Without risk, there is no freedom

risk sign playground

These lines from Matthew Mather’s book CyberStorm struck me as particularly relevant to our time.

The drive to take risks, to expose ourselves to danger, to defy authority, to fight for a cause we believe in, is a powerful imperative and one that defines our humanity.

And all over the world governments are trying to systematically suppress it.

In the US the risk of terrorism is invoked as justification for reducing civil liberties and for covert surveillance of its citizens.

In Ireland our present government is attempting to remove the element of risk from our lives entirely by dictating what we eat, drink and believe, effectively occluding our freedom to choose otherwise.

And we collude in this endeavour through our refusal to oppose them, through our passivity in the face of crippling government-sanctioned austerity and through our utter capitulation in believing that we can’t make a difference.

Risk is also employed as a means of ensuring the Irish people remain compliant. The risk of unemployment, of debt, of repossessions, of things getting even worse. So we keep our heads down and don’t speak up, don’t take to the streets, don’t agitate for change.

In renouncing our right to risk all, we are sacrificing our freedom for the illusion of security that the government has conjured, an illusion as fragile as the mist.

 

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