Tag Archives: Safety

Bubble-Wrapped Americans: How the U.S. Became Obsessed with Physical and Emotional Safety, by Sam Jacobs

America has become a nation of pathetic wimps. From Sam Jacobs at ammo.com:

In America we say if anyone gets hurt, we will ban it for everyone everywhere for all time. And before we know it, everything is banned.”

It’s a common refrain: We have bubble-wrapped the world. Americans in particular are obsessed with “safety.” The simplest way to get any law passed in America, be it a zoning law or a sweeping reform of the intelligence community, is to invoke a simple sentence: “A kid might get hurt.”

Almost no one is opposed to reasonable efforts at making the world a safer place. But the operating word here is “reasonable.” Banning lawn darts, for example, rather than just telling people that they can be dangerous when used by unsupervised children, is a perfect example of a craving for safety gone too far.

Beyond the realm of legislation, this has begun to infect our very culture. Think of things like “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces.” These are part of broader cultural trends in search of a kind of “emotional safety” – a purported right to never be disturbed or offended by anything. This is by no means confined to the sphere of academia, but is also in our popular culture, both in “extremely online” and more mainstream variants.

Why are Americans so obsessed with safety? What is the endgame of those who would bubble wrap the world, both physically and emotionally? Perhaps most importantly, what can we do to turn back the tide and reclaim our culture of self-reliance, mental toughness, and giving one another the benefit of the doubt so that we don’t “bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security,” as President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about?

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God Bless Mother Government, from The Burning Platform


The Mafia is Disappointed . . . in Millennials! by Eric Peters

I’m a sucker for any article with “Mafia” in the title. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The insurance mafia just conceded the obvious – that sssssssaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety systems are dangerous – and then faulted people for disabling them.

A PSA created by the Liberty Mutual “family” – listen to it here – says that many drivers are “not embracing”  technologies such as Lane Keep Assist, Automated Emergency Braking – and so on – “due to their distracting sounds and lights.”

Italics added.

We truly live beyond the looking glass.

In the same mouthful, the soy boy consiglierieof the “family” who did the voice-over for the PSA admits that it is “distracting” – and distractions are unsafe – but bemoans the fact that drivers are taking steps to turn off these distractions.

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Defunct Nuclear Power Plant on California Coast Is a ‘Fukushima Waiting to Happen’, by Carey Wedler

Yet another reason to leave California. From Carey Wedler at theantimedia.org:

(ANTIMEDIA) San Onofre, CA — A nuclear power plant in Southern California that was shut down in 2012 continues to leak radioactive material and poses a threat to nearby communities.

The aging San Onofre, located in San Clemente, CA, was shut down in 2012 amid a leak that occurred due to malpractice. According to a report released in 2016, the plant “operated the reactor outside the allowable limits for pressure and temperature, causing the radiation leak that shut down the facility for good,” the San Diego Tribune noted. The shutdown also launched extensive investigations that implicated both the power company and state regulators.

Though the plant is out of operation, it still stores 3.6 million pounds of lethal radioactive waste, and according to a worker who blew the whistle on the plant just last week, a near catastrophe just occurred. As local outlet the Dana Pointer reported, plant worker David Fritch explained what happened at a public meeting:

On 3 August 2018, a 100-ton canister filled with highly radioactive nuclear waste was being ‘downloaded’ into a temporary transport carrier to be moved a few hundred yards from inside the plant to a storage silo buried near the world-famous San Onofre beach. As the thin-walled canister was being lowered into the transport cask, it snagged on a guide ledge four feet from the top. Crane operators were unaware that the canister had stopped descending and the rigging went completely slack, leaving the full weight of the heavy canister perched on that ledge by about a quarter-inch.

“Had the ledge not held for the hour or more it took workers to realize and address the error, the thin-walled canister of highly toxic nuclear waste would have fallen 18 feet to the ground below.”

Each canister reportedly has as much radiation as was released during the infamous Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

To continue reading: Defunct Nuclear Power Plant on California Coast Is a ‘Fukushima Waiting to Happen’

Cars That Parent Us, by Eric Peters

Cars have become the mobile embodiment of the nanny state. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

One of the reasons for liking old cars is they don’t try to parent you. The new stuff won’t quit trying to.

The 2018 VW Golf GTI I am reviewing this week, for instance. When you put the transmission in Reverse, the radio’s volume’s is peremptorily turned down – apparently because someone decided it wasn’t saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafe to back up while listening to the radio.

One can almost see the liver-spotted hand of your mother-in-law adjusting the volume control knob. Many new cars have this “feature” – not just new VWs.

