for instance, from a virus) over another (for instance, from a supposed vaccine). None of that is the point.
I want to strike at the throat of the poisonous doctrine of "Safety First", that cloying, cowardly, effeminate platitude that for my entire life has thrown a ring fence around the human heart.
The subtle poison of "Safety First" is apparent in the slogan itself. If safety is first, it follows that it comes before all other concerns. Glory, honesty, joy, adventure, challenge, growth, strength, will, purpose, love, triumph ... none of them mean anything if they conflict with safety. The smallest risk of danger is enough for Safety First to interpose itself, to say no, you can't do that - it isn't safe.
Safety First takes as its basic assumption that the purpose of life is to maximize the length of life whilst minimizing the suffering in life. He who lasts longest with the least booboos wins. The quality of life, the depth and breadth of experience that a soul encounters, is of no import. Indeed Safety First does not admit of the existence of a soul; it is a mindset that could only ever take hold of minds seized by the materialist doctrine that this life is all there is, that there is nothing but a yawning chasm of nullity beyond death, that experience itself has no meaning, and that the best we can do is to postpone the inevitable crossing of the River Styx for as long as possible. The absurdity of such a goal is obvious, albeit rarely acknowledged: what sense trying to avoid the unavoidable? What sense fighting a war doomed to defeat?
Safety First cares not a bit for the sacrifices it demands. How could it, when it comes first, and is therefore by definition of greater value than anything else? How can the price of safety even be acknowledged as a meaningful concept, when safety, by making itself first, is of necessity priceless? If risk is the necessary cost of experience, Safety First immediately proclaims it a cost not worth paying, for any risk at all - whether to life, to health, or merely to self esteem - is too high a price to pay for giving up safety. This insipid logic drains human life of all colour, bleaching the vibrant emotional tapestry of ecstasy and despair, of rage and joy, of bittersweet tears and butterflies in our stomachs, of yearning and horror, into fading pastels that wash out into shades of bureaucratic grey.
It is no accident that the most common emotional disorder of our age is depression.
Safety First asphyxiates liberty. Public health authorities, environmental regulators, human resources ladies, security professionals, and the rest of the safety-industrial complex, can implement any policy they like, no matter how destructive, counter-productive, or unjustified, and need merely say "safety first" for the argument to end before it begins. There can be no valid objection to their diktats, when all accept the premise that safety comes first, for to attempt to point to the costs - whether economic or spiritual - is to paint oneself as a monster. How dare you put profit over lives? What nonsense are you talking, fairy tales about the 'human spirit', about 'freedom'? Health and safety are at stake, and that matters more than antiquated superstitions!
How many of the regulations that govern our lives did you get to vote on? How many were even implemented by people you voted for? By contrast, how many were simply imposed by administrative fiat, emanating from anonymous functionaries who simply said, we're following the science, we're doing this for your own good? How often is an opportunity for public debate even offered? This isn't new to the era of Corona - again, it's been going on for our entire lives.
Safety First is a smothering maternalism. It makes us children, lacking the faculties to be responsible, lacking the ability to defend ourselves, lacking in judgment, who for our own protection must do as mommy says. It's a dangerous world out there, and mommy doesn't want anything bad to happen to us ... and if that means keeping us all snug and safe inside and never getting to actually do anything, well then mommy is going to make sure you don't leave your room, snugglebuns.
I won't argue against a mother's instincts, when limited to their proper domain. Babies are ignorant and defenseless, and life must begin with a period of nurturing and protection if it is to have any chance of thriving. Some minimal level of competence must be attained. Yet there comes a point when a father's responsibilities must take over from a mother's imperatives. For boy to become man, he must be exposed to danger. He must be taken from the mother's sheltered creche and thrown into the wilderness, and in doing so the father takes a calculated risk ... knowing that the boy may die, that the boy's own carelessness or the world's random cruelty may slay him ... but knowing also that this is necessary, for without knowing danger the boy will always be a boy.
Safety First interrupts this process before it can even begin. It interrupts the cycle of life. By doing so it is toxic to life, in the fullest and most meaningful sense of the word life, as not mere biological activity but as process, as experience, as growth, as vitality. For the mother to prevent the father from taking his children into the world is as murderous as it is for the father to rip the infant from the mother's arms and cast it into the forest.
The crippled spirit of the father who timidly agrees with the shrew's demand that he put safety first, that he put her instincts over his own, over what he knows is necessary for the child's development, is as complicit in this strangulation of his children's lives as she is. By accepting the premises of Safety First, we are as guilty for the state of our world as the smiling tyrants who have stolen it from us.
Safety First has created a world of biological adults with the minds of shrieking toddlers, throwing temper tantrums at the merest setback or challenge. Truth hurts, but having been protected all their lives, having never experienced suffering, their minds become flaccid, develop allergic reactions to anything true that contradicts what they would like to be true ... in just the same way that children raised in antiseptic environments, who never roll in the dirt and eat it, develop autoimmune reactions.
Safety First makes us weak.
It makes us cowards.
It makes us easy to control.
And that's why the sneak rulers who mismanage the world from their hiding-holes in bureaucracies, camouflaged behind layers of shell corporations and holding companies, are so in love with it.
