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Real human rights restrain the state, not the people

Back in 2011, Mark Steyn spoke to the Institute of Public Affairs. Steyn’s speech is now more than five years old, but perhaps more relevant today than ever. “Back in 1215, Magna Carta Libertatum couldn’t have made it plainer, real human rights are restraints that the people place upon the king. We understood that eight centuries…


Back in 2011, Mark Steyn spoke to the Institute of Public Affairs. Steyn’s speech is now more than five years old, but perhaps more relevant today than ever.

“Back in 1215, Magna Carta Libertatum couldn’t have made it plainer, real human rights are restraints that the people place upon the king. We understood that eight centuries ago. Today, we’ve entirely perverted and corrupted the principle. We’re undermining real human rights, like freedom of speech, and replacing them with ersatz rights, that rather than restraining the king, give him vastly increased state power to restrain the rights of his subjects. It’s an abomination and it’s explicitly Orwellian, because these new rights are not handed out equally, but in different ways and to different degrees, according to which approved identity groups you fall into. Orwell, in Animal Farm: all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. That’s the system we’ve erected in Australia, in Europe, and in North America. If you belong to privileged groups, the state affords you rights it does not extend to others…

Anyone can be in favour of free speech for Barney the Dinosaur and the Wiggles, but if you’re not in favour of free speech you find offensive and repellent and loathsome, you’re not in favour of free speech at all and you’re on the side of creeping totalitarianism.”

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