Safety Is The Slow Death

Safety Is The Slow Death

Taking a few days off. Some sharp guest posts coming next two days. Be back Monday.

The FAA whined that SpaceX launched its Starship without a “safety waiver” last December. According to one source, there will be an “investigation” into this.

In days of yore, before the cult of Safety First fully took over, the key word of that paragraph would have been Starship. Holy moly! A private company is launching star ships! Mars, here we come! Where do I get my ticket?

Those days are long past. It’s clear which are the most important words now: investigation and safety waiver.

Investigation needs no explanation. It is the lifeblood of our bureaucratic managerial state. Safety waiver needs some fleshing out, though.

It appears to mean that dangerous activities might be carried out, but only with government permission. If that’s so, then it must be that our current government knows more about space ships and their dangers than SpaceX, and since no civilian firms knows more about spaceships than SpaceX, our current expert-staffed government must know more than anybody.

So why isn’t our expert-laden government launching passenger rockets to the outer planets by now?

Something has gone wrong. The moon landing was half a century ago. Not much has happened sense. There are no Mars bases. We seem to have lost our spark. SpaceX is still vigorous, but they are in the minority. And hampered by having to file safety waivers.

That spark was there at our beginning, as it was for all empires at their start.

Glubb Pasha, the famed leader of the Arab Legion, charted the decline and fall of world empires in the essay “Fate of Empires.” He, like many historians, discovered that all empires begin in a vigorous phase, an “outburst”. The reasons for this are many, but one common aspect shown through.

No safety waivers. And no “experts”.

“These sudden outbursts are usually characterised by an extraordinary display of energy and courage” by conquerors on the outside of the current regime. “Fearless initiative characterises such periods,” he writes.

Other peculiarities of the period of the conquering pioneers are their readiness to improvise and experiment. Untrammelled by traditions, they will turn anything available to their purpose. If one method fails, they try something else. Uninhibited by textbooks or book learning, action is their solution to every problem.

The phase that follows the outburst is the nascent formation of the new empire, in which.

…the daring initiative of the original conquerors is maintained—in geographical exploration, for example: pioneering new countries, penetrating new forests, climbing unexplored mountains, and sailing uncharted seas. The new nation is confident, optimistic and perhaps contemptuous of the ‘decadent’ races which it has subjugated.

The methods employed tend to be practical and experimental, both in government and in warfare, for they are not tied by centuries of tradition, as happens in ancient empires. Moreover, the leaders are free to use their own improvisations, not having studied politics or tactics in schools or in textbooks.

Perhaps you will see in this brief description from Glubb parallels in America’s history.

After the peak comes the decline, in which is found, says Glubb, an increasing defensiveness. Safety waivers are a recent invention, a clear sign our youthful vigor has passed.

America is indeed well past its outburst phase, well past its peak, and into, what appears to be anyway, its decadent (woke) period.

We’ve entered the Safety First long decline, which is characterized by fear of how everything might harm us. This is a period where safety becomes the overriding criterion with which to judge every activity.

Safety is the slow death.

There was some snow in New York City recently. Bit more than a foot. Nothing historically shocking, or even painful, given most have grown used to hiding in their wee apartments this past year in fear of a disease they might catch.

The reporting on the storm, as in all reporting, was hyperbolic. Yet there was more than the usual fear-mongering click-baiting behind it. Some of the reporters were near tears warning just how awful this storm might be. Wear boots! Wear gloves! You might slip! You might freeze! Oh hu hu hu hu!

New York City doesn’t have a lot of accessible hills for sledding. But in many areas that do, sledding has been banned. Kids might get hurt.

We all have to wear masks, even double masks, maybe more!, because somebody might get hurt. We have to hide from other people because somebody might get hurt.

That somebody might get hurt is why evidence showing masks are useless in preventing the spread of respiratory diseases is ignored. Evidence can’t eliminate that might, not here, not anyway.

Elon Musk’s rocket might have caused harm. Indeed, it blowed up on landing—twice. The missing safety waiver didn’t prevent these explosions. It was there to allow bureaucrats to hide behind something in case somebody did get hurt.