It’s incredibly obnoxious. More so because it’s not your mother-in-law and youcan’t slap her liver-spotted hand down or – better – hit the unlock button and tell the old bag to get out now if she can’t mind her own business.

Speaking of door locks . . . .

They are just as peremptory. Some can be programmed not to be – but the default is uber peremptory. As soon as you get in and close the door, it locks. All locks. Some cars are incredibly aggressive about allowing access to the car, denying the owner access to the trunk or rear cargo area unless he very deliberately unlocks the locks, which the car slammed shut without him having asked it to.

Again, for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

The latest BMW vehicles will countermand your decision to inch the car backward with the door open – by taking the transmission out of gear and pestering you with a cloying chime that sounds kind of like this: Brrrrring! Brrrrring! Brrrrring!

Sometimes, backing up with the door open makes sound sense. You get a better idea of where the curb is and also the distance remaining between the back of your car and the car your backing up toward using your own two eyes – which have greater depth perception and peripheral vision than any fish-eye camera.

But BMW wants you to use the camera instead. No, check that. BMW insists you use the camera.  The car will not let you back up with the door cracked. The nanny cannot be told off.

There is no Off button.

To continue reading: Cars That Parent Us

The Fragile Generation, by Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt

Any decent dramatist knows the essence of good drama is conflict and risk. A good life is the same way, and we’re doing our kids no favors when we shield them. From Lenore Skenazy and Jonathan Haidt at theburningplatform.com:

Bad policy and paranoid parenting are making kids too safe to succeed

One day last year, a citizen on a prairie path in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst came upon a teen boy chopping wood. Not a body. Just some already-fallen branches. Nonetheless, the onlooker called the cops.

Officers interrogated the boy, who said he was trying to build a fort for himself and his friends. A local news site reports the police then “took the tools for safekeeping to be returned to the boy’s parents.”

Elsewhere in America, preschoolers at the Learning Collaborative in Charlotte, North Carolina, were thrilled to receive a set of gently used playground equipment. But the kids soon found out they would not be allowed to use it, because it was resting on grass, not wood chips. “It’s a safety issue,” explained a day care spokeswoman. Playing on grass is against local regulations.

And then there was the query that ran in Parents magazine a few years back: “Your child’s old enough to stay home briefly, and often does. But is it okay to leave her and her playmate home while you dash to the dry cleaner?” Absolutely not, the magazine averred: “Take the kids with you, or save your errand for another time.” After all, “you want to make sure that no one’s feelings get too hurt if there’s a squabble.”

The principle here is simple: This generation of kids must be protected like none other. They can’t use tools, they can’t play on grass, and they certainly can’t be expected to work through a spat with a friend.

And this, it could be argued, is why we have “safe spaces” on college campuses and millennials missing adult milestones today. We told a generation of kids that they can never be too safe—and they believed us.

To continue reading: The Fragile Generation

The Four-Wheeled Patriot Act, by Eric Peters

Eric Peters compares the war on autonomous cars to the war on terror. From Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Whenever Congress does something unanimously (or nearly so) you can rest assured it’s in their interests, not ours.

The USA Patriot Act comes to mind.

Another is the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act – aka the SELF DRIVE Act – which was rubber stamped through Congress the other day. This is the law that exempts automated cars from the safety requirements that apply to autonomous cars – that is, the cars which are independentof government control and controlled by us.

Just as the Patriot Act was written, not to “fight terrorism,” but to make it easier for government to terrorize us, by circumventing or simply ignoring the Bill of Rights.

Same operating principle behind both.

There is irony – and malevolence – here.

Irony, because the same government that endlessly croons about “safety” – when it suits – is willing to back burner safety when it suits. If a car company dared to even suggest that it might be a good idea to install air bag Off switches in new cars (and it would be a very good idea, if safety is a concern, given how dangerous air bags are; not can be, but are) that company would be the focus of great abuse if not threatened prosecution.

Meanwhile, the SELF DRIVE Act will exempt automated cars from the necessity – under laws that apply to autonomous cars – of having things like steering wheels and brake pedals and other controls by which a human might intervene to save himself in the event the automated car makes a mistake.

It is presumed automated cars will never make a mistake, that their systems and technology are immune to defects, wear and tear and so forth.

You know. Like air bags are.

It’s not very “safe.”

And yet, it slid through Congress like shit through a goose.

It’s worth noting that no one is suggesting commercial airliners – which already have the ability to fly themselves, including take-off and landing – do so without human pilots standing by to step in just in case. Much less have cockpit controls removed and the now ex-pilots told to go watch a movie back in Coach.   

Why is it acceptable to do exactly that with machines that are more dangerous, en masse, than airliners simply by dint of numbers? There are only a few thousand airliners flying on any given day.

How many millions of cars are out there?    


