The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not represent our advertisers

Friday, December 23, 2011

Property Rights And The Free Press

Not as if the point hasn't been made often by now, but repeating it may be of some benefit: Without a firm protection of the right to private property, the rights to freedom of speech, press, religious worship, etc., are under constant threat.

The most recent demonstration of this is happening in Argentina, although Venezuela has also served as a recent case in point. As reported by the BBC, "Argentina's government wins control of newsprint supplies, amid a long-running feud between the president and a major media group..." It appears that the legislature caved in to pressure from the president of Argentina and basically nationalized all the supplies that are needed to run an independent press. As the BBC put it, "The legislation, which passed in the lower house last week, says the production, sale and distribution of newsprint is of national interest."

Of course, even if true, nothing follows about how the government ought to wrest control of the "production, sale and distribution of newsprint." If anything, if it is true and "the production, sale and distribution of newsprint" is in the national interest – allowing that this means that it is generally an important part of the society – it is least secure when government takes control of these matters. The same principle holds for education. Its importance by no stretch of the imagination justifies placing it under government jurisdiction.


No comments: