Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Right" of the Day

As I've discussed, protected legal rights make sense only as "negative rights," i.e., limitations on government action. This is the approach adopted in America's Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. The weakness of the opposite scheme, positive rights, is that it demands a concomitant duty on the part of someone to fulfill that aspiration.

Like the former Soviet Union, Europe favors the latter system. The latest example comes from Finland:
Starting next July, every person in Finland will have the right to a one-megabit broadband connection, says the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Finland is the world's first country to create laws guaranteeing broadband access.

The government had already decided to make a 100 Mb broadband connection a legal right by the end of 2015. On Wednesday, the Ministry announced the new goal as an intermediary step.
By obliging a broadband connection, Finland upped the ante on countries already insisting on a legal right to (lower speed) Internet access, in particular France, Estonia, and Greece (automatic translation here). To the applause of progressives, the United Nations lately has been trying to add Internet access to the list of "human rights".

Just like Dems want to classify healthcare, sometimes proffering a bogus Aristotle quote. But, neither guaranteeed healthcare nor enormous amounts of electrons at your door are established under the Constitution. Period. So, before declaring a new "right," amend the Constitution--if you have the votes.

Apart from that, and instead of a long rant, here's two relevant quotes:

Radio Vice Online:
It is not clear who will pay for the infrastructure, or if users will just get access everywhere for "free." There is no indication the Fins will mandate computer manufactures and cell phone makers distribute free computers and iPhones, but without a device to actually access the Internet, there is no Internet.
Politablog's David Brooks:
The internet is important, but it is not logical to rationalize the addition of internet access to the list of human rights. . . If internet access eventually ends up on this list of human rights it will have the potential to make this list as meaningless as the Noble Prize is currently.
FYI, the second bumper sticker on my car reads: "I, for one, welcome our new Marxist overlords" (Simpsons reference).

(via CNET News, Best of the Web)


OBloodyHell said...

> Apart from that, and instead of a long rant, here's two relevant quotes...

Aw, c'mon, Carl. Fire off a rant. Ever since Frank Martin over at Varifrank with webawol, I've been missing good, articulate rants...


OBloodyHell said...

P.S., good piece.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think every American has a right to a free politician.

Hey, it could work.

Carl said...


As long as I still have my Constitutional right to buy your free politician.

Carl said...

OBH, thanks.

OBloodyHell said...

> As long as I still have my Constitutional right to buy your free politician.

Isn't the main problem with politicians though, that they won't stay bought?

"I either want less corruption, or
more chances to participate in it."
- Ashleigh Brilliant -