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  1. Sheri

    Someone might get SUED. That’s a lot of it. Probably 98% of it.

    Mike Rowe comments on this:
    He does a great job of explaining why “Safety First” really isn’t practiced. It’s just words and they are used when someone wants a specific outcome. Safety is a state of mind.

    I would note that we did send a chimpanzee into space first, so we were not totally without fear when heading into space. (He has is own Wiki page. I’m nauseous…..I realize safety says to avoid Wiki but I took the risk!)

  2. Sheri
    What “safety first” gets you–a violent attacker set free. Ford Motor Company is coming out with a clear mask for lip-readers, so, though not in time for this violent felon, maybe in the future. Lip-reading is a problem. My husband cannot understand much of the speech through masks and has to have people either remove the masks or me interpret at a safe distance from the speaker.

    I always said the “safety” in masks was for the rapists, violent assault perpetrators, etc. It’s fascinating the government hates you enough to want to kill by proxy so many of its citizens.

  3. Dean Ericson

    Host writes: ”Taking a few days off.”

    Be safe out there.

  4. Gail Finke

    Sorry but I just need to vent. I sometimes get so angry. This is from today’s Dayton Daily News, which posts DAILY coronadoom freak-outs:

    “With a boost to school staff vaccinations, on Wednesday the number of Ohioans who have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine passed the total number of Ohioans with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case. On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health reported 908,096 people have received at least one vaccine dose, eclipsing the 906,727 total cases since the start of the pandemic.”

    So now more people have had the vaccine than have ever had even a “probable” Covid-19 case, which is in surely a far larger number of people than those who ever actually had it, going by a definition of “probable” so expansive that if often means “not actually probable.” MONTHS OF DOOM, all these closures, all these kids suffering, all these people unable to go to funerals and have weddings and even get together…. and BAM, suddenly it’s not a very big number of people at all who have “probably” had the disease. And who is getting the vaccines now? Vulnerable elderly people? People who work with the elderly or the sick? “Front line workers” who “risk their lives” to drive trucks and stock shelves and deliver pizzas to the important people who work at home? No. TEACHERS, who are in almost no danger. This all makes me so angry.

  5. Ye Olde Statistician

    Lukacs wrote of the Cult of Safety in A Thread of Years, a year-by-year account of the 20th century (“the shortest century on record”) in a series of quirky vignettes. Safety was a Philadelphian thing every bit as much as respectability was a Boston thing or business was a New York thing. But as with mission creep everywhere, it extended past physical safety to safety from one’s neighbor’s lawn=keeping and eventually to safety from contrary opinions and unpleasant words.

  6. John Garrett

    Sheri is correct.

    It’s the goddamned ambulance chasers.

    Nowadays, I wouldn’t let kids sled on my property for fear of being destroyed by the damn tort lawyers. When I think of where and how we used sleds as children, I know perfectly well that nobody would take the financial risk of allowing us to do that today.

  7. onezeno

    “Something has gone wrong. The moon landing was half a century ago. Not much has happened sense [sic]. There are no Mars bases.”

    Briggs, you’re real good at seeing propaganda for what it is. You might want to look into the moon landing before using it as a basis for your arguments. It’s throwing off your game.

    To answer your concern, men haven’t been to Mars because they haven’t been to the Moon. It’s doubtful men will actually go to the moon in our lifetimes (especially so when they go about it assuming we already have!), and certain they won’t go to Mars with anything approximating current technology.

  8. Dennis

    “Safetyism” is killing more people than it saves (and even when it doesn’t kill, is destroying all sane life and any modicum of joy, socializing, jobs, sports, etc). The Covid panic being exhibit A: One year on and no signs of abatement, it just gets worse even as the vaccines that were supposed to save us and free us have been out for two months now.

