The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, September 29, 2022


I live about 100 miles from the epicenter of Hurricane Ian—a category 4 hurricane with winds of 155 mph at the eye wall— as it came on shore on the gulf coast of FL. We were close enough to get deluged with rain and a lot of wind, but far enough to avoid the absolute devastation of serious wind damage and storm surge that a cat 4 storm brings.

Fortunately, we live in a state will excellent governance and emergency services. So far, few deaths or serious injuries have been reported [see update]. Flood damage is significant, and over 2 million people are without power. But utility crews have already started repairs and the infrastructure will rebound. It will undoubtedly take months to repair the residential and commercial damage caused by the storm. 

Floridians live in a beautiful place that occasionally has very ugly and dangerous hurricanes. Over the past few years, we have had a significant influx of people from states like NY, IL, NJ and even, CA. Their reasons for coming to the free state of FL are varied, but now I suspect that at least some of them have been frighted by Ian and are having second thoughts. After all, why put yourself in harms way?

The answer to that question goes to the core of a new cultural phenomenon that pervades the thinking of far too many people in our country—safetyism.  Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in their book, The Coddling of the American Mind, define it this way: 

“Safetyism refers to a culture or belief system in which safety has become a sacred value, which means that people are unwilling to make trade-offs demanded by other practical and moral concerns.”

Far too many people and far too many politicians want to reduce life's risks to zero. As an example, the "Covidiocy" that we've all experienced for the past 2.5 years is safetyism run amuck—lockdown everything, mandate a lot, and establish authoritarian policies so we have the illusion of safety against an illness that for most people under 65 is little more than a common flu.

In FL, hurricanes are a relatively rare but ever-present fact-of-life. For those of us who call this state home, we balance the benefits of living where we live against the threat of a major hurricane.  We accept the risk.

The people on the southern gulf cost of FL have faced the threat bravely. They'll assess the damage, rebuild, and move on with their lives. And that's a very good thing.

UPDATE (9-30-2022):

The devastation of high wind and storm surge has been catastrophic in the Fort Myers area. Currently 21 people are reported dead, tens of billions in property damage is reported. It will take years to rebuild in places along the ocean. 

It's very bad, but Floridians will respond, rebuild and ultimately move on with their lives. And despite this disaster, those who want to live by the ocean will continue to live by the ocean, accepting the risks of a storm like Ian as part of the price of living the life they want. More power to them all—safetyism be damned.