Finland has become the first nation in the world to declare that broadband internet access is a human right. The world should stand up and applaud! After all, we are living in an information society, and knowledge equals power, right? Finland’s Minister of Communications, Ms Suvi Lindén, says, “From now on a reasonably priced broadband connection will be everyone’s basic right in Finland. This is absolutely one of the Government’s most significant achievements in regional policy and I am proud of it.”
Now that a high speed internet connection is a basic human right (according to Finland), where does that right rank in relation to, say, the right to speak your mind? How about in relation to the right to privacy? Is it a “lesser” right; are they equal?
A few months ago I read that the EU was claiming there is a basic human right to a European vacation. They drew up detailed plans on how to subsidize holidays, saying there was a “right to be tourists.”
Antonio Tajani, EU Commissioner of Enterprise and Industry, continued, “Traveling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life”. [Emphasis mine.] This sounds somewhat like our government claiming there is a human right to health insurance, though it is more accurately an economic good. The point is, all of these “fake rights” are distracting from the very real rights we are losing every day. We should take note that our new “right”to health insurance comes with the unprecedented mandate that Americans must buy insurance or face a stiff penalty.
Your rights as a human being aren’t something that can be invented, like the internet, and they aren’t something that can be bought or sold, like health insurance and vacation packages. Human rights are intangible. The highest ideals of liberty and decency. The right to speak one’s mind without fear of persecution from the government; the right to take the fruit of one’s own labor to his family uninterrupted; the right to be secure of your privacy in your papers and effects, within your home and business. These are the things we are losing while the world is granted the right to internet access.
It is my recommendation that we be wary of politicians suddenly discovering there are new rights that we had somehow missed until now. Instead, we should focus our attention on making sure our government does it’s most basic and important duty – to protect the freedoms of every American, and uphold the Bill of Rights.