    Perth went into a full emergency lockdown a few days ago of over 2 million people because of one single positive test in the area the first for about a month). Australian Open prep tournaments were put on hold yesterday and all players locked down because one single person (not a player, but support staff) tested positive in a hotel some players are staying at. Utterly insanity now rules the world. Even when sports I want to watch are back on I find it unwatchable because of all the goobers sitting around in masks (even though stadiums are mostly empty anyway), the announcers virtue signalling about “safety precautions,” etc.

    I have to go meet a client to sign some docs in a bit – I hope the notary we’re meeting is not a Covid paranoiac (client is fine, but it’s ridiculous one should have to worry about this! I’ve been unable to renew my own notary since June because of the insane restrictions keeping regular business on hold at the county clerk’s office. They are finally processing renewals again, but when I called Monday they said the earliest appointment I could get is March 9! – oh, and to call ahead to let them know I’m on the way, and to call when at the door and they will come let me in, presumably someone in a hazmat suit, I guess; surprised they don’t want to spray me down with lysol of something first as well; all for something that usually took 10 minutes to do and for which one could just walk in without an appointment!).

    “There was some snow in New York City recently. Bit more than a foot. Nothing historically shocking, or even painful…The reporting on the storm, as in all reporting, was hyperbolic.”

    This kind of insane reaction to rather ordinary weather seems to happen more and more here (KY) too. Local weathermen on news are hysterical soyboys. And I have alerts set to a bare minimum on my weather app – I only want it to alert me of severe and potentially deadly weather, like tornadoes – yet I often get “alerts” for decidedly non-severe things like 15 mph winds, temperature potentially dropping below zero, or possibility of fog in the morning…etc. Ridiculous.

  9. Dennis

    ” When I think of where and how we used sleds as children, I know perfectly well that nobody would take the financial risk of allowing us to do that today.”

    This is true. When I was a kid in the early ’80s, we never even rode bikes with a helmet and hardly even wore seatbelts either! (My nieces used carseats until they were about 8!). Parents today would hyperventilate at some of the ways we played back then if they saw their own kids doing it now (even though most of them are in the same age bracket as I am and should know better. They’ve all been brainwashed by safetyism).

  10. awildgoose

    I noticed safetyism out skiing.

    Almost everyone wears a freaking helmet now.

    Growing up in the ’80s no one did.

  11. Hmm, am I mistaken in saying that the Boomers were the last relatively free generation? We got corporal punishment for making egregious mistakes, even if we didn’t get arrested for it. We got a tongue lashing if the mistake wasn’t egregious. Many of us were taught, or learned on our own, critical thinking. We also were taught that our freedoms were often paid for in blood by our ancestors.

    And yes, we did go to and land on the Moon back in the late 60s through the 70s. Men brought back rocks, and in particular, specific rocks that only trained in geology men would know to look for and gather. Our robots of the day would not have been able to do so. Only later, after actual men knew what to look for could our robots be told what to go get for us.

  12. spaceranger

    The FAA’s permitting process is only concerned about the safety of the public and not whether the rocket blows up. SpacEx is obligated to provide the FAA with assurances that their flight profile will not expose populated areas to hazards and that the FAA will have adequate notice to close the airspace. The FAA dos not build rockets. If SpacEx wants to launch a rocket, as long as they are being indemnified by the government and using out national airspace, they need to follow the same rules as everybody else.

  13. This is a multifaced monster, and a snake that bites its own tail.

    Before the massive appearence of the internet world, you had to do “things” in the real world to change it, to succeed and have recognition. It was imprinted in your basic instinct, and, although in different directions, the whole Humanity pushed forward in a competition, with efforts never coordinated, but permanent. Even the most primal, masculine wish to have feminine acceptance, needed courage, and success was recognized as another important attraction factor.

    Now, biology, entertainment, values, needs, have changed. Testosterone is on low levels. Chemicals disrupt masculine systems. Men and women who are brave and think for themselves are not regarded as role idols but as dangers to society´s security and wellness. Kids are bombed with fear, even the fear to breathe. Mobile phones have created a virtual world where you can “succeed” and have a name with an absolute lack of any virtue whatsoever, while talent and peculiarity not only don´t give you a plus, but they are a threat to the dumbed down average mass who want to keep their status after a life of suffering because they remember how tough it was for them to not reach certain standards.