It isn't tyranny.
It isn’t totalitarianism.
It isn't their pathological urge to micromanage our lives.
It's merely that they care so much about us.
It's out of an abundance of caution.
It's because they put Safety First.
Imagine how different the last years would have been, had our feminized society not taken Safety First as its guiding principle. The lockdowns would never have worked: no one would have complied. People would have shrugged, there is a virus, so what, the world is dangerous, we must all die some day, let us live our lives. Business owners would have refused to shutter their doors for months on end; the threat of fines would have meant nothing next to their jealous defence of livelihood and liberty ... and they could have counted on the support of a citizenry who would willingly interpose their bodies between their local businesses and the armed thugs of the state, for a people who do not put safety first are a people willing to endure the risk of injury or death in the service of higher things. Knowing that this would happen, the authorities would never have tried in the first place ... and indeed, the authorities themselves, being drawn from a population that puts many things above mere safety, would not have been so inclined to begin with.
Imagine what our world would look like, if we prioritized what truly matters over safety.
Sex without condoms ... and the children that follow.
Mobs of unsupervised children running around outdoors, climbing trees and falling out of them, exploring forests and abandoned buildings, engaged in petty mischief and tiny mercies, learning the risks of the world and the thrill that comes from mastering them.
Boys tussling in the schoolyard, getting in wrestling matches and fist fights, hunting small wildlife with air rifles and one another with paintball guns, as they figure out how to organize and operate inside male hierarchies, how to defend themselves, how to win the respect of their friends, how to cooperate and compete.
Sidearms openly sported as a fashion accessory every bit as ubiquitous as phones, worn by men ready to draw them in defense of their property, their wives, their freedom, and their sacred honour.
Men employed as they should be, building high-speed maglev rail, and nuclear power plants, and soaring cathedrals, and space ports, with all the speed and efficiency that unfettered industrial capacity enables ... dangerous work, hard work, but well-paid work, useful work, satisfying and respected work.
Architecture built for beauty, for humanity, for warmth, built to inspire and uplift and bewitch ... not just to minimize financial risk.
Smoke-filled bars with recklessly intoxicated patrons, packed together with no mind for the fire code, dancing on tables as wild music bounces from the stage and drunken fights break out over the hot gazes of beautiful women.
Spirited public debates over the issues of the day, where reason and truth are the price of victory, speaking one's mind is prized, emotional manipulation despised, and hurt feelings elicit not solicitude but a chorus of derision and mockery.
A glittering constellation of wheel stations orbiting the Earth, mining facilities on the Moon, solar power plants around Mercury, domed cities on Mars, prospectors homesteading the asteroids, scientific expeditions to Jupiter ... all paid for in suffering, in heartache, and in lives ... but a cost cheerfully paid for the glory of adventure on an untamed frontier, for the rewards of riches won from an unforgiving cosmos, and the accolades that come to the heroes who bring that wealth home.
Putting safety last does not promise utopia. It implies scraped knees, and bloodied lips, and, yes, it guarantees dead children. It means suffering and tragedy and the ache of loss.
But it also means an escape from the prison that the world has become, this open air concentration camp of rules and regulations and fences and warning labels and mandates and speed limits and speech codes. It means preventing the worse prison that the technocrats promise, their arid dystopia of pods, bugs, plant-based diets, carbon scores, social credit systems, endless vaccinations, and virtual reality. It means embracing life with all its grime and sharp edges and pointy bits, the way you rub your cat's purring belly knowing full well the little furball is liable to suddenly and for no good reason turn your arm into a scratching post, and loving her not in spite of that, but because of it.
Animals in captivity live longer than animals in the wild. Yet, to quote Bronze Age Pervert: "chimp in state of nature never jerks off, but chimp in captivity does, wat does this mean?"
Are we really happy jerking off to the grey idol of safety?
Or is it time to grow up and live our lives as they are meant to be lived?
Love this post! Life is always at best a calculated risk but risks fuel evolution especially in the young. What I notice is that those who take safety first as a mindset live incredibly cloistered lives of quiet desperation and often engage in habits that are very unsafe in the long run: they marry the safe choice, stay in the same safe group of associates who validate their perceptions, watch the glowing screens all day, and drown themselves in pointless addictions whether it be drugs, porn, alcohol, shopping or Netflix. They're living vicariously and not really living. You have to make peace with the inevitability of your own death which leads on to what legacy you want to leave behind
Excellent rant. Agree very near 100%
The one thing I can't help stop for nagging my mind though is the correlation between the rise of safetyism and the late 20th century advances in technology.
Despite the "Right Stuff" style origins of our space program in reckless disregard for safety, NASA (and its cultural correlates) today is basically ground zero of the hyper-safetyism mentality. There seems to be something self-defeating baked into the theme of things; something in the process of developing the kinds of technologies which could produce mag-trains and space ports, which spiritually and culturally degrades the people to the point which such feats are unachievable.
Maybe it's all to do with the comfort of modern life and the implied opportunity costs that induces. We have access to seemingly endless diversions and entertainments, even if we accomplish and risk nothing.