Safetyism, the New Religion

We raised our eight kids taking them to school in the back of a Volkswagon pickup with no seats and no seat belts. They sat on the floor of the pickup though we did have a canopy so they didn’t get wet from the rain, but there was no heater or windows. Then we moved up to a Volkswagon bus with no car seats or seat belts. They are all alive and well and are quite bold and unafraid of taking a risk today.

Staying safe has become a religion. “Safetyism,” as it is called, like all religions, places what it values — in this case, being safe — above other values. Safetyism explains the willingness of Americans to give up their most cherished values — including liberty — in the name of safety for the last year and a half.

Millions of Americans not only gave up their right to go to work, earn a living, attend church, and visit friends and relatives, but they even gave up their right to visit dying relatives and friends. One can assume that nearly every person recorded as having died of COVID died without having a single loved one at their bedside from the moment they entered a hospital until their death. The acceptance of such cruelty — irrational and unscientific cruelty, one might add — can only be explained by the desire for safety above all else.

The religion of Safetyism has increasingly deprived Americans of joys as well as freedoms. Children, in particular, have been so coddled that American children of the last two generations have probably had far less joy and far more fear than children of any previous American generation. Young children cannot take walks on their own lest child protective services be called; and monkey bars and seesaws have been removed from playgrounds. As an article in the Australian website Babyology headlined: “Monkey bars are dangerous and must be removed from playgrounds, experts say.”

Two Norwegian scientists, Ellen Sandseter (Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education) and Leif Kennair (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), wrote a study on children and risky play published in Evolutionary Psychology in which they concluded: “We may observe an increased neuroticism or psychopathology in society if children are hindered from partaking in age-adequate risky play.”

One of the most prevalent comments I get from people when I tell them about my bicycle trips across the country is, “that sounds terribly dangerous!”

Take five minutes to watch the video of my son-in-law and my grandkids. I guarantee that you will be blown away by the risk and danger these kids who are 6, 8, and 10 years old face. This is an amazing video of parents teaching their kids to take risks and to not be afraid of danger. I put it on my Facebook page a few months ago. Cut and paste this to your internet to watch.

2 thoughts on “Safetyism, the New Religion

  1. Gilbert of Corvallis

    Several days ago, you posted on the cancellation of your bike trip, which I think was a prudent decision. Today’s post decries the over emphasis on caution.
    Several quotes that come to mind reflect this balance of courage and caution:
    Discretion is the better part of valor – Shakespeare
    Courage and strength are nought without prudence. Edward Whymper English mountaineer, first to ascend the Matterhorn in 1865.
    When prudence is everywhere courage is nowhere – Cardinal Mercier of Belgium, b.1851
    And, The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!” Proverbs 26:13 The meaning of which I believe is, “So? Go out and run it off!!”

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    Reply

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