There are wrongs in pursuing our ‘rights’
Social media has been rich this year with videos, articles and opinions on our freedoms in the wake of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our society.
These have ranged from incidents of violence in supermarkets and hardware stores to protests demanding that our borders open up and calls for the right to free movement.
Yes, it’s clear people are passionate about their rights and their freedoms — but it could be said many have lost sight of the responsibilities that go along with those rights and freedoms.
Yes it’s your “right” to breathe without a mask on, yes it’s your right to be able to eat in a crowded restaurant or pub, and yes it is indeed your right to freely move around our great southern land.
But it’s also my right not to breathe in germs, it’s my right to not be part of a virus cluster, and it’s my right to live in a community that respects boundaries and each other.
So where do your rights stop and mine start? Where does your right to not wear a mask stop and my right to be protected start?
Saying it’s a grey area would be an understatement.
But I believe a lot of this boils down to how your decisions affect you and others.
For example, does your right to holiday where you please affect you more than the rest of our rights to reduce the spread of a virus? Does your right not to be forced to wear a mask in a shop affect you more or less than my right not to breathe in germs you may be carrying?
There is a quote from Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
This simply asserts that your rights are protected up to the point where you infringe on someone else’s rights.
This resonates in so many aspects of our current situation and highlights that rights and freedoms are not black-and-white — there are shades of grey.
Perhaps some of us need to ask ourselves: “Why am I insisting that this freedom is upheld?”
“Is it for my own personal gain or is the greater good also being looked after?”
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