Baden Offord, Ocean Shores
Hardcore libertarianism and individualism cannot lead us out of a pandemic. In fact, they have the adverse impact on our individual, collective and planetary well-being and safety.
What pandemics challenge is our ability and capacity to sublimely care for others, to understand that we are entangled, interconnected and bound up with each other. The cry for ‘freedom’ by libertarian individuals is responsible for the ecological and environmental crisis that we face. It is an insidious, dangerous cry, not for actual freedom, but for one’s own self and survival.
When I was undertaking my postgraduate research at Southern Cross University I was fortunate to meet with the South African anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu and to spend a morning with him. He had worked with Nelson Mandela to free South African from its racial policies of apartheid. He explained to me that freedom only comes from our relationship with others.
The African philosophy of Ubuntu, he said, means: ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours. We belong in a bundle of life. [In South Africa] We say, “A person is a person through other persons”. That is the measure of our humanity’. At core, human rights activism is an understanding that the freedom of the individual is about radical indivisibility with others. We are indivisible with the community. What will lead us out of this pandemic and a planetary environmental crisis is our caring for other people in solidarity, and caring for this precious planet, our home.