Saturday, July 11, 2020

Face masks- Covid-19 and Personal Freedoms

Learning that the  prime minister is probably minded to require face masks to be worn by those entering shops, added to which face masks are already obligatory for journeys on public transport, I have bought an attractive one for mrs maytrees and another for myself the latter decorated by gorillas. Both are cotton and can easily be washed though whether they will serve any useful purpose is hard to judge at this time.

The World Health Organisation which was of course rather slow to decide that the world was facing a pandemic, has just decided that face masks do protect third parties from the wearer's own Covid-19 viruses (or should that be vira?).   

Individuals' freedoms are probably more constrained now than at anytime since WWII and indeed in the USA I gather that some are strongly  protesting about this and not   simply by failing to wear masks. 

Upon reflection however I am not sure that individual freedom is always what it is made out to be. Thus using Covid-19 as an example, do I not have a duty to my sisters and brothers to minimise any risks to them that I might cause? In any event  a basic principal of Christianity has always been that of having regard to sisters, brothers and total strangers, as illustrated by the parable of the good Samaritan as recounted in St Luke's gospel.

Reverting to secular freedoms however, I have often speculated that the human rights set out after WWII and which if respected and honoured are undoubtedly beneficial to the world's population, should have had some kind of mirror in a list of human duties which if applied to   people of sound mind, would also have had a positive impact on humanity. However that was not to be, and the biblical accounts are as important for mankind, as ever.

In the USA the individual right to own fire arms is in my view not really a right at all but rather  an inhibitor of the human duties of giving warmth and friendship to each other. Of course there are some who are entirely self seeking and always trying to 'rip off' their fellow man or woman but gearing much of everyday life to the possibility that one might meet someone of criminal intent, is surely antithetical?  

Turning the other cheek is an ideal which does not always seem possible to follow but  possessing a gun with a view to wounding or killing another human being, intent say on doing one harm, is in my view going far too far the other way. Of course those possessing the gun might say it should deter criminals but that was the argument used in the 1960s Cuban missile crisis; personally I do not consider that possessing nuclear missiles is justified by any party but that is perhaps another issue.

My autobiography is now available at:

The Wandering Soul

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