The above quote has been attributed to Helen Keller and is a good reminder to us all that there is no such thing as a safe world, at least, the world as we know it in this life. We cannot legislate safety, just as we cannot legislate high morality. What we CAN legislate is merely hedge in, contain or slow down external manifestations of evil. Safety goes up and the level of risk and potential morbidity of situations facing us goes down when we continuously work at fostering a society comprising of people with high levels of morality and civic virtue. It means building good character in our own lives and inspiring it in others. It means caring for other people just as much as we would care for our own selves.
There is a tropism toward eliminating risk by governments, business and social leaders in this world. Yes, all of us do our own risk assessments and make our own decisions regarding how we will manage risk in our everyday lives. However, when we “outsource” decision-making and risk management to governments and institutions, then we must expect that they move in the direction of eliminating the risks to their reputations and being voted out of office or forcibly removed. “Outsourcing” has been bandied about as the proverbial way to go but has become for many a convenient excuse for abdicating responsibility. So, when we the people abdicate our own responsibilities to grow up and be mature, do not expect the government to remain mature for long. Republics and “free societies” remain free only as far as their peoples remain free themselves. This means taking the responsibility and assuming the risks associated with spectacular success or frightful failure.
Risk can not be eliminated. It must be assessed, managed and ameliorated in real time in a “future-focused” framework. The amount of residual risk after we have done what we can is then something we accept and move forward with or reject, freeze and tremblingly await what we know must come next. That horror descends upon us even as we frantically flail about implementing measures that we know will end in failure.
If we find ourselves in situations that are thrust upon us by the viccissitudes of politicians, we need to strengthen ourselves and do what good we can, even as we expand our spheres of influence as we endeavour to persuade others to do what is right and not grasp at every straw we think is within reach.
Don’t try to Eliminate Risk, or we will end up in the Emergency Room. With more patients than we have now or will be able to handle.