Is it about me or is it about us?

More and more the COVID crisis presents important learnings on how to deal with threats to our common interests. So why do we continue to take an individual, personal stance in dealing with those common challenges?

This weekend in Holland, tens of thousands of people protested against new restrictions the Netherlands government is considering in its fight to conquer the COVID pandemic. Listening to the reasons why, one argument stands out: 'this conflicts with my personal rights, with my personal freedom'. So, how to deal with the interest of the individual in view of the interests of the many? Is the freedom of the individual at risk here? And, how are we restricting the freedom of the individual if -like with COVID- the intent of the measure is to free us from the shackles of current COVID restrictions?

I will stop here, because this discussion is more emotional than logic.

Some care workers are objecting against COVID vaccination as it interferes with their rights, but have already been vaccinated against Hepatitis for years. If we travel for work or pleasure to countries with mandatory vaccinations, we simply do that. I cannot remember thousands of people protesting against these protective measures. So, in my view, this discussion is not about logic, but about emotion. Apparently, a lot of people feel constrained by the measures a society has to implement 'for the good of all'. This is not new, in fact, this is how societies are build. This is why every citizen has to pay taxes and abide by the law etc etc. Perhaps we have forgotten this, as the mantra has been that we are a society of individuals. I think this is wrong and -as we see during this pandemic- harmful. Every day, new COVID cases are reported and patients need to be hospitalized. The vast majority of those cases was not (fully) vaccinated. Thus, the pandemic continues and prevents society to open up again.

We reallly have to learn how to deal with this better as the other BIG societal challenge starts screaming for attention. We have already witnessed the vast damage climate change related storms have wrecked. More than ever before we need to collectively deal with this. It is time to put our individual interest in service of society. Why? To regain and maintain our freedom in the future.