Yet Another "Human Right"

Death penalty opponents are adamant that capital punishment is a violation of "human rights." Amnesty International, for example, could hardly be more explicit: "The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights," see this site. I have never been real sure of the source of authority to declare that a punishment perfectly legal in countries with more than half the world's population (including India, the world's largest democracy) is a violation of "human rights," nor am I sure of what objective and agreed upon standards are used to decide what a "human right" is. Evidently, I need to find out right quick, because it seems that we have a new one: Access to the Internet. And no, I am not making this up. MSNBC reports that said access has been declared a "human right" by none other than Frank La Rue, a 'special rapporteur' for the UN's Human Rights Council (emphasis added): The UN report defines Internet access to include both free information flow as well as access to infrastructure, "such as cables, modems, computers and software, to access the Internet in the first place." Well that's cool. I trust the UN will be sending someone over in short order to give me up-to-date cables, modems, computers and software. I also trust someone else — although I'm not sure who — will pick up the tab for this, since I think it's a no-no to charge for, you know, human rights. Moral of story: Next time you hear abolitionists start in on "human rights," watch your wallet (in addition to your chance for justice).

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