How Can We Be Safe?

Safety is at the heart of a number of today’s most pressing issues. We all want to feel safe, but what does that really mean? Is it even possible to be safe from everything?

There are several different threats facing us, and fear of those threats drive our behavior, from how we speak, to who we vote for, to how we want our taxes allocated.

Some people feel they are not safe on an individual, personal level. For example, someone might be afraid of crime, so they advocate for a larger, more powerful police force to protect them. Alternately, others may fear the police, so they urge law enforcement reform.

Some people fear getting sick, or transmitting the virus to others, so they stay at home, or wear a mask when they go out in order to be safe.

Some threats are more nebulous. Climate change threatens our entire species, but that danger isn’t concrete. How can we safeguard the world from this danger?

Safety is harder to pin down as the threats get more abstract. How to we stay safe from losing our way of life, whether it be from other countries, degrading social or political norms, or zealots or terrorists? Or our own tyrannical government?

What is the best way to ensure that we are all secure and able to prosper? Is it through force, like a powerful military or law enforcement? Is it through a social safety net to protect the weakest or most disadvantaged? A strong set of laws, with a punitive penal system? An armed populace? Collective action, including protests?

How can we be safe?

Related questions:  How do you know who to trust? Where does authority come from? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? What direct experience do you have with law enforcement?




1 thought on “How Can We Be Safe?”

  1. My biggest fear is climate change.

    We can no longer turn back the clock. It’s currently happening and will get worse for decades to come. The best we can do is mitigate its current and future impacts and gradually stop its progression. By that time, we will already have experienced dramatically higher sea levels, extreme heat, much more violent storms; increased species extinction; challenges to (if not failures of) our physical infrastructure, agriculture, air and water quality, etc.

    Right now, most of society chooses active ignorance, remains defeatist, or — in an incredibly lazy response — expresses pride in younger generations’ ability to meet the challenge. These are not options if we want to save humanity. Change can happen. We are living through an example of how that’s possible: the pandemic (at least for a while) reduced our use of fossil fuels, led to cleaner air, dramatically decreased our wasteful and consumptive ways, etc. (I should note, I don’t think a pandemic economy is the answer; we must be more intentional about how to be sustainable.)

    So, how will we be safe? Sacrifice and intentional action. While it will be painful, we need to change our economies to accept limits rather than be reliant on continual growth. We need to transform and build an energy infrastructure that taps into natural processes (e.g. solar, wind, tidal, etc.) rather than extracting natural resources. Local economies must be revitalized. We need to “need” less. We need to revere nature. And so much more …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *