The Internet, the BBC, and “rights”

posted at 12:15 pm on March 8, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

I fully expected an argument over the nature of rights when it comes to health care and health insurance.  After all, politicians on the Left (and some on the Right) have demagogued on the notion of a “right” to health care for decades, apparently unaware of what “rights” mean.  Today, though, in a reductio ad absurdum that only the UN and the BBC could take seriously, a new survey shows that 80% of 27,000 adults in 26 countries believe Internet access to be not just a right, but a fundamental right (via Allahpundit and Finding Ponies):

Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests.

The survey – of more than 27,000 adults across 26 countries – found strong support for net access on both sides of the digital divide.

Countries such as Finland and Estonia have already ruled that access is a human right for their citizens.

International bodies such as the UN are also pushing for universal net access.

Far be it from me to oppose universal access to the Internet; I’d welcome our new readers with open arms.  However, I’d assume that people would pay for that service as they do with any other service in their lives, be that car repair, pedicures, veterinarians, or chimney sweeps.  None of these are rights in the sense that free speech is a right, but some seem to confuse one with another:

“The right to communicate cannot be ignored,” Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told BBC News.

The right to speak springs from the innate sense of owning one’s self rather than being a property of the state, which means that each individual has the right to their own thoughts and to express them.  That right doesn’t extend to publication, however, which is where Toure’s argument runs off the rails.  If one wants to get published, then either one has to own the means to publication or pay someone else for the service.  After all, no one has the right to confiscate someone else’s printing press in order to get published.

Last year, I wrote an extensive column on the nature of rights for AIP in terms of health care.  Those columns are no longer available on the AIP site, but I’ll excerpt the central point of the piece:

Rights cannot be confiscatory in a society that respects the individual right to property. That’s why none of the enumerated rights in the Constitution involve confiscation. Americans have the right to free speech, but they do not have the right to demand publication in a newspaper, nor do they have the right to demand that other people listen when they speak. The right to free expression of religion does not involve occupying someone else’s church and using it to your own ends. You have the right to keep and bear arms, but you do not have the right to demand free or publicly financed weaponry. All of those examples involve confiscating someone else’s property or services, whether done through the government or by force individually.

That brings us to the notion of the “right” to health care. As human beings, we want to see people succeed to the point where they can feed, clothe, and care for themselves independently, as that establishes true personal freedom. However, none of us have the right to confiscate the services of a doctor or nurse without their consent, and without their ability to set a price for their time and expertise. We don’t have the right to walk into a grocery story to demand apples when we’re hungry, either …

Arguing that we have a right to health-care goods and services disconnected from our individual ability to provide that compensation takes us down a much different path than that envisioned by the founders. It owes much more to schools of thought where private property rights have little or no meaning, where the individual gets subsumed by the society in which he lives, and where all property belongs to the people as a whole. We have seen massive experimentation with those systems in the 20th century, and they had several points in common: they resulted in a sharp decline in individual liberty, in production, and in standards of living.

I would agree that free speech is a fundamental right.  I would also agree that health care is a critical concern for every human being, and that each should plan accordingly for it.  But to call Internet access a fundamental human right is not just wrong, but completely absurd.  What did we do before broadband — live in complete isolation and tyranny?  Do parents who restrict Internet access from their children commit some sort of abuse for being safe?  The only point proven in this study is that 80% of adults in the West have no real concept of what rights are or from where they originate.


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Comment pages: 1 2

I have a right to a car. I want my Aston Martin Vanquish NOW!!!!

ladyingray on March 8, 2010 at 12:19 PM

If healthcare is a right, then we need to strike the prohibition against slavery.

That would also have the affect of holding down costs.

After all, I didn’t ask to get sick, doctor.

NoDonkey on March 8, 2010 at 12:21 PM

I think everyone here will agree that by “internet right” we mean right to access (As in, the government cannot deny us access to the internet, or certain sections on it, because they disagree with what’s being said… like Iran has done and like our government is debating allowing Obama to do).

And maybe that’s the point of the article to confuse the options… like “net neutrality”

Skywise on March 8, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I’m exercising my right to say that 80% of those polled are ignorant buffoons. Thank you.

Mason on March 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM

I have a Right to that Shelby Ford Mustang I saw at the auto show?

Sweet!!!!

Yakko77 on March 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM

The only point proven in this study is that 80% of adults in the West have no real concept of what rights are or from where they originate.

The sad truth. The trend seems to be, “I want X therefore I have a right to X.” Not a good sign.

jwolf on March 8, 2010 at 12:24 PM

We owe so much to our wonderful public school system. /sarc

j_galt on March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I want a space shuttle!

csdeven on March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

For a lot of people the word “right” translates into “I demand that someone else pay my way”.

jaime on March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

It is only a matter of time before we start hearing talk of internet credits whereby the nations with robust internet access pays third world ratholes billions to atone for having more internet than our poorer brothers and sisters. Those who might even have dial up access!

highhopes on March 8, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I’m told one must fight for one’s right … to paaaarrrtaaaay.

Or something.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 8, 2010 at 12:32 PM

For a lot of people the word “right” translates into “I demand that someone else pay my way”.

jaime on March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Socialism is a great concept until other people’s money runs out and the powers that be start in after yours!

highhopes on March 8, 2010 at 12:32 PM

The right to speak springs from the innate sense of owning one’s self rather than being a property of the state, which means that each individual has the right to their own thoughts and to express them. That right doesn’t extend to publication, however, which is where Toure’s argument runs off the rails.

I disagree. I think the right here derives directly from free speech and assembly. Yes, you have no right to publication but you certainly have a right to publish, to contract. In other words the only reason you should be unable to publish something is because you can’t find a publisher to do it or your can’t self publish. There should be no government interference in that beyond what the government can show is compelling reasoning. The suggestion of a right here relates to the individual and the government.

Rocks on March 8, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Proof that 80% of the people on earth are FN idiots.

Imagine just how stupid the average person is and then know that that half of the population is dumber than that.

TheSitRep on March 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM

It is only a matter of time before we start hearing talk of internet credits whereby the nations with robust internet access pays third world ratholes billions to atone for having more internet than our poorer brothers and sisters. Those who might even have dial up access!

highhopes on March 8, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Well, Al Gore did invent the internet… so it would follow his “pattern”…

Romeo13 on March 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM

The right to free communication is a general rule, and should not be applied to any one method. This is a very bad way of thinking.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2010 at 12:34 PM

They are exercising their fundamental right to be idiots.

Daggett on March 8, 2010 at 12:37 PM

I don’t have the right to a roof over my head, but because I’m surrounded by generous people (and family members I can shame) I know it’s not something I need to worry about, even if I become a lazy drunken bum who does nothing to deserve a roof over my head. I think the internet falls into the same category. Any determined lazy drunken bum will find a way to get on the internet.

RBMN on March 8, 2010 at 12:38 PM

BleedsBlue just e-mailed me and wanted me to let HA know that BleedsBlue’s right to comment on HA has been infringed and a lawsuit is pending. ;-)

WashJeff on March 8, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Fundamental rights are only attractive to those who would benefit them. Be it getting others to cover your health care or internet, or be it the ones’ who would benefit politically by forcing this crap on others, to pay for.

capejasmine on March 8, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Oops, I’m on the dumb side.

TheSitRep on March 8, 2010 at 12:39 PM

IF one assumes that ‘internet access’ is a ‘right’, then it would necessarily follow that possession of a computer is also ‘a right’. After all, you can’t have one without the other.

GarandFan on March 8, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I want a space shuttle!

csdeven on March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

ROFL!!!

capejasmine on March 8, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I would argue that access to the Internet is a fundamental right. It’s part of what is the right to freedom of the press. Just as every American has the right to publish his thoughts (which is what the freedom of the press is about- it has nothing to do with journalists) as long as he pays for it. So to people have the right to access the internet as long as they pay for the provision of that service.

And the government has no authority to restrict that access through artificial barriers that attempt to prevent people from purchasing that access.

That is the concern here Ed. I’m certain that most of the people answering the question the way they did were thinking in the manner I am. I doubt people answering interpreted it as some socialist crap of forcing other people to pay for our internet.

