The Right to Choose Our Own Risks

I'm thinking about the relative risks of becoming a long term burden to society in a publicly-supported hospital, that we take in different activities. Not wearing life jackets in small boats, or helmets on motorcycles (both of which are often required by law) are two areas that seem less risky, and surely more fulfilling, than say boxing or football, whose players become our heroes, and rich, if they survive. Can it really be called an accident if a boxer suffers brain damage, when that's what his opponent is trying for, and most of the audience is apparently at least hoping he'll come close to? The difference may be that the former activities don't often become spectator sports.

I feel that "A fool and his money (health, life etc.) is soon parted" and that's the way it should be. I would prefer to have fewer fools on our highways, in our political arenas, gene pools etc. I see no reason whatsoever to officially regulate a person risking (or simply ending) his own assets (including his life). Those who value the security of other people's assets, are also fools.

Of course this applies first if it's only his own assets he's risking and not expecting help from society in publicly-supported hospitals. But it also applies if he only risks a small number of other lives. Suppose we could draw a line between fools and average people, and found that natural selection had eliminated all but one fool for every ten of "us". If the average fool only killed one of "us" while killing himself, wouldn't we be ahead, in terms of a smaller percent of fools in the world?

I support the right to choose my own risks and sign a waver giving up my right to treatment for the results of those risks. If society doesn't respect such a statement and insists on treating me, that's their problem. By the way, I enjoy taking many kinds of risks, and haven't yet had to pay for it significantly, or ask for much help. In the process, I've had many experiences that most people only dream of. Apparently my risks haven't been that foolish.


Send me your thoughts.
Dan Robinson, danrob@efn.org, Eugene, Oregon
My home page: http://www.efn.org/~danrob/