    Just look at teenagers: The other day I was having a conversation with a person who has a quite important role in an oil company. It was about the direction automotive sector will take in my country, natural gas, gasoline, electricity, hydrogen, and so on. I thought he was clueless about this new world, so I told him that the problem isn´t what the choice in our country will be, or in any country, since the elites´ aim is not an ecological change to, say, electricity, as it seems now, but the total lack of need of mobility.

    That´s why I mentioned teenagers. Automobile industry fed off new generations desiring to have independence, wishing to live adventures, create an individual history, and a car gave you the first step. Now they have the world (“their world”, an hybrid between the real world and the virtual one) in their hands, literally. A change of scenario won´t change a bit the fact that they will have to keep their status in the universe inside their mobiles, and to do so they don´t need to excel, or to “move” anywhere. Which will take us to low level of testosterone, and blah,blah,blah… The classic Catch-22 situation.

  14. awildgoose


    Totally agree with the video hysteria.

    I can remember two Western expats to China on YouTube relentlessly hyping the drop-dead clips on YouTube in late 2019/early 2020.

    They took the angle that WuFlu was real, it was really bad, and the evil CCP was trying to conceal the truth from the good people of the world.

    Their little stunt certainly worked a charm.

  15. Drew

    “Something has gone wrong. The moon landing was half a century ago. Not much has happened sense. There are no Mars bases. We seem to have lost our spark. SpaceX is still vigorous, but they are in the minority. And hampered by having to file safety waivers.”

    Two points: first, hedge funds have been hiring “quants” for over two decades now. These are the type of guys that have the brains to do rocket science, brain surgery, etc with trivial ease. However, figuring out ways to profit from increasingly manipulated markets is vastly more profitable than doing that sort of work, so our geniuses have elected to use their brains to serve Mammon.

    Second, while it is apparently now fashionable amongst right-wingers to mock the desire for safety, it should be rather obvious that with financial capital choking out human capital, it’s extremely sensible to make sure that the difficult-to-replace human capital be less subject to danger and risk. There aren’t a lot of humans who have the physical fitness AND intelligence to go into outer space and return alive so it’s foolish to take any more risk than necessary with their lives given that they can’t be replaced very easily. In a general sense, the same holds true with children in light of the reality that we now have fewer of the and current economic conditions make it much more expensive to reproduce them. Lives ought not to be viewed as cheap or replaceable.

  16. Brad Tittle

    A friend of mine now has a mask that says “Safety Third”.

    He retired from the Marines. He took people into places where people were firing at them. If safety was “first”, he wouldn’t be there.

    He was not very successful at getting Safety Officers to understand that problem.

  17. cameron232

    Here’s an opportunity to tell my cubscout story. My older boys were cubscouts years ago (we pulled them out for obvious reasons). There was a rule (articulated and enforced by one of the moms) that the boys couldn’t let their marshmallows catch fire because somewhere, some kid got hit in the eye with a flaming marshmallow.

  18. Rudolph Harrier

    Wisconsin legislature just repealed their mask mandate, only for the governor to immediately create a new mandate.

    Separation of powers is a joke. Everyone in government just does what he thinks he can get away with. The only thing unusual about now is that many politicians think they can get away with more than they previously could.

  19. Dennis

    Legislatures need to start pushing back even harder against these endless “emergency ” mandates by Governors, and not only simply encourage people not to comply, but impeach or take Governors to court over it. Often Governors have lost when forced to justify measures in Court (especially endless extensions to what were initially billed as “emergencies”), but too many just meekly go along. Nearly every governor in this country, and most health officials, etc., ought to be arrested for crimes against humanity.

  20. Tom Welsh

    “We all have to wear masks, even double masks, maybe more!, because somebody might get hurt. We have to hide from other people because somebody might get hurt”.

    Meanwhile, thousands of thermonuclear warheads are ready to go; chemical and biological warfare agents are in ready supply; and governments amuse themselves by provoking other nations whose governments also have thermonuclear, chemical and biological weapons.


