Property Rights ARE Human Rights
By David Henderson
One of the left’s most effective canards has been its alleged distinction between property rights and human rights. The fact is that property rights are human rights. My right to my computer–my property–is not my computer’s right to itself. It’s my right, and I’m human.
So when I see someone who is on record as being a defender of human rights and that someone defends, however haltingly, her property right as a human right, that’s progress. Unfortunately, in a recent case, that’s not how many traditional defenders of property rights saw it; instead, they made fun of her. That was my initial reaction too, but now I’ve had time to rethink.
I’m referring to the case of Patricia Howson, a former investigator for the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. She complained to the Ontario Human Rights Commission that her right to build a parking space on her own property was being denied. She wanted–and wants–her right upheld. She sees her right to build a parking space on her own property as a human right.
That’s progress. I don’t know how consistent she will be. I wouldn’t be surprised if, for example, Ms. Howson saw a neighbor’s (for Canadians reading this, “neighbour’s”) right to build a fence on his property as not being a human right. But surely when someone who has been an advocate of human rights starts to see at least some property rights as human rights, isn’t that progress? And shouldn’t traditional defenders of property rights, defenders who have always understood that property rights are human rights, welcome her into the fold?
HT to Ken B.