Watch Yourself by Matt Hern

Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn't Always Better

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About Watch Yourself

From warnings on coffee cups to colour–coded terrorist gauges to ubiquitous security cameras, our culture is obsessed with safety.

Some of this is drive by lawyers and insurance companies, and some by over–zealous public officials, but much is indicative of a cultural conversation that has lost its bearings. The result is not just a neurotically restrictive society, but one which actively undermines individual and community self–reliance. More importantly, we are creating a world of officious administration, management by statistics, absurd regulations, rampaging lawsuits, and hygenically cleansed public spaces. We are trying to render the human and natural worlds predictable and calculated. In doing so, we are trampling common discourse about politics and ethics.

Hern asserts that safer just isn't always better. Throughout Watch Yourself, he emphasizes the need to rethink our approach to risk, reconsider our fixation with safety, and reassert individual decision–making.

About Matt Hern

Matt Hern is director of the Purple Thistle Centre, the author of Field Day: Getting Society Out of School, and editor of Deschooling Our Lives. He holds a PhD in urban studies and lectures widely. He lives in East Vancouver with his partner and daughters. His website is

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