in Everything Else

The problems with Human Rights legislation

Human Rights and Lefts

I haven’t researched this post; it’s just coming off the top of my head as a result of a feeling I’ve had for, ooh, about 14 days. I don’t smoke. I never have. I hate being in smoky places, especially when you go to a ‘non-smoking’ area of a pub and come back smelling like a chimney. Despite that, I’m against the recently-imposed ban on smoking in public places in England.

The reason is simple: I don’t think it’s the government’s concern. It’s up to me whether I go to the places where people are smoking. The problem actually stems from too much government involvement in the public’s affairs. If we didn’t copy the USA so much and have such a litigious culture then organizations would be able to freely cater to the majority. In this case and in today’s society, that means non-smokers.

If it were not for ‘human rights’ legislation pubs would have been able to designate their establishments as ‘smoke-free’ and turn smokers away. Business would blossom as those not wanting to eat and drink in smoky environments would turn up in droves. But that didn’t happen: pubs had to cater to both parties, limiting the free market.

It’s like schools. The government talked about the ‘marketization’ of education in the early 1990s so that parents could make informed choices about the school their child should attend. But actually it was only quasi-marketization as schools seen as successful are limited from expanding in various ways, whilst those deemed to be failing are propped-up.

I don’t involve myself much in politics, and I think that’s because I swing from free-market liberalism is the answer to becoming convinced that communism’s got a lot going for it. The wishy-washy middle ground certainly isn’t for me…

/rant

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  • Marco Polo

    I realise this isn’t exactly the right place for this comment, but I just came across a post on your old blog on RFID tags, and wanted to point you to this article (already a few years old now) which discusses the same topic: Feds to Fund Controversial School Surveillance. Discussion about whether tracking or RFID tags are a “good idea” or not misses the point, in my opinion: behind any new technological development, there are people pushing it for their own agendas (genetically modified crops spring to mind as an example). The ostensible rationale is not the real one, for reasons perfectly illustrated by the second “Doctor Fun” cartoon in your blog post The dangers of RFID tags in education.