The Phoenix paper recently published a Letter to the Editor from a very concerned fellow. You could just see his furrowed brow and feel his hand-wringing angst regarding the idiots who fall over the edge at the Grand Canyon. The writer felt that the rest of us should pay for barriers that would mar the beauty and grandeur of the place but would keep morons from falling in while they take their selfies.
I’d like to (ever so tenderly) suggest to this gentle soul that this is a perfect example of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
In the last 50 years or so, we’ve somehow come to believe that we can and should be protected (by the government in most cases) from ourselves. That maybe if we make enough laws and erect enough barriers, nobody will ever again have to take responsibility for their own poor decisions. Our lives are filled with warning labels, reminder tones, caution lights, alarm bells and all manner of danger signs, most telling us things that we used to rely on common sense to bring to our attention. Yes indeed, that table saw can and will cut off a hand if you lay it out there, and if you take a power cord into the hot tub to charge your laptop, you’ll be the one getting the charge. Do we really require red plastic 4x6 inch labels to point this out?
If we actually do depend on all of those red plastic labels, what does it say about the people we’ve become? Nothing good, I’d posit.
Whether it’s a warning label on a power tool or a barrier at a scenic overlook, it’s pathetic that we’re such dithering dunces that we can’t feel safe and protected without them.
In the first place, the people who most require being protected from themselves are the ones least likely to read and heed warnings. Secondly, each of us, through our taxes and elevated prices, pay for every single cautionary or protective device and sticker out there. Third and most important is the basic fact that, by requiring and funding all of those safety measures we’re circumnavigating one of nature’s most basic laws.
Survival of the fittest is a maxim that dictates exactly what it says. If you’re past the age of having your parents watch over and instruct you and you’re so darn dumb that you can’t stay away from the edge of the abyss or out of the lion habitat, then I don’t think that we need your contributions to the gene pool. From man’s beginning, plenty of us have shot from the womb as simpletons and too many of the slow among us have always reproduced. Is it really necessary that we promote the multiplication of fools by cosseting them?
Darwin thought that the individuals best adapted to their environments are more likely to survive and reproduce. Well, stupidity isn’t among desirable traits for either survival or reproduction. Let’s not encourage it.
Leslie Baker lives in Linden.