February 5th, 2024

Safety vs. freedom

Time for a little pondering about ethics, morals, and values. The two values mentioned in the title are generally valued rather highly everywhere in the world, not just in the first world countries. It is probably not worth it here to begin by defining what safety and freedom mean; I have a pretty good idea that anyone reading this blog post has already gotten the basic gist of them both.

Let's simply say that they are both regarded in their most universal form to ever exist. By 'safety' we may refer to any kind of safety an individual may yearn for: whether it be physical, emotional, or social. As for freedom, simply ask yourself a question: "Am I allowed to do X without asking for a permission or without being restricted unnecessarily and without a justifiable reason in my choices?" With the X being almost anything imaginable out there. Bear in mind that a justifiable reason may vary by quite much – depending on who you are asking. It may even contradict with the aforementioned experience of someone's safety.

Obviously, the freedom to do anything would be an impossibility. Quite soon, people would end up hurting one another simply for being able to do anything without a care in the world. On the other hand, one might never be able do things simply for the sake of them being physically unattainable or unachievable.

So there will have to be some restrictions, at least based on the idea that one's freedoms should never violate the freedoms of others. For instance, by that logic, you should never be allowed to hit another person simply for the sake of having the freedom to do so. The other guy also is entitled to the freedom (and the right) of staying untouched if they so wish. Naturally, the other guy should also have the freedom to self-defense, retaliation, and striking back.

But where to draw the line? In theory, it is always possible for a person to attack another. Here is where the concept of safety kicks in to contradict the said freedoms. Should we restrict the freedom of movement based on the theory that someone at some point might attack another person? With the passing of time, it is even likely that inevitably there will be such a conflict at some point. Furthermore...

Should we restrict the access to equipment which might make such an attack a more deadly one?

Should we restrict people's physical and mental capabilities of being able to commit the offense?

Or how about when the conflict does not arise from a direct altercation, but from another source, with the first person simply exercising his freedom of movement?

You may even find examples of these dilemmas in the very recent past, alongside with ways of how to solve these dilemmas well or by in the most atrocious ways possible.