Freedom is not the power to do anything we want but what we ought to do. It is knowing the right thing to do, how to do it and when to do it, and then being able to do that no matter what. And that’s the burden of freedom in a democracy.
We say that democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people. But to succeed as the best form of government, it requires that people should be both wise and virtuous. These are two elusive concepts that many times get misinterpreted.
To be wise does not only mean to be informed –in possession of lots of data- or even knowledgeable –able to process that information in a coherent way-
It also assumes repetition: wisdom = knowledge * experience
A wise person is then someone who knows the right thing to do, when to do it and how to do it. It is someone who applies knowledge to life.
And virtue is the ability to do that. The classical definition of virtue is the habitual disposition to do go. The virtuous person is the one who, when it comes to making a decision, they know how to do the right thing, and they do it consistently and with ease: virtuosity = wisdom * consistency * easiness
The question then is not how people felt about leaving the EU. It is about whether this decision was made by virtuous and wise people who knew what ought to be done, no matter what.
Artwork courtesy of FRG Gallery