Green Room

Adventures in Euphemism: Two Nordic Nations Define “Basic Human Rights”

posted at 9:09 am on July 3, 2010 by

Great news, Finns.  It appears you’re the recipients of a brand-new, government-issued Basic Human Right™.  Yes, alongside Life (postnatal) and Liberty (State-defined), you now have the fundamental legal right to affordable broadband internet access!   In fact, Finland is the first nation in the world to pass such legislation, promising access to a 1Mbps connection in every household by 2015.

CNN reports the exuberance of one official:

“From now on a reasonably priced broadband connection will be everyone’s basic right in Finland,” said Finnish communications minister Suvi Linden. “This is absolutely one of the government’s most significant achievements in regional policy and I am proud of it.”

(Insert thunderous applause of Net Neutrality advocates everywhere.)

Since this appears to be a moral crusade, I won’t trouble you with concerns of government-managed content or future impairment of technological development.  But the angle of “basic human rights” brings to mind another curiously underreported matter across the Baltic involving basic parental rights.

According to The New American, Sweden recently signed an education reform package entitled: “The new Education Act – for knowledge, choice and security.”   Choice.  Now, that is a triumph in Orwellian doublespeak.  Along with sweeping new regulations on private schools, Sweden has effectively banned home schooling:

“[Religious schools] can’t make any children to pray or confess to the God, but they will still be allowed [to exist],” Education Ministry press secretary Anna Neuman told The New American in a telephone interview. Essentially, there will no longer be any difference between “private” schools and government schools, she explained. And there will be no other option.

In addition to abolishing any remaining distinctions among schools, the new education act also prohibits home schooling for religious or philosophical reasons. Home education can be allowed only in “exceptional circumstances” like extreme bullying, Neuman explained. Lawyers have said the new condition basically means never. […]

“It’s a fear that [home schooling] doesn’t work appropriate[ly],” press secretary Neuman explained, though she admitted there was no report or evidence to back up the fear. (Emphasis mine.)

Clearly, working “appropriately” means something other than educational quality since evidence is squarely on the side of modern home school families. Rather, this is tacit admission that academic success and school choice is of lesser importance than allegiance to State dogma…for the children:

“A pupil who is in need of help and support must have the right to receive it and one who is bright also has the right to be stimulated,” says Minister for Education Jan Björklund about the new Education Act.

“Stimulation” as arbitrarily defined by the Kingdom of Sweden…which could be the the UNCRC set to Ace of Base tunes, much to Swedish parental chagrin.

Both countries and their respective pieces of legislation belie a view of  human rights incontrovertibly warped by Statist agenda:  Finland invents a human right to justify state control of internet access.  Sweden revokes the natural right of parents to instruct their children in favor of the always-benevolent, always-just regime. (It Takes a Village, anyone?)  Two nations, two cases of  “rights” arbitrarily created, redefined or rescinded, gutting the concept entirely.

Yet, this is the EU.  What do the Socialist escapades of two chilly Montana-sized nations across the Atlantic have to do with us?  We should consider ourselves fortunate to have front row seats to the future of our own nation should liberal policies continue to proliferate.  The same euphemistic language is bandied about, the same conjuring of  “rights”  occurs to facilitate more regulation of our lives.  Far from being anchored in anything substantive—besides an elitist vision of control—the term “basic human right” itself is a plaything, a MacGuffin, a verbal football to toss back and forth as long as it serves their purpose.  What does it even mean?

The right to comply with the State’s choices for our children, our health, our media.  The right to receive anything the State (peace be upon It) decides to generously guarantee us, with gratitude.

All things considered,  I’ll take my freedom and 1996 dial-up over this utopia any day.


Cross-posted at The Contrarian Bee.

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I think they use the phrase ‘basic human right’ sarcasticly. It is realy a ‘basic human left’.

Why does year around cold weather and months of no sun do this to people?

percysunshine on July 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Home schooled kids don’t get an “appropriate” education means they aren’t being brain washed by socialists. It’s coming here too and soon if the lefties in power aren’t thrown out in November.

erp on July 3, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Lesson to be learned, public school education is not sufficient and it is necessary that additional home schooling be administered by parents after school hours. To include sufficient reasoned facts to refute the dogma being presented in public school such as :

History, science, math, philosophy, human behavior, human psychology, practical skills in the trades and crafts of self sufficiency.

If inner city minority students can reject the white mans education then conservatives can reject liberal indoctrination in the same way.

Skandia Recluse on July 3, 2010 at 10:06 AM

(Insert thunderous applause of Net Neutrality advocates everywhere.)

You don’t know what Net Neutrality is do you?

jdkchem on July 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM

You don’t know what Net Neutrality is do you?

jdkchem on July 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM

A bit sarcastic on my part. 🙂

But, please, enlighten me.

Bee on July 3, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Does Finland’s president have a Kill Switch?

J.E. Dyer on July 3, 2010 at 11:13 AM

You don’t know what Net Neutrality is do you?

jdkchem on July 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Yes. How is her joke not apt? NN advocates taking control away from the private corporations that invest their own money to provide internet access to paying customers, and telling them they can’t prioritize some traffic over others, despite it being their damned service, through government force.

Therefore, it goes well with the notion of internet access as a “right”. NN proponents seem to think they have a right to access whatever traffic they want at top speed, regardless of whether a company thinks that it might be better for the rest of the customers if they can access other sites or information faster.

