June 23, 2011 by Dan Mitchell
I’m often amazed at how the political class concocts new rights that can only be fulfilled by trampling on genuine freedoms.
In a previous post, I mocked Finland for deciding that broadband access was a human right (which presumably means Finns were being oppressed before Al Gore invented the Internet).
Another post sarcastically noted that European courts decided that free soccer broadcasts were a fundamental right (meaning Europeans were being oppressed before TV was invented).
But these two posts might lead people to think that only Europeans are stupid enough to create non-existent rights. Rest assured, this is not the case. Politicians from all part of the world are perfectly capable of making decisions that are economically foolish and morally depraved.
Consider President Evo Morales of Bolivia. His government decided to grant amnesty to people who purchased stolen cars. You may think I’m exaggerating, but here’s an excerpt from a news service report.
According to Bolivian Customs in the first ten days of the amnesty, effective until next July first, a total of 70.248 “chuto” cars (as illegal vehicles are called in Bolivia) have been presented for legalization to which another 6.000, with the wrong paperwork, must be added. …President Morales justified the legalization of contraband cars arguing that the ‘chutos’ are purchased by “poor people” who want “to improve their status” and prefer them because they are ‘cheaper’. “We all have a right to have a car” said President Morales.In a just society, of course, there is no such thing as a “right” that can only be provided by stealing another person’s property. And that’s true even when the government is the middleman in the transaction.
Dan Mitchell is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
He also blogs at International Liberty
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