Alan WattsAlan Watts, (1915-1973) British-American philosopher

Alan Watts Quote

“But when no risk is taken there is no freedom. It is thus that, in an industrial society, the plethora of laws made for our personal safety convert the land into a nursery, and policemen hired to protect us become selfserving busybodies.”

Alan WattsAlan Watts
~ Alan Watts

Tao: The Watercourse Way, 1975

Ratings and Comments

Robert, Sarasota

Laws are necessary for us to live in harmony - we are not intelligent enough to live without laws. It's when laws become the tool of the despot, the megalomaniac, the vengeful leader, the egotist, the fool, to manipulate there own agenda and not the the welfare of the people then it is wrong, but in law itself it is pure we make it in pure. It is people not Law that is the problem.

Me Again
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Me Again    1/18/07

In my opinion,this quote has 2 parts of which I will comment on the 1st.-"When no risk is taken,there is no freedom".Some risks have to be taken,at times,to obtain a degree of "freedom" but once those freedoms are realized,they are immediately in danger of attack by those who disagree with the freedom or wish to restrict it's implementation.If this "challenge" to "freedom" is denied,then the 2nd part of this quote would not hold any truth.Coffee time......

Joe, Rochester, MI

Yes, government protects us from ourselves. More and more laws for our personal safety. But I don't need or want protection from myself. And the courts have ruled police have no responsibility to protect us. "To Protect And Serve" is no longer true.

E Archer, NYC

Reminds me of the current propaganda being dumped on western 'civilzation'.

Jack, Green, OH

Is a policeman a "busybody" by spending his time observing, and possibly meddling when necessary, in the behavior, of the people in his jurisdiction? I say he is tending to business, as he should do -- assuming he is a "good cop"

gc_wall, Phoenix

As self-regulating free agents one might assume that police function as "meddling busy bodies," but we are manipulated by external interests so that "natural man" does not exist. Natural man knows that he should treat others as he would like to be treated, but the perverse nature of our own creation cannot be trusted to be self-regulating.

jim k, Austin

Well said, Joe.

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Depending on where one lives, " industrial society " ? The 40 hour work week, safety regulations, age limits ? Each person can choose for themselves. Knowledge and skills acquired creates opportunity for independence, freedom. I choose to contract as an individual. My right, but comes with a great degree of responsibility. Living in a retirement community, resort area, policing is a different matter. There is always a list of who not to bother. There are good officers and bad. It has been my experience to follow a good conscience. Policing ones self, well, makes for good service to others. Respect and humility go a long way. The good as well as the bad are known by their words and actions. I have met many good officers on the Oregon coast, they have their hands full with the poor and abusive of themselves and others. The industrial revolution has done more harm, than good. Small communities, busybodies do not last long. Ground zero, the aging industrialized zones.


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