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I am a classical liberalist and you’re probably thinking that I’m strong on human rights, but that is not true: I believe that there is no such thing as “human rights”. Therefore I do not consider the evil Electoral Finance Act to be a breach of “human rights”*. Allow me to explain.
The fundamental principle of classical liberalism is the non-aggression axiom:
It is illicit to initiate or threaten invasive violence against a man or his legitimately owned property.
This covers personal rights and property rights, and what is usually called “the right to freedom of speech” is actually property rights, because I have the right to say whatever I like when I am using my own property. Three illustrations of this:
1) I have the right to print political pamphlets and give them away or sell them without hindrance because the pamphlets are my property.
2) I have the right to buy a hall and state my political opinions to whoever is in the hall because the hall is my property. I can also do the same in a rented hall if the rental contract allows this because I have purchased the right to use the hall for a period of time.
3) I have the right to purchase radio or television time and state my political beliefs. Naturally the station owners have the right to refuse to sell the time to me and listeners/viewers have the right to turn off their sets if they do not want to listen to me.
The EFA is not a breach of “human rights”, rather it is a breach of property rights. My money, or at least what is left after the State has stolen a good part of it, is my property, yet the State tells me what I can and cannot do with that money during election year. If I print a billboard that billboard is my property, but the State tells me that I must put an authorisation notice on the billboard, so the State is interfering with my property rights and putting words into my mouth.
The present definition of “human rights” is subjective and invites such evils as the EFA, the anti-smacking law and hate-speech laws. Only when “human rights” are redefined as property rights and personal rights in accordance with the non-aggression axiom can we have a consistent, logical and objective set of rights.
I am a classical liberalist and I believe that there is no such thing as “human rights”, but I am passionate about property and personal rights.
Insane rules for election day
The other day I spotted this egregious piece of hypocrisy from the Labour government – even if we do vote the same thing happens. Click on the picture for a full size view.
*I have previously said that the EFA is an attack on the right to freedom of speech, which was a phenomenonological description given for clarity and brevity. Translation: I was describing the visible effect of the EFA, rather than the underlying mechanics of what the EFA does. It’s like saying “the sun has risen” rather than “the Earth has rotated and the Sun is now within my line of sight”; both are true, but one is simpler.