Monday, September 21, 2009

Comment Elsewhere: Zero-Risk Culture

Over at Terry's place I wrote:
I’m not the first to make this point, but our nation’s “zero-risk” approach to life is going to paralyze us if we don’t start pushing back on it pretty hard.

Terry turned that into a very interesting and personal discussion of the nature of risk and fear. Some key points
Taking a chance means being willing to fail in order to succeed, and we should be able to evaluate those odd objectively. Going for a morning run in the park is a reasonable risk, as is taking a solo vacation, or submitting a novel. Yes, there’s a chance of failure, but the potential reward makes it a good payoff.

That doesn’t mean being stupid, however. We need to recognize when danger is real and respond accordingly, by locking our house doors, checking references of daycare providers, making sure the brakes on our cars are in good working condition. And that also means stopping to question whether what we’re hearing on the tv is told to scale or if it’s inflated to sensationalist proportions in order to win ratings. Quite often, there’s more at work than just the facts.

I couldn't agree more.