While channel surfing yesterday, I stumbled across a rugby match. New Zealand and France were playing for the rugby world championship (whatever that is). I decided to stop and watch for a while, as I have never really seen a rugby match. And it was brutal.
It takes a real man, unlike me, to play this rugged, brutal sport. With the exception of one or two players, all wore no protection: no helmet, no pads, nothing! Over the hour that I watched, two players were injured and needed medical attention. Amazingly, the officials didn’t even bother to stop play as the medics were tending to players. After New Zealand won, I went back to American rugby – football. Although, after watching rugby, football didn’t seem as “cool”.
American football, and to a large degree, American life, is played out with safety as the top priority. From the waist up, American football players are encased in protective wear. They wear specially designed helmets, robust shoulder pads, tight fitting rib guards, perfectly shaped elbow pads, and padded gloves, all to minimize the chance of injury. And I’m sure that each piece of that protective armor is regulated by some federal law so that some minimum safety standard is met.
Rugby players – they wear no protective gear. Rugby players know the sport is rough, and choose to play anyway. How many rugby players sport a complete set of teeth? Yet, the sport is played without much regard to personal safety. You see, it’s the game that matters most, not ensuring that every square inch of the human body is protected during play. When safety becomes the overriding goal, things change – and liberty fades. And I’m worried that we are trading (the appearance of) safety for our liberties. And don’t think Big Government isn’t eager to facilitate this trade. Our government is obsessed with safety, so much so, that if government were a person, we’d have them on medication for OCD. Nearly every federal rule churned out each year by all the alphabet soup agencies is aimed at making us safer.
Under the guise of safety, our government can deny, limit, and ban nearly anything it deems too dangerous. Throw children into the mix, and the rules grow by a factor of 10. But protecting us from ourselves shouldn’t be the prerogative of lawmakers and bureaucrats. For kids, that’s a parent’s job, and for adults, it’s your job. Government should instead, focus on protecting our freedoms and leave much of the other stuff up to us. Go rugby!