Adventures in Euphemism: Two Nordic Nations Define “Basic Human Rights”
posted at 9:09 am on July 3, 2010 by Diane Suffern
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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