  21. Tom Welsh

    Maybe the citizens of Wisconsin need to repeal their governor.

  22. Barry

    When you only have one (or fewer) kid(s), it’s understandable to be paranoid. In business we all understand the need to spread our risk, not put all eggs in one basket, have a backup plan.
    Have many (6-10) children, spread your risk. Likely at least one will survive, no matter what.
    Contraceptive pill and abortion have long and searching tentacles and have led to where we are.

  23. HanSolo

    @awildgoose – was just up skiing today…ran into several branch covidians and a pronoun polly. Good fun despite the fear-mongers. Skiers shouldn’t need a helmet, but boarders probably should as they always crash on their backs/fronts and slam head against hill. I’ve never worn a helmet skiing…why start after 35 years. A cycling helmet has saved my brain bucket several times, but never thought twice about it as a kid.

    @Rogelio – excellent post – pull the power plug on the world and you’ll see some real damage.

  24. HanSolo

    @Gail – you’re not alone!

  25. JTLiuzza

    Perhaps Mr. Pasha’s context needs some clarification for me or maybe a translation issue(?), but here’s where he goes astray:

    “Untrammelled by traditions, they will turn anything available to their purpose.”

    “The methods employed tend to be practical and experimental, both in government and in warfare, for they are not tied by centuries of tradition…”

    Tradition and experimentation are not mutually exclusive. Both are necessary. Tradition doesn’t “trammel.” It teaches and defines a people, not limits them. To discard it is to sign your people’s death warrant. Look around at the west.

    In the Church that corrosive notion is sometimes referred to as “modernism.” For cdquarles and the rest of the preening boomers pretending that their generation actually did something good, how about “don’t trust anyone over thirty.”

    We are “modern man.” We are different than our forebears, which is to say better. That’s diabolical lie that appeals to pride. The devil is fond of that one. Everything that came before us is inadequate, because it was designed by inferiors, for inferiors. We need to rethink it all. We’re modern. We’re different. We’re better.

    When the dust settles, the truth is revealed that you were indeed “modern” in the same context that every man is in his time. You were also different, but not in the way you think. Which is to say you were not even close to better.

    The progeny of that generation already disdain them. There is a Divine justice and mercy there in that most of them are still around to see it, and feel it. May that so richly deserved sting move the unrepentant.

  26. Dennis

    “Tradition doesn’t ‘trammel.’ It teaches and defines a people, not limits them. To discard it is to sign your people’s death warrant. Look around at the west.”

    Ex. see anti-Pope Bergoglio just a couple days ago: While meeting with reps from leftist rag National Catholic (sic) Reporter, he referred to Traditionalism in the Church as something that “can be cured.” The Church without Tradition would no longer be the Church, just an ever-shifting agglomeration of the latest NGO-approved globalist fads. The rot runs deep throughout every institution in the West right now.

  27. Dennis

    To be slightly more precise, he said “traditionalist groups” within the Church are a problem “that can be cured.”

    As the old saw goes, “Is the Pope Catholic?” Hmmm…actually debatable at times now, it seems…though much hinges on who is true “Pope” to begin with…

  28. Rudolph Harrier

    In a sane world Evers would be removed from office immediately for this stunt. The primary purpose of “emergency powers” is to allow executives to coordinate a response to an issue which would take too long for the legislature to process. It’s stretching the definition to continue using them nearly a year later, but perhaps an argument could be made for new orders (like those relating to the vaccine). However to give an “emergency” order in direct opposition to what the legislature decided shows complete contempt for the institutions of government. He should be on the street.

    Will be interesting to see how the legislature responds. Hopefully they take the attack to him and the people for the state start a recall effort. However, those can be sabotaged too. I don’t know how it works in Wisconsin, but in Minnesota there have been multiple attempts to recall Walz which have been stopped by his buddies in the state supreme court. Something similar happened at the beginning of his tenure when he threatened to cut funding to the state congress unless they conceded to his demands. This is in blatant violation to the state constitution, but as he had the courts on his side nothing came of it. The situation isn’t going to change until people take the attitude of “the governor has made his decision, now let him enforce it personally.” We’re pretty close to that point with many sheriffs saying that they won’t bother with enforcement.