Sackett on March 8, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Why has not the left declared that food and clothing are a fundamental right? I mean these two items are more critical than an internet connection.

WashJeff on March 8, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Can I autonomously declare that I have the right to not be bugged by statists? If so, does that mean that Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and all the others have to leave office right now?

WesternActor on March 8, 2010 at 12:41 PM

There should be no government interference in that beyond what the government can show is compelling reasoning. The suggestion of a right here relates to the individual and the government.

Rocks on March 8, 2010 at 12:33 PM

I’m going to go so far as disagree with you here – in that, one person’s compelling, is another person’s obtuseness.

oldfiveanddimer on March 8, 2010 at 12:41 PM

GarandFan on March 8, 2010 at 12:40 PM

True, but we could sure stretch that definition. After all – the Sega Dreamcast can still access the Internet.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2010 at 12:41 PM

If healthcare is a right, then we need to strike the prohibition against slavery.

That would also have the affect of holding down costs.

After all, I didn’t ask to get sick, doctor.

NoDonkey on March 8, 2010 at 12:21 PM

A “right” to health care implies that someone else has to provide it for you. That makes someone else, through confiscation of the results of their labor, your slave to an extent.

The Left has, mostly successfully (unfortunately) co-opted the notion of Rights. It’s why Dear Liar has condemned our Constitution as a charter of “negative rights.” They are not negative, they are Natural Rights, inherent within us. The notion of “positive rights” is down right evil.

rbj on March 8, 2010 at 12:42 PM

If “access” to the internet is a right, then why isn’t access to cable television? And not just basic cable, I want those premium channels for free.

Monkeytoe on March 8, 2010 at 12:43 PM

I want a space shuttle!

csdeven on March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I want a colony on Mars. So I can move there.

MarkTheGreat on March 8, 2010 at 12:43 PM

excellent piece Ed, as usual.

it never ceases to amaze me either how many people confuse fundamental human “rights” with what they think is right.

boils down to the old chstnut I reckon… The D. promises us the right to the pursuit of happiness, not to happiness.

max1 on March 8, 2010 at 12:43 PM

The problem is the internet has been described as the information highway, or super highway, not a toll road.

But is you want free worldwide communications become an amateur radio licensee.

meci on March 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM

In Obama World you have the right to EVERYTHING, except the right to make your own decisions or the right to be left alone. But other than those two things….

RBMN on March 8, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Calling the Internet or healthcare a “fundamental right” perverts the definition of the term and makes rights that are truly fundamental a little less sacred and a lot less safe.

29Victor on March 8, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I’m going to go so far as disagree with you here – in that, one person’s compelling, is another person’s obtuseness.

oldfiveanddimer on March 8, 2010 at 12:41 PM

I meant it in the sense that SCOTUS uses to limit government interference in individuals rights.

Rocks on March 8, 2010 at 12:45 PM

The entitlement mentality is the rot that is at the core of modern liberalism. This rot is disguised as rights to dilute the bad taste of their own selfishness.

donkichi on March 8, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I have a Right to that Shelby Ford Mustang I saw at the auto show?

Sweet!!!!

Yakko77 on March 8, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Where’s my ’57 Nomad, red on white?

thomasaur on March 8, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Are you folks forgetting the “right” to digital TV???

$200M spent and 3 delays for a box that 100% of people pay for monthly, or own outright – per their contracts.

Even funnier – the meme it was “old folks” not understanding the upgrade, hence the delays and cost was BS. It was under 25 “tech gen kids” who didnt want to pay a cable or dish bill.

Odie1941 on March 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Where’s Judge Smails when we need him?

forest on March 8, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Ed, you are seeing this all wrong. They are not saying they have a right to free internet access. Of course, it has to be paid for by the individual. They are saying that unfettered and uncensored access to the internet should not be restricted, as many leftists propose, because to do so is a violation of right and wrong.

