The decline of Europe into a parody of civilization continues apace. The European Court of Human Rights has now declared that citizens of the European Union have a right to put up a satellite dish. According to the UK’s Daily Mail:
It is regarded as a luxury that allows people to watch top sport and blockbuster movies from the comfort of their armchairs.
But owning a satellite dish is actually a human right, according to unelected European judges.
In an extraordinary ruling, lawmakers in Strasbourg have warned that banning dishes on listed buildings, social housing and even private homes could breach the right to freedom of expression by preventing people from practice religion.
Two tenants in Sweden took their government to court after they were evicted by their landlord in a dispute over a dish.
The couple installed one of the dishes on their rented property but the landlord ordered them to take it down. They refused and were later thrown out of the property.
But European judges ruled that the Swedish government had failed in its obligation to protect the couple’s right to receive information. It found that satellite dishes come under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
So what do you file this under? “Debasement of the concept of human rights”? “Orwellian language”? “Creeping authoritarianism”? “Lawyers gone wild”? How about under, “European Union a bad idea”? That would fit, because here’s the article under which this decision was issued:
- Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
- The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
This all sounds good, as human rights language generally does. The problems begin when lawyers with ideological presupposition begin mucking around. In this case, the presupposition is that ownership of property does not give the owner the right to say how it should be used. That right belongs to those who occupy it. Another term for this is “squatters rights,” which have been generally disdained in the West as a form of theft (not that the tenants in the Swedish case are actual squatters–they’re paying rent, after all–but they are using the same argument, that occupation trumps ownership).
Once the presupposition is in place, it’s simply a matter of applying it to whatever the lawyers decide. In this case, they took the right to receive information and voilà! of course tenants have the right to put up a satellite dish regardless of this wishes of the landlord. Since this is a matter of confusing a technological means for the right itself, the logical next steps will be to declare that newspaper must give away their product for free, that governments must insure that all citizens have broadband Internet access (already being pushed by religious leftists in the U.S.), and that everyone be provided a high definition big screen television. You heard it here first.
(Via Hot Air.)