The last eighteen months in America have been particularly strange. A “pandemic” with flu-like symptoms (and death tolls), extreme government responses to that pandemic, and the passive willingness of the majority of the U.S. population to blindly follow what a talking head on television (or labeled a “government official”) says under the assumption that they are looking out for our own good.
Maybe the responses of the media and the government were done with good intentions (a strong argument could be made that they weren’t), but possibly the most disturbing aspect of the last eighteen months has been the lack of response by the American people to the trampling of our freedoms.
Why are people so passive? Dennis Prager has an answer. Prager writes,
As many observers have noted, staying safe has become a religion. “Safetyism,” as it is sometimes 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 or synagogue, 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-19 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 failure of generations of schools and parents to teach liberty, while successfully teaching the worship of safety.
If your father had to die alone, it was worth it for the sake of safety; if your mother had to be in what amounted to solitary confinement in a nursing home for more than a year, that, too, was worth it for the sake of safety. And, of course, if political leaders and leaders in science and medicine have to lie for the sake of safety, so be it; truth, too, is less important than safety.
Prager hit the nail on the head. Our culture has become a culture which values comfort and lack of risk over freedom, which values safety over the possibility of failure. This is the natural long-term fallout of awarding participation trophies without, at least, acknowledging and praising excellence of results and ability along with grit, determination, and the ability of the players to be self-directed on their own time in order to put in the work. In other words, to think for themselves.
Of course, we can place a huge part of the blame for this at the feet of a national education system which has the rules set by an overwhelmingly liberal government bureaucracy and leftist teachers’ unions. With those rule-setters in place, even conservative teachers who care about their students and care about liberty and personal responsibility have a difficult uphill battle to fight to make any headway in helping any child to take charge of their life.
It’s a tragedy, and one that too many Americans let happen by passively trusting that school administrators, bureaucrats, and politicians would do the right thing.
And, now, we have the difficult work of re-educating a country full of people who grew up thinking that life would be easy and that government will take care of them. The sad reality that they’ll eventually learn, one way or another, is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch and that valuing safety above all else leads to a dull and dangerous life.