And in that, most here would agree. This is a very welcoming sign in Europe that most of them still agree that Big Brother shouldn’t tell them what to read and think.

keep the change on March 8, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Who are these people denied of their “rights” to access the internet?

redzap on March 8, 2010 at 12:51 PM

When will they turn the Right to Party into a positive right? I’ve tired of buying my own booze. The government ought to buy it and bring it to my door. It should propel relatively hot chicks to show up as well, in the interest of equal access.

year_of_the_dingo on March 8, 2010 at 12:51 PM

OK, so…let’s say it IS a fundamental right? Since when do fundamental rights have to be financed by the state?

If I recall, gun ownership is a fundamental right (according to that arcane document known as the Constitution), does this mean I can pick up my free gun from the library?

bloghooligan on March 8, 2010 at 12:52 PM

….but mommy, I want a pony!!!!!!

search4truth on March 8, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Who are these people denied of their “rights” to access the internet?

redzap on March 8, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Have they checked to see if their caps lock key is on?

redzap on March 8, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I have a right to a car. I want my Aston Martin Vanquish NOW!!!!

ladyingray on March 8, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Great idea! It should definitely be a fundamental right!

I want my car too. :)

Conservative Samizdat on March 8, 2010 at 12:56 PM

If “access” to the internet is a right, then why isn’t access to cable television? And not just basic cable, I want those premium channels for free.

Monkeytoe on March 8, 2010 at 12:43 PM

It is in a way. Do cable providers refuse to sell to you because ABC complains to them you are recording a show and loaning it to a friend? Does the government compel them to? You can be fined and imprisoned for copyright infringement…but they can’t take away your right to contract with the cable company for those services.
Why is Internet any different?

Rocks on March 8, 2010 at 12:58 PM

29Victor on March 8, 2010 at 12:45 PM

man that take hits real close to the same sex marriage imbroglio doesn’t it?

DanMan on March 8, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I have a “right” to a buxom, Swedish au pair.

(no need to mention this to the Missus)

TugboatPhil on March 8, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Ooh! Transportation is a ‘right’…therefore I have a right to my own personal Apollo capsule. I demand my right to travel to the moon!

Dark-Star on March 8, 2010 at 1:05 PM

And they keep sending them to public schools and state universities…. sigh.

PrincipledPilgrim on March 8, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Today, though, in a reductio ad absurdum that only the UN and the BBC could take seriously…

The BBC is doing its best to dominate online news, and other areas of the internet, using millions in taxpayers’ money to gain an unfair advantage over competitors. So it’s not suprising they’d push the idea that everyone in the world is entitled to have access to their output, including their leftist propaganda.

(Btw, I haven’t paid the licence fee for years, and won’t until they catch me.)

EnglishMike on March 8, 2010 at 1:10 PM

But to call Internet access a fundamental human right is not just wrong, but completely absurd.

You’re far off base on this one. I will admit that what most of the survey’s respondents meant by “fundamental right” is “something that the government should provide me for free,” and clearly that’s stupid. Let’s all agree up front that positive rights are for feebleminded liberals, and that the only legitimate rights are negative ones.

That being said, yes, I do believe that Internet access is now a fundamental negative right–as in, the government cannot deprive you of it without due process, and that most such government deprivation would fail Constitutional scrutiny. Frankly, I’m surprised that a professional blogger disagrees.

The Internet is now the primary mechanism of speech, assembly and association for millions of people, including myself and many of the people here.

I get 100% of my news from the Internet and do easily 80% of my opinion reading here… closer to 99% when you consider that the political books I read are virtually all delivered to me over that Internet onto my Kindle. The entirety of my political activity takes place online. The vast majority of my associations are ones that exist solely on the Internet; even among the friends near me that I interact with in person, I will likely engage in many conversations a day online but only meet with them one lunch or dinner a week.

So yes, if the government decided that I was no longer permitted Internet access, or that that access would now be filtered and monitored by the government, I’d be profoundly wronged and outraged, precisely as if the government decided that I was no longer permitted to read newspapers or books, no longer permitted to talk to my friends in private and no longer permitted to express political opinions. And I would not be mollified by codswallop such as “well, the Internet didn’t even exist 30 years ago and somehow the Republic survived.”

What did we do before broadband — live in complete isolation and tyranny? Do parents who restrict Internet access from their children commit some sort of abuse for being safe?

