To be tethered is to be restrained, tied down, prevented from moving about freely. And that can feel uncomfortable to those of us whose moving about is usually unrestricted. However, some actions, when totally unrestrained or untethered, can trample the rights of others. So being tethered can also refer to being grounded, in touch with reality, one’s actions balanced by consideration for others and for nature’s limits.
The predominant feelings within a community or culture toward restraint or being “tethered” may help set the tone for economic and social discourse. And problems may arise when one attitude toward restraint gets out of balance with the other.