Your rights vs everyone else’s

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The whining of selfish, self-indulgent people about ‘their rights’ has been with us forever but for the past two years of the Covid pandemic it has become a crescendo worldwide, which just goes to show, I suppose, that crises bring out the worst and the best in us.

From truckers in Canada bringing life in the capital city to a halt complaining that their rights are being violated by being asked to get vaccinated and show proof of it when they drive their trucks into populated areas, i.e., the nation, to those who whine about the teaching of the actual facts of history in the United States because the truth about the things their ancestors did make some people uncomfortable, therefore it should be prohibited, I’ve seen or heard a litany of childish whining that quite frankly is making me sick to my stomach.

It reminds me of a child crying ‘no fair’ when he’s not allowed to take toys from other children because he wants to play with them.

The simple fact is that those who insist on ‘their’ rights without acknowledging ‘their’ responsibilities are setting the stage for tyranny and chaos. The right to speak freely, for example, does not bestow the right to shout fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire, and the right to bear arms does not absolve the bearer of said arms from the responsibility to ensure that they are not used to hurt or kill innocent people.

But I ask you, in all the crying about the violation of their rights by those who refuse to get vaccinated or to follow common sense rules such as masking or social distancing, have you heard anything about their responsibility to their fellow citizens to take actions to help stem the spread of a deadly disease? I have not. Instead, I’ve seen people who make it impossible for others to go about their business, keep them awake at night with horns and music blaring as they demand their ‘rights.,’ or people who insist that their unvaccinated and potentially infected children be allowed to sit unmasked in classrooms with other children, some of whom have medical conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to some of the more severe consequences of Covid.

If you demand a right, you imply acceptance of the responsibilities related to that right. Primary here is the responsibility to honor those same rights for others, and as I look around, whether it’s politicians, conspiracy theorists, or just disgruntled parents at a loss to find someone to blame for the current admittedly terrible situation in the world, I hear again and again, ‘stop violating MY rights,’ but nothing about what these people are doing to secure the rights of the rest of the populations to live free from the threat of a deadly disease, or to have some recognition for the wrongs their ancestors suffered and how uncomfortable they are made to feel by those whose ancestors inflicted that suffering, and in some cases who still suffer the stigma of just being who they are.

Those out there who believe their rights take precedence over the rights of others because they are on the side of ‘truth,’ need to wake up and smell the roses. They claim for themselves the ‘right’ to say or do whatever they please but deny that same right to the ‘others’ because it violates their rights to feel comfortable.

Until we realize that with our precious rights comes the responsibility to ensure that in the exercise of those rights we must be considerate of the rights of others, we will just continue to pollute the environment with noise and nonsense.

If everyone insists on exercising their rights without taking responsibility to be considerate of the rights of others we will have anarchy and then only the strongest animals in the jungle will have anything resembling rights. Rights without responsibility is not ignorant, it’s stupid. Ignorance can be alleviated by gaining knowledge, but the stupid reject knowledge.

I don’t think that’s the kind of world we really want. – NWI