Seriously, Ed? You’re not even a little embarrassed to be tossing out moldy old strawmen like these? I’ve seen these same points trotted out by liberals and swatted down by people like you for years. This may be your house, but that don’t mean you can bring that weak s*** here.

In 1791, “freedom of the press” meant the freedom to assemble any collection of cast lead type, roll ink on it and physically press it against paper; “the right to keep and bear arms” meant the right to carry flintlock muzzle-loaders. Please explain to the class which Constitutional amendment you believe extended freedom of the press to cover telegraph, telephone, radio and television, and which extended RKBA to cover breech loading and percussion caps. Or admit that existing rights can extend to cover new expressions of those rights when enabled by new technology.

As for children… we forbid children from voting. Is voting not a fundamental right?

Fabozz on March 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM

What strikes me is that in the majority of the participating countries and the organization running the survey (UN) actually or essentially ban self-defense and the ownership or bearing of items of self-defense including “non-lethal” self-defense items such as pepper spray, stun guns and tasers. And in most of those countries forget about owning let alone carrying a decent knife or firearm for such purpose.

Furthermore more of the participants are from nations that confiscate in excess of 50% of the work output of its productive citizens in the form of taxes at all levels of production and purchasing.

So, the UN and BBC, two organizations which historically support regimes and governments that deny citizens keeping the majority of the fruits of their personal labors and practically ban any self-defense (in Britain often punishing the defender more harshly than the offender) find among these trampled masses the shared concept that there is an right external to your own person and the efforts of that person, a right that actually requires seizing and redistributing the infrastructure, intellectual property and operating costs of others to apply this right. Nice…

I can only hope that the above plain interpretation of this study are based on an erroneous understanding of the question being asked. I truly hope that “keep the change on March 8, 2010 at 12:51 PM” is completely correct in what the survey was measuring and that the issue is that the reporting sucks rather than the survey.

deepdiver on March 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM

ladyingray on March 8, 2010 at 12:19 PM

No way. Like hiring census workers, you should get gov’t help for a new car based on which dealers are closest to you house. With affirmative action in favor of GM and Chrysler.

So move for a new Caddy and watch out for those flying Camrys!

IlikedAUH2O on March 8, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Obama advisor on Obamacare Passage: “This is the last helicopter out of Saigon, OK?” http://tiny.cc/GTavI

Anti-Harkonnen Freedom Fighter on March 8, 2010 at 1:19 PM

It’s like the gay marriage debate. If you change the definition of “fundamental rights” to include frivolous things like the right to email, you dilute the seriousness and legitimacy of real fundamental rights like free speech, freedom of assembly, religion, etc.

Kafir on March 8, 2010 at 1:21 PM

You know what else is a right? Beach condos. We all have a right to the pursuit of happiness! My pursuit of happiness involves sipping margharitas on the beach, thus I demand that the UN acknowledge my right to access affordable, high quality, nicely decorated beach condos and top shelf tequila year round.

bitsy on March 8, 2010 at 1:24 PM

I would agree that there should probably be something of a right to buy internet access, but only in the sense that governments can’t prevent a company from selling it to you; and it should already be covered by a broad reading of the rights to freedom of speech and association.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2010 at 1:32 PM

You know what. Traveling is a fundamental right.

Everyone has a right to have first class travel to any country they desire to go to and have first class hotel to stay in.

Conservative Samizdat on March 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM

Fabozz on March 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Okay, you said it better.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM

You know what. Traveling is a fundamental right.

Everyone has a right to have first class travel to any country they desire to go to and have first class hotel to stay in.

Conservative Samizdat on March 8, 2010 at 1:34 PM

If you phase that as “No government can prevent you from making the arrangements to…”, within your country of origin, then there would be no need for the sarcasm.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Nothing that reaches into someone else’s pocket is a “right.” Period.

