Posted on April 29, 2010


Freeload Riders

EU calls vacations a human right


Daniel Clark


"Give me a ski weekend in the Alps, or give me death!" If Patrick Henry has any descendants in modern-day Europe, they may be saying things like that. At least if they're as daffy and presumptuous as Antonio Tajani, they might.


Tajani, the European Union's ironically named Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, has declared vacationing to be a "human right." Therefore, he is proposing to tax the citizens of EU member states in order to pay for vacations for those facing "difficult social, financial or personal" situations.

One can only guess at how broadly a socialist bureaucrat might interpret that standard, but at the very least, it amounts to forcing those who work to pay for those who don't work to travel all over Europe. That way, they can take a break from their not working at home, and try not working in another country for awhile. Call it the soccer hooligan subsidy.

It's tempting to write of Tajani's idea as just another of those European eccentricities that will never catch on here in the States, kind of like tiny beverages, unshaven women, and bidets. The difference in this case is that it involves the declaration of a new right, and thus invites liberal American judges to cite it as precedent, and impose it on us against our will. Next thing you know, your lazy neighbors will be living like Uighur terrorists in Bermuda, and sending you the bill.

If that sounds absurd, that's because it is. Unfortunately, so is our government, as long as it is controlled by Democrats who wouldn't know a human right from a humidor. Just last month, they declared health care to be a right, which it logically cannot be, since it requires an action to be taken on someone else's part. To put it in terms a liberal can understand, suppose they gave a splenectomy and nobody came. Since nobody is forced to be a doctor, there can't be a right to the services a doctor would provide, any more than there now exists a right to a nonexistent cure for the common cold.

This belief in a right to health care came to us from Europe, so why not a right to a vacation as well? The Democrats would have no trouble justifying this, with a little help from their friends in the media. All they'd have to do is lecture us that nobody should be forced to choose between food and a vacation. Those Republicans who disagreed would be undermined by centrists within their own party, who were eager to establish their anti-starvation credentials.

Once the government became our travel agent, the length and destination of everyone's vacation would be determined by some liberal wonk, whose aim would be to steer tourism dollars to Democrat districts. That means you could forget about Myrtle Beach. If the government booked you a room at the Days Inn in Flint, Michigan, that's where you and your snorkel would go.

We're 'ethicists,' and we're here to help you

This socialist concept of "rights" is a contradiction torn from the pages of 1984. For your government to grant you a new "right," it must take away your freedom. President Obama explained this in a May 2009 interview with New York Times Magazine, when he remarked that "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out there." When asked how this should be dealt with, he said, "I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place."

Policymakers only consult "ethicists" when seeking justification for things that had previously been known to be immoral. Invariably, the ethicists will issue a report along the lines that, whereas our culture has always disapproved of the raising of children as livestock, the ancient Shlobobians thought differently, so who's to say what's right? In other words, you don't want to be an old, sick, expensive person once that "very difficult democratic conversation" has defined your "right" to health care.

If a government-endowed "right" to vacations followed the same pattern, we'd have to spend them in confinement while being forced to perform slave labor, in the proud socialist tradition. As long as we're phasing in Cuba's health care system, we might as well also vacation in its sugar cane fields, and fulfill that inevitable "community service" requirement.

-- Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.



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