In a world of continued entitlement and first-world problems, navigating society can only be achieved through very rough waters. And I refer to rough waters often in my posts, because it always seems like some fuckers are trying to ice skate uphill (that’s a line from the movie Blade, it’s not mine). I continue to be amazed at how people tend to lean on what they believe to be “the principle” of a matter, as opposed to doing what’s actually right, moral and in some cases, even legal.
I offer up a CBC article I read yesterday as a prime example of what I’m getting at. You can read the article here: Bitter dispute over old beach road pits Cape Breton community against owner. Y’all can go read the article for yourself (after all, that’s why I linked it) but the just of the situation is there’s an old beach road outside a small community in Cape Breton that’s been used to access a stretch of beach by the community for decades. Recently, someone originally from British Columbia purchased the property and the road runs through it. Cue the drama…
The article does a pretty good job of illustrating two clear sides of the story and how there’s a case to be made for either. On the one hand, if the property owner has purchased the land, including the road, shouldn’t she enjoy clear ownership of the land she paid for? This would seem to make sense, since I would expect to be able to make decisions about any piece of property that I paid for.
On the other hand, you have several generations of people who are part of this community and have been using this road for years. I can imagine feeling some kind of way about a random person who isn’t government or law enforcement, suddenly coming along and trying to tell me I’m not allowed to drive down a road that I’ve been using for years… Given my temper and temperament, you can well imagine how well THAT would go. Unfortunately, I’ve been in that EXACT situation back in New Brunswick, during my younger years.
The big question is, who’s right? The letter of the law would seem to provide that if it’s private property, people should stay the hell off of it, if the landowner deems it so. But what about the moral thing? The community-spirited thing? The RIGHT thing? These are the aspects that people seem inclined to cast aside and forego, no matter how important it may be. If it were me, I would be inclined to let the community continue to use the road. After all, it’s a fucking road! But that’s just me, apparently.
The article wraps with the landowner claiming that if it turns out that her lawyers or real estate agents made a mistake and the road isn’t hers, she would be selling the property. Really? The article outlines some of her concerns but honestly, some of it is a clear picture of how far society has fallen in terms of getting along with one another. As a child, I remember that if I were outside playing and a parent brought a poposicle to their kid who was playing outside as well, they’d likely ask me if I wanted one. Nowadays, the parent would likely look at the other child with thinly-veiled suspicion.
I bring this up because it directly relates with how there is suffering in the world, we tend to cause our own suffering but often, others cause unnecessary suffering when there are easier and more collaborative ways to reduce or prevent it. Also because I see a lot of this type of petty behaviour in my line of work; instances where people will block access to certain things for no reason other than they own it and can do it. Never mind the pain and suffering that their “legal and harmless” action may bring to others…
“It’s not about the use, it’s the principle of the thing…” Give me a fucking break… You’re just being a dick. Society talks about how enlightened we’ve become and how far we’ve advanced but scenarios where it’s neighbour versus neighbour are dealt with in the most petty of ways. We need to learn, as a society, to take the moral path and stop focusing on what we believe is “the principle.” Although principles can be an effective guiding, well… principle, they won’t get you far in life. Food for thought… ☯️