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For Immediate Release 7/1/19
Exchanging Liberty for Safety Creates a Prison Where Everyone is Screwed
by Nathaniel Sullivan
As an avid mountain climber, I certainly understand the importance of safety. One wrong move on a mountain ledge and it’s a long way down. Storms rapidly blowing in the alpine wind, fog clouding the route, and wild animals are all some of the basic dangers that serious hikers will eventually contend with, in one way or another. I’ve certainly had my fair share of close calls with bears and cliff ledges. The trick is to learn from each mistake before it kills you, and improve your attitude, gear, and precautions in ways that make you a more efficient and capable climber. Everyone can make a mistake—it is learning from those mistakes that creates a true survivor.
Safety and proper preparation are no joke.
It is a serious matter, both in the wilderness and back in civilization, and it must be handled properly and logically—not emotionally.
However, pending society’s collective movements, and its eagerness to hand over liberty after liberty for a feeling of safety, it appears as though it is time to point out that the life and society this trend will create is neither safe, nor is it morally right.
It is stifling.
Like all things, is important to understand the root and the consequences of trying to create the feeling of safety in our daily lives.
Because pursuing perfect safety via a morally and emotionally twisted route creates a prison, and, ironically, prisons are one of the most dangerous places there are. As any prison warden will tell you, not much is made in prisons aside from shoddy drugs and weapons. When people have no freedoms, they become animals, with addled minds and senseless rage.
Of course, the analogy is not ideal. It should be noted that prisons typically are composed of what society has deemed as “dangerous individuals” to begin with, yet the analogy also holds some water because the same principle would apply if you were to round up 1,000 random people off the street and throw them into a cage for their “safety.”
Although most of the people rounded up might be upstanding citizens, put them in a padded cage and they will start acting like animals within a surprisingly short period of time.
This is not opinion—it is a well-known psychological phenomenon.
It’s now summer in Colorado and there are a lot of eager new travelers exploring this beautiful state, let’s go back to the hiking analogy. To be a safe mountain climber, you don’t have to sacrifice your liberty. You don’t have to say, “I will no longer hike, because it can be dangerous.” You don’t have to say, “no one should be allowed to hike alone, no one should be able to hike without being properly screened first, and while escorted by a police officer.” That would be outrageous. The whole point of the climb is that it is a challenge, just like life, in the raw elements of nature. It is insightful, introspective, and it can change the way a person views the world for the better.
Instead, to be a safe climber, a hiker takes personal responsibility for their own actions. They bring their own gear and improve upon it. They train small before they go big. They research the area they will be hiking in beforehand. And with these methods, they improve their safety drastically without taking the fun away from the challenge.
In other words, safety is improved without sacrificing any liberty, or in any way hindering the enjoyment of an activity. Isn’t that what we should strive for in all aspects of human wellbeing?
Once more, to highlight the distinction I am talking about, allow me to close by saying that there is a big difference between trying to be safe, and giving up freedoms and liberties for an illusion of safety. If we give up a freedom to make something safer then we aren’t truly making it safer, we’re just making it unwieldy and floundering, while at the same time suffocating those who need to breathe the fresh air to thrive.
Like every safety law which infringes on individual liberty created under the intention of helping people, there is always a hidden cost.
When examined from a wholistic outlook, freedom and individual responsibility are the best answer to pathing the path for the healthiest society possible. It is how humans function best, because it works in conjunction with our innate nature.
In the plainest words possible: Stay free and you’ll stay safe.
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Nathaniel Sullivan is a Colorado writer and libertarian. He is the author of Morphic Ice 1 The Clockwork War, and other various fiction novels and non-fiction works.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Lance Cayko at 303.775.7406 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org.