Monday 19 July 2021

Freedom Day? - Freedom from what exactly?

So today is what Boris Johnson has called "Freedom day". The question I have is 'Freedom from what?". My wife said to me this morning "I will feel a lot less safe travelling into London if people are not wearing masks on public transport". She also has reservations about going to gigs,  cinema's and the theatre if there are no limits at all (I'm not so bothered in all honesty). We are both double jabbed and in reasonably good shape. Neither of us are on anything that suppresses our immune system. Her worry is not so much that she'll get ill, but she is concerned that if she catches covid, she may asymptomatically pass it on to someone else, who may suffer.

All of the people I've read comments from, who object to masks, talk about their own freedoms and how they believe a mask will not protect them. I don't know if it is simply because many have sociopathic tendencies or there is something else going on, but they never mention the fact that it may stop them spreading the disease and keep someone else safe. I recall that in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, some people stated that they wouldn't wear condoms as these would 'spoil their fun'. It is the same thing.

The anti mask/anti lockdown movement seem to have a blind spot when it comes to causing harm to other people. I've lost two family members to covid. When I mentioned this to an anti lockdown campaigner, their response was "what was wrong with them?". I asked if he felt an 89 year old woman who was living independently and had contracted the diseases shortly before being discharged from hospital for a minor had no right to life and if a 58 year old woman with Downs syndrome had no right to life? The response "why should the rest of us suffer for 'such' people?".

It seems to me that many of the anti lockdown/anti mask campaigners are really supporters of eugenics by stealth. The young, the fit and the healthy can party away and anyone, especially those who paid their taxes and are now enjoying their retirement can go to hell. They say "if 'such people' are worried they can lock themselves down". Where is the freedom in that? The thing about freedoms as we understand them in modern western democracies is that freedoms are universal. We all can vote, we all expect the law to be applied fairly. What we are seeing is a subtle change to this. This is where facism and totalitarianism start. Not with wearing masks, but with the fit and strong majority deciding that the needs of the more humble and weak are not important. It is worth remembering that the first act of genocide that the Nazi's undertook was against Germans with disabilities. 

I cannot for the life of me see how anyone can claim that wearing a mask on public transport is a restriction on freedom. I don't have a problem with pubs/clubs/venues opening. It is a conscious decision to go to such places. If they have done a risk assessment and they feel they can operate safely, then there is a good argument for opening up. People who have jobs and have to use public transport have no such choice. 

It has been interesting at the studios today. The vast majority of our customers are stll wearing masks. When people ask, we say "You are not legally obliged to wear a mask, but we would prefer it if you wore them in public areas". I'd rather all did, but without a legal requirement, it puts my staff in a difficult position when people do not want to mask up. That is the problem that Boris Johnson has created. Either masks, which are a minor imposition make a difference or they don't. If they do, it seems to me to be a silly move to abandon them right now. 

No comments: