Safety is Just an Excuse

There's such a thing as too much safety.
There's such a thing as too much safety.

I remember when there were no seat belt laws. Heck, the car my parents owned when I was born had no seat belts in the backseat; I don’t recall if it had any in the front. It was an old, boxy station wagon, so they set the playpen up in the way back and I bounced around back there. Decades after requiring seat belts, they forced car manufacturers to install “passive restraints,” which is why we have air bags in cars today.

I believe an airbag saved my face from a great deal of trauma and allowed me to walk away from an accident a couple years back, so I am not against airbags, just against regulations that require them. I think we should let the free market and the customer decide if a car needs airbags. If someone wants to drive a stripped down, cheap car without airbags, that’s their right. If a motorcyclist doesn’t want to wear a helmet, that’s their right, too.

Speaking of helmets, I also remember when most states didn’t require helmets for motorcycles. In fact, I never wore a helmet riding a bike as a kid, and I didn’t start wearing a helmet skiing until Sonny Bono skied into a tree and killed himself in 1998. Yet here I am, whole and undamaged.

As a kid, I also owned a BB gun, and I never shot my eye out (or anyone else’s). I also played with lawn darts, because they had not yet tried to legislate safety. When I was a kid, we were free to be daring and dangerous, to bonk our unprotected heads, to scrape our bare knees, and to play football in the street. Today, kids stay indoors and play video games, which I suspect are more violent and do more harm than anything we did on the playground.

The Nanny State

Back in the day, it was our parents’ responsibility to make sure we looked both ways before we crossed the street and didn’t run with scissors. Today, the nanny state wants to tell us what to do to keep safe.

That’s one reason we have warning labels on everything we buy. (Lawyers are the other reason.) Every time someone hands me a carbonated beverage, I expect to see a warning that says “Warning: Do not shake. Contents under pressure. Open at your own risk.”

Even beneficial drugs have warning labels, which I find amusing. In fact, the label on my bottle of ibuprofen has so many warnings, they had to print on the inside and the outside of the label. To find out the recommended dose, I have to peel the label off the bottle. Does that sound “safe” to you?

How many kids were killed by plastic bags before the government insisted they carry warning labels? I bet it is a far smaller number than how many people are killed by criminals who are out on early release or no bail. Maybe we need warning labels on people who are awaiting trial or are on probation. If they can develop apps to tell us when we are near someone who has been exposed to COVID, why not one to tell us when we are near a violent criminal?

I guess some kinds of safety are more important than others. The government doesn’t seem to mind if you shoot fireworks at the police during a “mostly peaceful” protest, set buildings on fire and smash store windows, but don’t let them catch you driving without your seat belt.

Their version of safety didn’t protect Silicon Valley tech executive Bob Lee when he was stabbed to death in San Francisco last week. But at least no trans people’s feelings were hurt, and the homeless were all treated with dignity.

Going Overboard

Let’s face it: The government has gone overboard when it comes to efforts intended to make us safe. They took what was a good idea fifty or sixty years ago, like setting minimum standards for contaminants in drinking water, and took it too far. Waaaay too far. Today, they will inconvenience 320 million Americans to save 18 lives per year. Yet they will leave tens of thousands of Afghanis at the mercy of the Taliban.

I am also frustrated when the government tries to protect us from ourselves. I think that engaging in dangerous behavior is a personal choice and a right. It may kill you, but your lack of a helmet is unlikely to harm someone else. Maybe the government shouldn’t save people prone to making bad life choices. Perhaps humanity would be better off if people saved by the nanny state weren’t around to add to the gene pool.

So why, in this era of increased safety regulations and warnings, do governments ignore the obvious dangers presented by mentally ill homeless people, violent drug addicts, open borders, and common criminals who should be locked up?

Because these rules and requirements have never been about your safety; they are about control. The government is constantly looking for new ways in which they can interject themselves in your life and tell you what you can and cannot do. Safety regulations give them a hook they can use to control you. They don’t care about your safety; it’s just an excuse.

Fight Back

My advice is to do something a little risky.

I’m not suggesting you leave your seatbelt off or cross the center line while driving. I’m talking about doing something exhilarating, like riding a mountain bike or a dirt bike at the edge of your control or parachuting, bungee jumping, or hang gliding. These are all things that can be done safely but still make you go “Wooo!” and want to high five someone afterwards.

I expect if more people did this, there would be less depression and suicide.

I think humans need occasional danger. We need a jolt of fear to spike our adrenaline from time to time. It not only reminds us we are alive, it makes us value life that much more. It also trains us to perform while under stress and to react better when to danger.

So follow the rules when it makes sense to do so, ignore them when they are stupid and there’s a low likelihood of getting caught, and then go out and do something exciting.

You can also fight back by not caving in, by pushing back and insisting on your rights. Don’t send your kids to public school. Carry a concealed firearm; the safety folks hate the idea you might protect yourself. Don’t let the police in your house unless they have a warrant. Never give consent and remember your right to remain silent.

Limit the information the government and their private sector helpers can collect about you. Stay off social media. Shop with cash. Own things outright. Leave your phone at home from time to time or stick it in a faraday bag when you are on the road. Use a VPN. Drive an older car that won’t track your every move. Use multiple email addresses, delete your cookies, and change the name of your Wi-Fi router every few months. That will mess with the data collectors.

Don’t feed the Beast

Everything the government does requires funding. Once they create a new safety rule, they have to pay for it to be enforced. You can undermine enforcement by paying as little taxes as possible. (Look what happened when the liberals defunded the police. Maybe we should defund the EPA, the ATF, the IRS, the Department of Education and a few other agencies.)

The easiest way not to pay taxes is not to work. The best way to do that while still getting an income is to get on disability.

If you prefer to work–good for you–get an accountant and explore ways to lower your taxes. One way is to form a business and write off reasonable business expenses. It doesn’t have to be a full time business; a side gig is fine. Depending on the business, reasonable expenses could include your phone, a computer, possibly your vehicle (or you can deduct mileage), and travel. For example, I depreciated the cost of building my chicken coop because I sell eggs, and I wrote off the cost of my beehives because I sell honey. I hope to make a profit in a few years, but until then, I’m lowering my tax bill by deducting these expenses.

But it can go beyond farming. Imagine, for example, you make custom holsters; you could write off the cost of a few guns. If you are a firearms trainer, you can write off ammunition purchases. If you are a contractor, you can write off your tools, likewise if you are a shade tree mechanic.

When the SHTF, it won’t matter if your guns were tax deductions. The bad guy won’t know the ammo you shot him with was deducted from your tax return. Think of it as killing two birds with one stone.

The government is conditioning us to be safe. I’d rather be dangerous.