Like a Set of Fine China

All societies have inherent contradictions, as all people have them (we call it hypocrisy but essentially it’s where our actions don’t fit our supposed beliefs). This was true of the founding of this country, when we claimed all men were created equal as we slapped Africans in chains. And it’s even more true today… we want free markets yet do our best to impede them with rules and regulations. We mitigate risk or danger with one hand while encouraging it with the other. Parents force their kids to wear awkward bike helmets despite a very low risk of serious injury while encouraging our kids to swim despite the significantly higher risk of drowning. In general, our society has increasingly become more and more risk averse, to the point that we have created a huge problem of various allergies because we’ve kept our kids too clean and too sheltered.

But because life is filled with risk, we can’t avoid it, which makes our attempts to do so all the more contradictory. Take COVID-19, for example. We shut down schools but leave daycares open. Stop and think about that. Have you ever visited a place crawling with more sickness than a daycare? We shut down churches but leave liquor stores open. Your kids can’t play in your local park but you can fly to a nearby state. So full of contradiction, all to avoid a relatively small risk. When did we forget that life is about risk? Life is meant to be spent, not hoarded away like your grandmother’s set of fine china, always saved for that one special dinner that never comes. We walk out that door in the morning, we may not return. And that’s okay. No matter how much we try, death catches up with us all. As William Wallace said in the movie Braveheart, “all men die but not all men really live.”

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