Bat Chain Puller on March 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Question – What happened with AIP? I was curious as to why I couldn’t find Ed’s old articles there anymore.

juanito on March 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Live in Finland, yes you have a right to HS access, but the gvt doesn’t pay for it. YOU are responsible for that. However it takes months to get your ADSL connected, extremely slow. But cable modems, you go to Sonera, Elisa, Anvia etc… and get your box and codes and when you get home hook up your box and you are on.

pabo on March 8, 2010 at 1:47 PM

I have a right to a car. I want my Aston Martin Vanquish NOW!!!!

ladyingray on March 8, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Sorry, the closest you’ll get is the now vanquished Pontiac Aztek, courtesy of Government Motors.

jimmy2shoes on March 8, 2010 at 1:48 PM

I want a space shuttle!

csdeven on March 8, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Brilliant.

It’s interesting that this debate is popping up on the BBC now. They are contemplating some pretty severe cut-backs and it is likely that BBC’s free internet access to a panoply of products is going to be severely curtailed.

lexhamfox on March 8, 2010 at 2:03 PM

But to call Internet access a fundamental human right is not just wrong, but completely absurd.

Who should be denied the ability to purchase an internet access service ?

Women ?
Blacks ?
Indians ?

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Another shining example of educational decline in the world. Consequently, another example for the need for a return to classical education.

shick on March 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Who should be denied the ability to purchase an internet access service ?

Women ?
Blacks ?
Indians ?

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Moldy. Old. Strawman.

The right to free speech covers this issue already, oh constitutional scholar.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Who should be denied the ability to purchase an internet access service ?

Women ?
Blacks ?
Indians ?

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

DUMBEST POST EVAH!!! almost

CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Who should be denied the ability to purchase an internet access service ?

Women ?
Blacks ?
Indians ?

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

O positives. I can’t stand them. /sarcasm

shick on March 8, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Ever hear of satellites?

http://www.earthlink.net/access/satellite.faces

Now go buy it for yourself. If you are out of range for the satellites you don’t live on Earth anyway.

CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:19 PM

We all know that at its base this is about another thing we can socialize.

CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:20 PM

good stuff, Ed. I would agree that this conflation of “rights” with “privileges” is absurd. One man’s right becomes another’s obligation. A true right is something that you are endowed with that the possession of, or exercise thereof, does not infringe upon another. I have the right to keep and bear arms, and that, in no way, infringes upon anothers right to do so either. However, with healthcare or the internet, you rightly point out, that someone has to provide that “service”. It is an overreach to state that these things are rights, simply because some cannot discern the difference between a right and a privilege.

ted c on March 8, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Dark-Star on March 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM
CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:16 PM
shick on March 8, 2010 at 2:17 PM

FYI… universal access has been the law of the land in the USA since 1996…

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:23 PM

FYI… universal access has been the law of the land in the USA since 1996…

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Yes it is obvious no one means to take anyone’s rights away. Ergo you are an idiot.

CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:24 PM

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Idiots like yourself amaze me. Interesting you blow right past my point about satellite access. Go buy it if you want it. No one is keeping you from it. Sheesh the stupidity. Are you really this stupid?

CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Who should be denied the ability to purchase an internet access service ?

Women ?
Blacks ?
Indians ?

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

The same who should be denied the ability to purchase anything? NONE. It’s not about denying purchase, silly. It’s about equivilating the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to taxpayer paid health insurance, car payments, mortgage, groceries, etc. The government should defend your fundamental inalienable rights. But to garuantee that it’s going to pick up the tab on using those rights is absurd.

shick on March 8, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Moldy. Old. Strawman.

The right to free speech covers this issue already, oh constitutional scholar.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Mr Obvious aka elgeneralisimo has a problem.

CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Seems a right to transportation would be much more fundamental and meaningful than the internet. Right elgeneralisimo?

It’s your turn to pick up the cub scouts. Now scoot. /

CWforFreedom on March 8, 2010 at 2:39 PM

shick on March 8, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Careful, there.
The right to purchase internet service from a vender who is willing to sell it to you would fall fairly unambiguously under the right of liberty (and maybe property, as well).

…though the “right” to be provided internet access free of charge is clearly not.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2010 at 2:48 PM

This is a difficult one to explain, of course one has to pay for it, we pay for water, sewage, electricity and heating, its the same as that. There are a lot of services that are offered via the internet, one can argue that internet access in a civilised country where all use the internet is the same.