…IF companies even decide to do that, which they haven’t.

Arguing for more government control over the internet, while displaying shock at other government control, shows incredible naivete.

Spot on, Diane.

MadisonConservative on July 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Skandia Recluse on July 3, 2010 at 10:06 AM

You’re absolutely right re: supplemental education. I fully intend on doing that if we choose not to home school and can’t afford private education.

Does Finland’s president have a Kill Switch?

J.E. Dyer on July 3, 2010 at 11:13 AM

From FICORA. Not sure. I’m pretty sure this makes our President ahead of the curve in terms of naked totalitarianism. 😉

Spot on, Diane.

MadisonConservative on July 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Thank you! I think he misunderstood the humor, which doesn’t surprise me.

Bee on July 3, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Does Finland’s president have a Kill Switch?

Finland is an ex-Soviet Colony. So we know the President does not have a red button, or a football.

percysunshine on July 3, 2010 at 1:39 PM

There’s a joke in metal circles which asserts that “all they do in Finland is get drunk and pull knives on each other”.

This sheds new light on something that otherwise seemed random.

Cylor on July 3, 2010 at 9:30 PM

Ah Finland…on the one hand you’ll soon pants the USA for internet access, on the other you’ll have as much freedom as the old USSR for schooling.

Dark-Star on July 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM

You don’t know what Net Neutrality is do you?

jdkchem on July 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM

He knows, he just likes taking potshots at the movement. And even if he misses by a mile, so what, most of HA is just as eager to spit on NN proponents.

Dark-Star on July 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Dark-Star on July 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Diane is not a “he”, numbnuts, and she and I both understand the topic intimately.

MadisonConservative on July 4, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Ah Finland…on the one hand you’ll soon pants the USA for internet access, on the other you’ll have as much freedom as the old USSR for schooling.

Dark-Star on July 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM

It was a comparison between Finland and Sweden, neighboring countries dealing with basic “rights” simultaneously. I found the coincidence interesting.

I make no apologies for my opposition to NN. No, I do not consider net access/speed to be on par with other public utilities, hence my (snarky) comparison. I do not approve of government involvement in any industry/infrastructure which private companies have built (Yes, I’m aware that NN proponents believe that government regulation on ISPs will maintain/foster competition. Where have I heard that before? Right. HCR.) I’m certainly no techie (though my husband and close friend are) but I’ve read enough to be rightly concerned about decreased quality and stifled innovation. How a conservative could ever argue for more government intervention into the private sector is mystifying. Even if we do have to pay more for better service, when did it become a “right” to have something someone else created? Beyond that, the content alone sets it apart from other public services. The freedom it’s allowed is something we should guard jealousy and given this administration’s interest in all things information and internet-related, and his penchant for nationalizing things, I’m concerned. I trust the government to manage this about as much as I trust them with my healthcare decisions and children’s education. Read: not at all.

Honest question: why lament State control over education (clearly an issue of ideology over quality) but not that same government managing internet access?

Bee on July 4, 2010 at 1:53 PM

MadisonConservative on July 4, 2010 at 10:37 AM

That’s a man, baby….yeahhhhhh. 😉

By the way, google NN and Finland’s decision and see if they aren’t doing precisely what I said they would be.

Bee on July 4, 2010 at 2:17 PM

It’s almost dumbfounding how they can say that they “fear” an outcome, at a government level, and use that to shape a national policy, without a single study backing up that “fear.”

Freedom is an illusion over there.

jimmy the notable on July 4, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Home schooled kids don’t get an “appropriate” education means they aren’t being brain washed by socialists. It’s coming here too and soon if the lefties in power aren’t thrown out in November.

erp on July 3, 2010 at 9:41 AM

You’r at least 20 years behind the ball. Daughter is graduating college this year. During her elementary years when children or most vulnerable to brain washing, my school district was allowing new age activities to be included in the curriculum. I did not want her exposed to the liberal brainwashing and forbid them to include her. They sometimes honored it and sometimes ignored my refusal to allow her to be included. What usually happened when she was pulled out was some time with the school’s pychologist group for kids having problems fitting in. It was not as bad as it sounds for her. She is very gifted and being so has its own set of problems.

Today my daughter is conservative, a stance that she decided on herself and understands why she is. For that I am grateful.

As a teacher I can tell you that socialism is more entrenched in our schools that most realize. One of the main breaches in the “No Child Left Behind” mandates. Prior to this mandate teachers had time to actually teach their academic subjects in ways that added interest and a more rounded class curriculum. After it came into effect, teachers were mandated to teach to a standardised test that they could only guess what was on it. Taking old released test they have narrowed their subjects down to what is most likely to be on that test when it arrives and gloss over what is not likely to be. In American History that tends to be time priods where the socialist had problems. Teachers teach and reteach to the test since they will be held accountable to how well their students do on it. In special education annual individual lesson plans used to set goals and hoped that they were ecceeded. Under federal mandates today those goals set the limits on what they are to be taught. How you can teach them is also controlled. I got into all sorts of trouble for exceeding kindergarten level math, and using peer teaching, to bring them up to fourth grade levels. My reward was being ordered to do a remedial special education course, which I never did. Socialism demands conformity, not success. I guess the other problem I created was the annual lesson plan committee having to explain the sudden advancement in math to the parents.

Franklyn on July 5, 2010 at 3:50 PM

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