Tuesday, 3 October 2017

"Learning to read and write is a fundamental right"

This makes me cross. I just learn that "Learning to read and write is a fundamental right", according to UNESCO. This is as bad as the 'right' to clean drinking water. Don't misunderstand me. I am in favour of clean drinking water and learning to read (though illiterates know so very much that the semi-educated lose). But these are not RIGHTS. Freedom of movement, expression, worship, fair trials, freedom from unjust interference by the police - these things are rights.

These are Continental 'positive liberties' and damnable.

Europeans, who have no real tradition of freedom, love rights that involve infringing freedom. The right to clean water means someone is required to pay for your clean water. EU law is full of positive liberties. Why should there be a right to privacy or respect for family life? One reason UK is not staying on EU.

I had a conversation on  tie theme with  German Christian Democrat Professor of Human Rights, very different from a Conservative, which I published here.


  1. A little like when I encountered a man who was employed to distribute free laptops to the children of the Western Solomon Islands. His goal, through Microsoft, was that every child in Melanesia would become computer literate. I told him that I felt this was a gross invasion of their tribal culture and asked him to what benefit his computers were to children who were part of a cohesive family based tradition and very clever at subsisting off of the forest and the ocean? His reply was that he was providing a means so that they could better themselves with the internet's limitless knowledge. Seemed to me that that would be a disruptive influence and detrimental to their tribal society — a modern version of the 19th century missionary demanding the natives cover up their sinful nakedness.

    Mark P.

    1. Mark, while I understand access that new technology can be disruptive to a traditional society in the short run, it's very presumptuous to dictate what is good or not for a particular group of people, based on idealized, romantic notions of the "noble savage". It's not humane to hold people back and keep them ignorant in order to satisfy one's entertainment needs.