Your rights are NOT about you!

Your rights are not all about you.

No, really!  They’re not about what you get; what you deserve; what you want: they’re as much to keep others safe from the damage you’d cause them as they are about you being kept safe from them.


This is why I think about them as Voronoi diagrams: a way of partitioning the space around a set of objects so that the boundaries of each object’s space is exactly halfway between the object and its neighbour.  During my PhD I worked with these diagrams, as well as their dual, the Delaunay tetrahedralisation.  This involved a lot of drawing, a lot of geekiness, and I got really good at drawing three-dimensional tetrahedral meshes (an under-appreciated skillset), but it left me with an appreciation for distance and spaces.  And also, weirdly, empathy and human rights.

When doing some reading for an earlier blog post, I read the Geneva convention on human rights, and I feel that now is the time to bring it to our collective attention.

As soon as my exercise of what I (mistakenly) believe to be my rights limits those of anyone else, they become my wrongs.  As soon as I go outside of my own domain and into someone else’s, I’m in the wrong.  The boundary line – as in the Voronoi tessellations – is the midpoint between us.  These days so much of what we hear fails to exercise Poe’s Law so that we can’t tell where news ends and satire begins, so I think we need to hear this again.  And again.  And again.

So here it is.  In particular, Article 29.

1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of [his] personality is possible.

2. In the exercise of [his] rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.


So, to those dangerously fuckwitted* people who say that having to stay home to stop the spread of a deadly disease robs them of their rights: No.  Your rights are not just about you.  They are about your duties to the community, to other people, to morality, public order and general welfare of society.  Not.  Just.  You.

* If you’ve read my other posts, you will know I do not use this word lightly.

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