THIS article started as a rant, but I thought better of it. I’ll get back to that in a minute.
I seem to be drawn to the writings of librarians. Lao Tzu was librarian to the Chinese Emperors and Daniel J Boorstin was a historian, author, and Librarian of the United States Congress for many years. Boorstin wrote, “Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be’.
So, what was the catalyst for my near rant? Over the last two weeks of quarantine, I have been in touch with thousands of Mijas residents, who have also been asking for advice. Too many of these interactions have been about the behaviour of people in their communities, flitting from flat to flat, commandeering the balconies of empty apartments for sun bathing parties with friends, dinner parties on a rotational basis in different apartments – this their interpretation of ‘social distancing’ during a State of Emergency ‘Lockdown’. I am not targeting Brits here. This has been happening with many nationalities. Some people still seem to be living under the illusion that their freedom is absolute. They can do whatever they want as long as it only affects them. False!!
Compared to many countries, and many regimes which have risen and fallen over the centuries, we have a level of freedom in our day to day lives no other epoch can match. But as Boorstin wrote, our freedom exists in the opportunities we have to be whatever we want to be; the idea that what we can dream, we can become. People from modest backgrounds can become scientists, doctors, artists, musicians – whatever they want.
This is where our freedoms run out! We are subject to the governments in whichever country we call home. Our freedom does not give us the right to decide if we want to pay tax. It does not give is the right to decide whether or not our children receive an education. It does not give us the right to decide which laws we think are OK because they give us protection, and which are just stupid because they take away our ‘freedom”.
Spain has not had a state of emergency since the civil war. And many of the messages I get are, “This is stupid. Why can’t I go out and meet friends? I can’t get my favourite things from the British supermarket; this is not fair.”
For goodness sake, people! How long will it take to sink in that this is not a menu we can pick and choose from. It doesn’t matter what you think of the current situation because, frankly, your freedom doesn’t add up to a tuppenny bag of sweets!
In fact, people exercising such ‘freedom’ may well result in the State of Emergency being extended, and when that starts to affect MY freedom, I think I am justified in having a major rant.