Where it gets messy is when tolitarian impulses get in the way, for example because the copyright provides of music cannot be bothered to sue for breach of copyright they have through the medium of lobbyists and the like including paid for politicians pushed a system where if any member of a family has uploaded or downloaded copy right material the whole family are denied access. This is unacceptable, I do not disagree that people in jail should not have access outside of a controlled environment, but that is different.

Blocking use of the internet in such a way is like having a man preventing me from buying a newspaper, playing a game, booking a holiday and even paying my tax.

I agree with Fabozz on March 8, 2010 at 1:13 PM totally…

TrueBrit on March 8, 2010 at 2:54 PM

I want an Oompa Loompa! I want you to get me an Oompa Loompa right away!

I want an Oompa Loompa now!

somewhatconcerned on March 8, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Careful, there.
The right to purchase internet service from a vender who is willing to sell it to you would fall fairly unambiguously under the right of liberty (and maybe property, as well).

…though the “right” to be provided internet access free of charge is clearly not.

Count to 10 on March 8, 2010 at 2:48 PM

I understand your point but I don’t agree completely with it. Service or product providers likewise have the right to refuse to sell products to a customer. A customer does not have the “right” to purchase anything he/she wants. Maybe we are just splitting hairs.

shick on March 8, 2010 at 3:15 PM

I want an Oompa Loompa now!

somewhatconcerned on March 8, 2010 at 3:13 PM

Bad egg/nut.

shick on March 8, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Who should be denied the ability to purchase an internet access service ?

Women ?
Blacks ?
Indians ?

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Your logic is entirely missing here. Calling something a right, means you don’t expect anyone to have to pay for it, as having to pay necessarily excludes some from being able to utilize the right.

That’s why it’s illegal to make anyone pay to vote.

Did you actually read Ed’s post or do you just need help with it?

Esthier on March 8, 2010 at 3:21 PM

The right to freedom of speech for ourselves and with our fellow man is vested in us, as individuals, not government.

Freedom of the press is the use of liberty to extend the span of such speech over a wider area. With our freedom and our liberty we can make our thoughts known to a wider audience.

You have the right not to listen or read what others create, of course. That too is born within you.

As publication is an expression of liberty and it is, at its base, a dissemination of your speech to a wider audience, then the internet is, for all practical purposes, a publication system for multi-media types. To use this system requires the expenditure of your good work via your liberty so that you can afford this access. Today the PC is your printing press, and the internet the means of distribution… the actual printing happens when whatever you see or read from this system is rasterized by YOU on your screen. That PC does this for you, and it is garnered through your liberty and your right to purchase goods and services. You do not get the access for free as part of your rights: that is why we have liberty so as to enact our rights.

I, myself, put much material up of both non-fiction and fictional nature… that is my right of free speech that then is enacted by my liberty and my personal time investment in the creation of such works. Via my liberty my works are made available to you… it is my right to do that, but that does not mean I get instant access to the internet. Just as a printing press required the expenditure of liberty to gain capital investment so, too, does access to the internet require me to expend time and energy so I can exercise my liberty to create messages and promulgate ideas.

We all have a ‘right’ to health care, but getting it is an exercise of our liberty. When government provides it then it removes our liberty and restricts our freedoms to provide what it things is sufficient for us and then restricts our right to seek better treatment from others via our own liberty. That is why it is tyrannical: it restricts both the rights and liberties of the individual and interposes the State to decide purely personal issues and prohibits the free exercise of your positive rights and liberty. And government seeks what is good for government, not the individual, which is why it is a very, very, very good idea to keep it from deciding your life or death for anything save criminal proceedings. When it does that to provide ‘good’ things it removes rights and liberty from the population as a whole… and that is a form of enslavement, no matter how mediocre the service or how lovely the gilt leaf on the iron bars of the cage.

ajacksonian on March 8, 2010 at 3:27 PM

Sigh… long has elgeneralisimo bemoaned the dearth of both critical thinking skills and poor command of the facts displayed by some posters since the first time this place opened up registration…

If he must hand hold some through this, then he must…

The UN’s primacy is the preservation and rights of the status quo of nation states. Over the years it has secondarily extended into basic human rights, with efforts in decolonization primarily coming to mind. That is why you have a UN mouthpiece quoted.