To continue reading: The Four-Wheeled Patriot Act

“Healthy Choices” by Eric Peters

Why can’t safety be a matter of consumer choice and value versus cost, instead of an imposed government diktat? From Eric Peters on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:
People have been trained not to think with precision – to use words sloppily – a necessary bit of groundwork for authoritarian demagogues to succeed.

For example, it is easy – because people don’t think about it precisely – to characterize Libertarians as “selfish” because they (supposedly) don’t want to “help” others.

You know, like Democrats (and Republicans) do.

But hold on. When a Democrat (or a Republican) politician talks about “helping” others, doesn’t he mean taxing others? Is he reaching into his pocket?

Or someone else’s?

Defined with precision, “helping” others in modern political parlance means the use of state power to redistribute wealth – with the politician acting as a middleman. This is a very different thing – morally as well as actually – than one person freely giving of his time or resources to assist another person in need, the precise (and intellectually honest) definition of helping others.

So how about “safety”?

The federal government – the politicians and bureaucrats – claim that anyone (like me) who opposes things like mandatory air bags in cars is opposed to… “safety.”

No, not at all.

I hold that anyone who wants to – and is willing to pay – should be able to purchase a car with as many air bags as they like. Throw in back-up cameras, anti-whiplash head restraints (that make it hard to see anything behind you) a roof that will support the weight off the car if it turns upside down (even if it adds several hundred pounds of weight to the car and so makes it use a lot more gas) and so on.

I am opposed to none of these things.

I am opposed to being force-fed these things.volvo wagon

And to being made to subsidize these things.

If – as we are regularly told – America is a free country, then why on earth are we not free to choose for ourselves how much “safety” we want and are willing to pay for? And why are some of us made to subsidize the “safety” other people want but aren’t willing to pay for themselves?

Isn’t this – forcing everyone to buy (and so, subsidize) the degree of “safety” deemed appropriate according to the arbitrary decrees of unelected, ensconced-for-the-duration apparatchiks within the bowels of the federal regulatory agencies – exactly the same as being required to buy only “nutritious” food?


And if we can be forced to buy things like air bags because a federal bureaucrat or politician believes they are “good for us” then why couldn’t we also be forced to buy “nutritious” food?

Why not?

The only reason why not is because the politicians and bureaucrats have gotten around to that…. yet.

But, they will. They must. It is inevitable.

To continue reading: “Healthy Choices”

Agencies and Apparatchiks, by Eric Peters

If you start thinking about all the things we’ve come to take for granted, especially about government, very little makes any sense at all. From Eric Peters on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Why is the government even involved in dictating “safety” standards for new cars?

Did the EPA ever get put to a vote?

These are legitimate questions. But rarely asked – and forget about answered.

The Constitution lists – enumerates – the specific powers the government is supposed to have. The Constitution also clearly states that the specific powers not enumerated are “reserved” to the people and the states.

Well, where does it say in the Constitution that the federal government shall have the power to lay down bumper impact standards? Or require that cars be fitted with air bags and back-up cameras?

Just asking…
VW – and all the rest of them – have to bend knee to this “agency” (NHTSA) which no one that I am aware of ever elected. Isn’t the process supposed to be that we elect representatives who then write laws – which we have some degree of veto power over via removing from office representatives whom we decide no longer represent us?

How do we get rid of apparatchiks within an “agency” who never submit to an election – who are effectively tenured for life – but who have assumed the power to write laws? How did they get this power? And – better question – why do we defer to it, accept it as legitimate?

It’s palpably not.

We’re told as kids that we live in a country run by the consent of the governed. Really? Did any of you consent to any of this? Were you even asked?

Or did it just kind of happen – and now you’re required to accept it? Just because?

It is very odd. Or rather, at odds with what we’ve been told.

Remember the line about “no taxation without representation”? Well, uhm … what else is it when the government adds a cost to a new car that you’re forced to pay, but never asked you – never asked anyone – whether they thought it was a good idea, but rather simply decreed that it will be so?

If it walks like a duck…livestock

The “safety” stuff is particularly obnoxious because the “safety” of an adult human being is clearly no business of anyone’s except that adult human being and perhaps his immediate family, who may exert emotional pressure on him to do – or not do – this or that. But there is no issue of the commons. A man not wearing his seat belt may get hurt as a result of this choice, but he hurts no one else as a result of his choice. A man who drives a 1,600 pound pre-air bag/crumple zone Beetle may regret it if he drives it into a tree – but that is his business, is it not? His driving the old Beetle doesn’t hurt anyone else, at any rate. And is therefore his business – assuming we are free adults and not livestock owned by others who have an interest in safeguarding their property.

To continue reading: Agencies and Apparatchiks