“Once upon a time, people knew what human rights were.  It was beautifully straightforward.  Your rights were violated when someone did something to you or your property without your consent.  Legislation was more about procedural and institutional protection than control.  Simple ‘common law’ principles were enforced by police and courts to protect civilians from personal and property rights violations.  The idea that ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’ made sense because there was essentially one law: do no harm”.

Techno-equality calls for cheaper access not lavish entitlement: Leon Louw today in BusinessLive published by Business Day.

Further excerpts

Millions of controls replaced simple principles to the point where it was impossible for anyone to know their rights and obligations.

Generous people and governments gave indigent people “basic welfare” until compassion was hijacked by a “culture of entitlement”, whereby everyone is entitled to everything at everyone else’s expense.  This is the context in which students, data users and others demand benefits at someone else’s expense.

“Equality” meant equal freedom; it now means equal entitlement.  At least in theory.  There is no equality when huge sums are diverted to students instead of “the poor”, or to data users instead of people without smartphones.

. . . . .

The best way to keep up with the technology explosion and extend cheap access to all communities is to reinstate traditional human rights, slash network licence fees, allow free competition, release wasted “spectrum”, have the Treasury, not consumers, fund free internet for schools and encourage investment by discontinuing the nationalisation threat.  In short, government is the problem, not the solution.

Leon Louw is executive director of the Free Market Foundation.