Archive for November 6, 2016

Comforting Lies

I recently read an article, “Running While Female,” and The Comforting Lie of Safety.

From the article…

“But it’s even more misguided to believe that we can create a safe environment for women everywhere.

The fact is, it’s not a safe planet. It’s not safe for rabbits or cows or gazelles, or for women or men. This is a truth that Western societies have beautifully concealed with antibiotics, airbags and security systems, and so it’s always upsetting when a murder or a survey suggests that we’ve been comforting ourselves with a lie.”

“It’s easy to ride around with our Coexist bumper stickers and assume that we ought to be safe, but nature laughs at the concept. A rabbit doesn’t have the “right” to be safe while sitting exposed in a field. Should humans? The inherent brutality of the world, which theologians and philosophers have grappled with for thousands of years, has been papered over so much that we believe safe is the default and become outraged when it becomes clear that it’s not. That’s our bad.

We are not safe, none of us, and we become less safe when we start to believe that we are.”

These concepts go to the heart of what I find problematic with much of the progressive liberal agenda. It seems to be prevalent the thinking that the world owes you everything you need: food, shelter, clothing, tampons, birth control, medical care, smartphones, and so on. All your needs and wants met with little to nothing in return. And anyone who opposes that is racist or classist or full of microaggressions. The very idea that you’re owed something that you didn’t contribute to in any way is basically saying that you have a right to take the fruits of someone else’s labor for nothing in return. That’s slavery. It doesn’t matter what it is, someone had to work to produce it, plant it, take care of it, maintain it, provide the service, etc.

Now none of this is to mean that I think everyone gainfully employed shouldn’t be able to afford the things they need. But I do think that they shouldn’t be able to afford all the things they want. Someone working at McDonald’s cooking fries is not entitled to go to fancy restaurants every night or to get all of the latest and greatest technology gadgets. Of course, I do think that our priorities are screwed up when it comes to compensation. I don’t think an athlete is making a far greater contribution to society than a teacher, for example, to warrant the millions of dollars difference in salaries. But I digress.

Getting back to the topic of safety it also flabbergasts me that it is expected that others are responsible for your safety. So many people respond to stories of criminal attacks with the mindset that you shouldn’t have to worry about how you dress or how you act or where you go. You shouldn’t have to refrain from showing off wads of cash because nobody has a right to attack you. You shouldn’t have to obey a police officer if you don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting drunk and passing out at a frat party because nobody has a right to take advantage of you. Some go so far as to believe there shouldn’t be any consequences for their actions. As Marc likes to say (paraphrasing), “should” is a problematic word: try using “should” with the weather and see how that works out.

That goes hand in hand with “deserve”. No, you won’t deserve to get sexually assaulted or robbed or killed. But people take it to far and rely on what they deserve to determine how to live their lives. Or use their concept of fairness and what is deserved to excuse behavior (that unarmed man attacking a cop didn’t deserve to be shot).

The world doesn’t owe you anything. Not a living, Not your health. Not your safety. If you’re not willing to provide for yourself then maybe in this case you really are getting what you deserve.