  29. Sheri

    onezeno: We have a live one here. And seriously, why no faked Mars landing? Surely we could pull that one off. (My 12-year-old self hates you. I loved the moon landing. Luckily, I’m past 12 and just find you fascinating in a odd kind of way.)

    Dennis: I’ve been tempted to show up in a full TyVek suit, gloves, booties and full hear gear with respirator just to be ornery. My husband told one person that he could not wear masks due to breathing problems (which true) and she had no idea what to do. Also, I hope the Pope is not Catholic. I had hoped for better from said church.

  30. Jane

    I worked in aerospace for many years. Through the 70s and 80s (before my time) I understand NASA didn’t so much lack enthusiasm as the nation had lost interest in space after Apollo. The Shuttle program put NASA back into the consciousness. Space became normalized, science and engineering gained importance to society with GPS, TV, radio, sat phones. Even the Challenger disaster didn’t really change anything. It was sort of like Apollo 1, it reminded everyone there are dangers so be careful but we had to push on. I started in the field not long after that and other than normal bureaucracy thing were humming along. Sept 11 happened and STEM things military and FedGov went into overdrive. Then Columbia happened. There was a palpable change in NASA. Risk aversion metastasized, everything became designed by committees with so many cross checks that nothing got done on time or sometimes at all. Especially anything manned rated. It was foregone that NASA would never be able to justify flying even the most willing astronaut eventually. NASA needs Boeing and SpaceX and the whole industry of contractors. They’ve outsourced everything so that they don’t have to accept any responsibility or risk but they can sit there critically supervising.

  31. Dennis

    Sheri: I looked up TyVek suit. That’d be hilarious! (I’ve actually seen a few people in vids posted various places of people wearing suits like these in stores, etc. – though I’m not sure if they were wearing them seriously or ironically – I hope the latter). All went well yesterday, though amusing in a sad way indicative of our times. I knew client was cool because she’d never had a mask on any time I met her before or said anything about me not having one either. Yesterday however, she did have one of those disposable surgical masks on, though pulled down under her chin, when she came to the door (throughout the meeting she’d alternated between pulling it up and down, making it rather silly to even bother at all!). I guess she figured she’d better be prepared and go through the motions since we had a notary and additional witness coming, and she might have just been unsure if they’d be masktalitarians. Witness neighbor and notary both arrived with masks, but neither said anything, or by any looks or actions indicated they gave a damn I didn’t have one, or that client kept pulling hers off half the time anyway. Fortunately, client’s husband was there as well this time to sign-off on a deed, and he was also maskless – so I had some moral support there! Just glad none of the three women were AOC or other Karen types that NYC and some places seem to be so full of noawdays, as they’d have probably accused the two of us of committing a grave assault upon their persons! What a sad joke the world has come to that this is what one has to worry about just going about ordinary tasks every day.

  32. Dennis

    Is SpaceX basically still just NASA, but outsourced with a facade of privatization? Lines Elon’s pockets I guess, but can’t see how it benefits anyone else (i.e. taxpayers). Given the huge costs it must take to run SpaceX’s R&D, etc. (and a lot of their stuff seems to blow up), I can’t fathom how they make money or Elon is the richest guy (on paper) in the world now (even including Tesla – about whose cars I’ve never read a really good review; and have never known anybody who has one).

    And that Starlink thing polluting the sky is an obnoxious crime against humanity and ought to be destroyed. Russia and/or China, please get on this.

    At least Elon does seem to be the only mega-billionaire actually enjoying himself; somebody one might want to hang out and have a few beers with. Is there a more grim-seeming bunch than the likes of Gates, Bezos, Zuckerface, Buffett, etc.? Most of the mega-billionaires seem like such joyless people I wouldn’t want to be in a room alone with for 5 minutes.

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