From warnings on coffee cups to colour–coded terrorist gauges to ubiquitous security cameras, our culture is obsessed with safety. Some of this is drive by lawyers and insurance, and some by over–zealous public officials, but much is indicative of a cultural conversation that has lost its bearings. The result is not just a neurotically restrictive society, but one which actively undermines individual and community self–reliance. More importantly, we are creating a world of officious administration, management by statistics, absurd regulations, rampaging lawsuits, and hygenically cleansed public spaces. We are trying to render the human and natural worlds predictable and calculated. In doing so, we are trampling common discourse about politics and ethics. Matt Hern (also author of several AK Press books!) asserts that safer just isn’t always better. Throughout Watch Yourself, he emphasizes the need to rethink our approach to risk, reconsider our fixation with safety, and reassert individual decision–making.
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