The Right To Take Even Really Stupid Risks – Reason.com

The Right To Take Even Really Stupid Risks – Reason.com

A good piece from Reason.com on the right to take risks – if you accept the consequences:

But to a large extent, it’s the question itself that matters the most: “What the hellam I doing?” Sooner or later most of us ask that same question. We ask it when we’re doing something foolish, or brave, or unfamiliar, and we especially ask it when the situation goes sour—when we find ourselves airborne in late-morning traffic. And if we don’t ask it of ourselves, somebody else is sure to do us the favor: “What the hell arey oudoing?”

The question means that we’re taking risks, trying something new, or just pushing the boundaries of our usual behavior. It means that we’reliving, not justexisting; to pass through life without facing that question would imply a tightly constrained existence lacking risk and adventure….

But it’s important to remember that while everybody has the right to ask the question of himself and others, only the person on the spot, the person living that moment has the right to decide whether the answer is justifiable—so long as that person also bears the costs and consequences of the answer, that is. And that is what gives life so much of its value. We have the right to try, to risk dignity and even death as we take the basic fact of existence and mold it into a life worthy of the name through a personal choice of experiences, occupations, and adventures.

So when others try to answer the question for us, to prevent us from taking the risk because they don’t approve, they don’t just do us a disservice—they rob us of the freedom that gives life its value. Through laws and taxes and regulations they try to consign us to an existence instead of a life; and this is not because the decisions they would make for us are necessarily bad decisions, but because they are not our own

We have the right to demand that attitude of everybody: disagree with us, call us fools, live your own lives differently, but don’t try to tell us what decisions we may make in the conduct of our lives. Because the value of life is determined not by the mere drawing of one breath after another, but by the freedom to make our own decisions; to mold our lives as best we can into a shape that pleases us, and to enjoy the benefits or suffer the consequences.

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