On This Day Pre-Y2K

Confused by any of the jargon you see below? Check the Y2K Glossary!

February 3, 1999 Permalink

The question was raised, given the high danger involved, why aren’t more people preparing for “worst case” scenarios (though the post really described “medium-bad” scenarios). Some have even said that even if you think the probability of really-bad-shit is low, you should prepare for it lest you face your children dying because you didn’t think it was worthwhile to prepare.

Generally, I agree with this assertion (that it is better to prepare than not, even while uncertain about the probable outcome), but the human refusal to do so is NOT just about Y2K. In general, we, as a society, take huge risks and engage in massively destructive activities which can kill us & our children, and we do so for the rather pathetic reason of profit. Dioxin emissions, global warming, nuclear waste, the chance (even if small) of a nuke meltdown/malfunction even without Y2K, etc are all things we put up with every day, because refusal to put up with them would cost someone money. Nonetheless, all of these things endanger our lives, our health, & our children.

Driving a car is one of the more dangerous activities, yet few would give it up, to avoid the real risk of killing onesself or someone else. Humans are notoriously bad at risk assessment, and are overall willing to put up with a long-term or uncertain risk in exchange for immediate convenience or short-term profit.

This is WHY we have a Y2K problem in the first place, and it is why many will not prepare on time.

—Rebecca Kaplan, comp.software.year-2000, 02/03/99

The big difference between not choosing to carry auto insurance and Y2K is that I protect myself against your financial irresponsibility of not having insurance by buying “uninsured motorist coverage” on my policy. It’s a prudent measure of self-protection. I cannot allow your wrecklessness to endanger my or my family’s health, lives or financial stability.

If you uninsure yourself for Y2K by choosing not to prepare, I’m forced to take the expense of buying “uninsured Y2K victim coverage” in the form of defensive weapons and ammunition to insure that you don’t become a threat to my survival. It’s a prudent measure of self-protection, also. And again, I cannot allow your wrecklessness to endanger my or my family’s lives and health.

—Wildweasel, comp.software.year-2000, 02/03/99

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