Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

A public space on private property

For many months, the Dutch government claimed that mouth masks were unnecessary following the advice of the Dutch Public Health Institute or RIVM. Late July, its director stated the following: “For the sake of illustration, at least 200,000 people must wear a mouth mask for 1 week in order to possibly prevent 1 contamination” (NOS). Note: italic markings in quote and translation by LO.

As of December 1, Dutch people are required to wear a mouth & nose mask in public places (eg, airports, city hall, libraries, theatres, train stations). To my astonishment, the definition of public places also includes private shops (eg, supermarkets). From a legal perspective, shops are private places. Apparently, granting emergency powers can lead to such illogical decisions. 

Retail owners have mixed feelings about this public requirement on private property (NRC). Their main interest is selling goods or services. Public (sic!) arguments with customers are not in their interest. Hence, most shop owners will not refuse non-mask wearing customers. Some will offer a mask instead. Unlike owners of bars, penalties will now be levied on customers.

This poses a dilemma for me: will I support a culture of fear, or continue rejecting wearing a mask for the sake of freedom? What’s more important: the principle or avoiding penalties?

Last week, my neighbours tried to change this equation by inserting the issue of respect. I’m always puzzled that the people who demand respect (for themselves) are often the same people who do not give respect to others. While they do not respect my (different) opinion, I still respect their (different) opinion. Respect is given rather than demanded.

Some time ago, I made a casual remark to my mother (86) that I should – perhaps –  consider migrating to Sweden. It’s unlikely that I would ever do so given its low temps and its socialism. Nevertheless, my mother assumed I was serious and tried hard convincing me not to leave.

Mostly, I’m annoyed with the relentless human stupidity with respect to viruses, especially their role in our lives (my blog of Nov 9 ) and in Evolution (my blog of Nov 29). The upside of my annoyance, however, is new inspiration as well as a fighting spirit.

“Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.” A quote by Groucho Marx (1890-1977), “an American comedian, actor, writer, stage, film, radio, and television star”.

Space Oddity (1969) by David Bowie

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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