What needs to be understood is that not every place in the world is just like the USA, or Western Europe for that matter, and that what we take for granted is actually an illegal activity in various parts of the world(try going to a Christian church in The Kingdom of SA).

Let’s say the Hutu’s are still harboring a grudge against the Tutsis in Rwanda, but instead of chopping them up in little pieces with machetes, they just engage in a bit discrimination by not allowing them internet access.

Better than being dead, sure, but over time a whole class of people will be regulated to a lessor status. It’s more than being simply inconvenienced…

Which brings elgeneralisimo back to his first comment, who should be denied access ? And why should they be denied ?

And as evidenced by reading some of the comments that came after which completely missed the point as well, nowhere did anybody mention free internet. The comments, like the OP, conflate… oops, sorry… think that what is being said means free internet, when in fact it means denying the someone ability of obtaining(buying) internet access because of a discriminatory practice is a bad thing no matter where you are…

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 3:43 PM

If as our Declaration of Independence suggests that our rights come from God, then Al Gore must be god?

/s

barnone on March 8, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Which brings elgeneralisimo back to his first comment, who should be denied access ? And why should they be denied ?

And as evidenced by reading some of the comments that came after which completely missed the point as well, nowhere did anybody mention free internet. The comments, like the OP, conflate… oops, sorry… think that what is being said means free internet, when in fact it means denying the someone ability of obtaining(buying) internet access because of a discriminatory practice is a bad thing no matter where you are…

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 3:43 PM

We got the point. But to call access to it a “Right” in and of itself corrupts the broader Free Speech point. Most on this blog would agree that Free Speech is a fundamental Human Right. But most would also agree, as ED points out, that financing the publication of that speech is not.

The moment you call a sub-part of an item its own Right, it means it must be paid for by the State. Free Speech is a Right. Are Newspapers a fundamental Right? Which newspaperss? How many newspapers? The Internet is a publishing medium, just like a book or newspaper. The speech contained on its pages/webpages are free, but they all have a cost which should not be born by the general public.

barnone on March 8, 2010 at 3:53 PM

What did we do before broadband — live in complete isolation and tyranny?

You’ll have to ask the Iranians about that. Or the Chinese.

Not everyone lives in a democracy which cherishes freedom of speech, and the Internet lets their voices be heard far away from where the oppression is occurring.

The Internet is like a gun. Power grows out of it.

unclesmrgol on March 8, 2010 at 4:04 PM

nowhere did anybody mention free internet.

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Except of course, Ed, the person you were quoting in your first comment.

If you were actually talking about something else or trying to correct Ed, as you seem to be claiming now, it was your obligation to make that clear, not my obligation to read your mind.

Esthier on March 8, 2010 at 4:08 PM

The UN’s primacy is the preservation and rights of the status quo of nation states. Over the years it has secondarily extended into basic human rights, with efforts in decolonization primarily coming to mind. That is why you have a UN mouthpiece quoted.

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 3:43 PM

You are right to point out the difference between the U.S. Constitution’s idea of rights and those of the U.N. They are vastly different.

The UN, however, now mostly influenced by the wealthiest in nations and particularly those run by the Political system of Islam, is an enormous part of the problem. The UN’s definition of rights violations is so ambigious that it includes those of terrorists who are annoyed by those who dare to state facts of their beliefs.

shick on March 8, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Who should be denied the ability to purchase an internet access service ?

Women ?
Blacks ?
Indians ?

elgeneralisimo on March 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM

There’s a tech support joke in there somewhere but I’ll leave that to the racist, homophobic tea-baggers, who probably wear fur while they eat babies.

redzap on March 8, 2010 at 5:00 PM

A fundamental right to 1) the library, 2) cable TV, 3) mobile phone, 4) home computer, etc., etc., etc.

I don’t think so.

Get. A. Job!

Dandapani on March 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM

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