I’m often mistaken for a Canadian because of my NoDak accent by those who are not well-versed in the nuances of dialects of the North American plains, so I feel qualified to write about this post. The post and the comments discuss the limited social host liability in Canada, and what strikes me in reading them is how modern society’s view of risk is radically different not only from prior human history but also from just two or three decades ago. In my lifetime we’ve gone from where a kid could lie in the rear window of the car and look up at the stars as his parents drove at night to where other drivers will confront you if your 11-year-old sits in the front seat of the car, even with a safety harness. When I was a kid, we roamed freely all day outside of school and we not only didn’t have any adult supervision, we wouldn’t have accepted it if anyone tried to give us any.
One explanation I’ve read is that people have fewer kids today (my grandparents had 12, my parents five and my wife and I have three) and parents have children later in life, so they are more protective because each one is relatively rarer and more irreplaceable. I don’t buy it. This really is just a disguised argument that parents today love their kids more than our parents did. I think it’s more an indication of the astounding wealth Western society has generated, a level that is unprecedented, and that gives people the ability to push the cost-benefit ratio over the break-even line in many areas without suffering any noticeable economic consequences to themselves personally. Through our proven ability to reduce many risks by applying money, we get the idea that we can do away with all risk, or if not, push the cost onto others. Anyone have any other ideas or explanations?