All rights, then

Apparently, the Finns have decided that broadband Internet is a legal right, and 4 out of 5 worldwide think that Internet access is a legal right. So any day now, I expect Amnesty International and the rest of the international “human rights watchers” to start agitating in support of Black Water Farm and its inhabitants’ “right” to steam audio 24/7, which is being violated daily by Verizon, SuddenLink, and even Sprint. Right?

I don’t have an opinion on universal access as a public policy goal. It makes more sense than many things that governments steal money to implement, though at the end of the day, theft is the issue. But if rights come from nature, how can you have as a right something which does not exist in nature? The right here is the right to free speech and the right to gather information.  I have a right to address a crowd, and a right to own and use a soapbox to get me above the crowd to help propagate my message.  I don’t have a right to be provided a soapbox; no right can create an obligation upon another. The Net is essentially a big soapbox, and if somebody (like Verizon or Suddenlink) refuses to lend me their soapbox, I’M SOL. I can attempt to publicly shame them into doing so (as I am here) but it’s their soapbox. And frankly, I’m much more worried about attempts to nationalize the soapbox.

H/T: Soja

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