Month: June 2019

A right to Be, a right to Move

You have a right to Be in a public space. What may you do there? Pretty much anything, as long as it’s not harming, or acutely offending or threatening others.

You can sit down to have a coffee. You’re not harming others in doing so.

Can you light up a bonfire on O’Connell Street? Of course not, that would be ludicrous. Doing that would potentially harm others (and their properties).

You have a right to Move in that public space.

How may you move? You may walk. Walking is not harmful to others.

Here’s where it gets interesting: your chosen method of movement may have the real potential to harm others, so it’s regulated (such is the price of living in the physical universe). You may not fly a plane down O’Connell Street to get to the shops, that would be harmful to others.

As a society, we’ll also facilitate you to drive through that public space. In fact, we’ll prioritise that over the rights of others to be. Since you are sitting in a car, we (currently) grant you the right to assert your precedence over others who are moving without a car. For example, you may feel your right to sound your horn on O’Connell Street, if a person on foot tries to cross paths with you.

How far does your right to move extend, in a public space? Do you still have a right to move in a way that doing so threatens another’s right to be, regardless of their age? Should your right to move at speed take precedence over another’s right to move?

This is a society. It’s not just you and me, we are thousands of people in any one place. Thousands of people being, thousands of people moving. You’re probably spending much more time being than moving. Does it not make sense to protect those people who are being from those people who are moving in potentially lethal ways?

Or do you want to give up your right of being, in order to uphold the rights of others to move?