Posted August 22, 2010 in Photography, Travel

Freedom, not democracy, is the basis of our society.

Stunt biker (London)

Hundreds of years ago, political figures commissioned art. Now, they tolerate it. Artists spray-painted London's South Bank when doing so was illegal, and amateur skateboarders kick-flipped in before their parents could buy elbowpads. All the politicians had to do, when asked, was set up lights and tell the cleaners not to bother scrubbing.

Even that concession is a fight, of course, and the powers that be sometimes talk of closing the 30-year-old park to make way for shops. Skaters and bikers, a tiny minority of South Bankers, have fought to keep the park alive.

It makes sense to trust in minorities: graffiti artists and skateboarders are experts on graffiti and skateboarding. Their elected representatives probably don't know how to stamp or ollie, so nobody expects them to propose a skate park, out of the blue, at the next city council meeting.

Skateboarder (Amsterdam)

But eventually they will. Leaders aren't there to lead their people: they're there to follow them.

Chess player (Amsterdam)