22 Nov From the Goetheanum: The individual and the state
As an infectious disease, Covid-19 is more than a medical phenomenon. Because of its pandemic spread special laws pertaining to pandemics were activated across the world, gradually transferring the power to act to state governments. At the highest level of urgency, the power to act is entirely in the hands of the state executive while professional medical expertise has been reduced to an advisory role. As a result of this, Covid-19 is now as much a socio-political as a medical phenomenon.
for oneself and for the world
From a socio-political point of view there are two sides to this question: firstly, how far does the state have to take its official guidelines in order to contain the pandemic? Secondly, when does the state need to stop imposing emergency regulations so as to not violate basic human rights? In many countries, views on these questions are divided today. While resistance is being expressed against the state interference in Italy, France and Switzerland, for example, there are demonstrations against the government in Brazil, for instance, because of the lack of vaccinations among other things.
In the present situation, the question as to how much responsibility should be conferred to individuals and how much to the state also lives within the Anthroposophical Society and movement. The individual freedom, for which we each take responsibility, is part of human dignity and a fundamental value of anthroposophy. I think that active anthroposophy must be rooted in self-responsibility.
While personal responsibility may easily refer to one’s own self, it applies as much to the world – the socio-political world included – in which we live as individuals. The challenge therefore consists in perceiving our communal responsibility out of our self-responsibility. Are we able to do that? Can we achieve this in our anthroposophical institutions where we assume responsibility together?
The more we wish and are able to do this, the more the state can and should withdraw. Precisely because the state, as a modern secular institution, is based on the autonomy of its citizens, it must step back from its self-assumed compulsive assumption of responsibility for the health of each of us.
Ueli Hurter, Goetheanum