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December 6, 2013

“I can remember when Americans weren’t afraid of everything.”

Just so. Don’t run on the playground because you might fall.
Don’t roughhouse because you might get a bruise. Don’t go outside at high noon because you might get skin cancer. Don’t swim after eating because you might get a cramp. If a child draws a soldier, call a SWAT team because he is a murderous psychopath. Don’t ride a bicycle without a helmet. Fill in the deep end of the pool because someone might drown. Supervise everything. Control everything. Fear everything. If these are not the neurotic fears of women and capons, please tell me what they are. Such run the schools. They make policy. No Child Allowed Ahead - Fred Reed

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 6, 2013 11:27 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I wonder whether the sharp increase in firearm ownership reflects this same sort of unsourceable fear. So have the Nannyists unwittingly led to a population heavily armed with high firepower?

Posted by: Donald Sensing at December 6, 2013 11:42 AM

Americans used to see difficulties and threats as challenges and a chance to overcome. That's where the American 'can-do' spirit came from. Other people saw hardship as a time to call for help from government or king. Americans saw it as a chance to shine.

That's all but gone now.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at December 6, 2013 3:39 PM

Christopher, you're obviously right - but you leave something out.

Guys our age climbed trees and mountains and raced downhill and jumped across buildings and blew stuff up and ran away from home because...it was FUN! Nannies and the nannified are above everything else just boring as hell, and who wants any of that?

Posted by: Rob De Witt at December 6, 2013 4:55 PM

Great minds, and all that:

Posted by: Jewel at December 6, 2013 7:34 PM

This makes a great contrast with your “Cliff Strike” video.

Posted by: ErisGuy at December 7, 2013 2:13 AM

Fear is the greatest mind killer. It i mobilizes the spirit and reactions. It is death in a lonely place.

Posted by: Vermont Woodchuck at December 7, 2013 3:32 AM

Doing potentially dangerous things isn't just fun and doesn't just help you overcome your fears. It also teaches you respect for when you do push the envelope a bit too far. Assuming that you live through the first time, you know what to look for when you get close to the edge the next time. Like Chuck Yeager in the X-1, sometimes the solution is to firewall the throttle and push on through. Other times, backing off might be the right choice. But you'll never know if you're always afraid of even getting close to your limits.

Posted by: waltj at December 7, 2013 7:34 AM

Points taken, I'd urge kids of all ages to do almost all that, but I draw the line at cramps while swimming. Whatever causes cramps, they're no joke. Fortunately for me, I was in the shallow end of the pool.

Posted by: Daniel K Day at December 7, 2013 9:39 AM

Daniel Kay,

I hear ya about cramps, and I'll raise you jumping off of roofs. The people who told me not to do that stuff were right, natch, but they'd blown their credibility by constantly telling me to be afraid of EveryDamnThing - and this was in the '50s. They believed in medicating boys, too, the drug of choice at that time being phenobarbitol. And I figured out how to hide the pills in my cheek and spit 'em out.

So I learned, like waltj points out. And I've got the scars to prove it. Still, leaning on 70, my first instinct is "If you're afraid of it, do it. Otherwise you'll never know, and regret is a poor companion."

I would never ever survive among the nannies.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at December 7, 2013 1:48 PM

Ah, cramps while swimming. I had a bad one once while scuba diving. This situation taught me very quickly to remain calm, relax, and, most importantly, continue breathing, with the regulator in place. Quite important when you're 50 feet underwater. After a minute or so (which seemed like forever), the cramp eased, and I was able to complete the dive. It was not a fun experience, but I learned from it, and haven't had a problem since.

Posted by: waltj at December 8, 2013 6:01 PM

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