Rights or not?

I was listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 today (yes, I know…) and as always his “phone in” show attracts odd, outspoken members of society, no matter how trivial the topic is. One of today’s odd topics was about the proposed legislation to force “rights of way” along coastal routes, even if the landowner objects. The Radio 2 website even has a “have your say” on the subject.

Now, I have very mixed opinions on this and would probably lump for maintaining the status quo – we currently have about 70% of the UK coast open for “ramblers,” the rest is in private or Ministry of Defence hands. That said, I can see the arguments put by some of the ramblers – and as a big fan of the countryside in general I think it would be nice if there were more places to go. Anyway, from this position of steadfast ambivalence, it amused me to see one of the arguments used on the show (repeatedly).

Basically put, there was an argument that as we are “born on an island” we have a “birthright” to walk the coast. Seriously. Well, when I say seriously, I mean it is not something I have made up for giggles here but I am not 100% sure how serious the people who said it were.

Sadly, the fact that no one seems to have picked up on this during the bits of the show I listened to and the fact people could actually use such a line of nonsense as an argument, highlights the downsides of the UK’s educational policies. Gone are learning classical philosophy and the origins of society. Now people think a “right” to do something comes with no burden of obligation and is identical to wanting to do something.

Unfortunately this watered down idea of what a “right” actually is, means people are less concerned when important rights are lost… So it looks like we will force landowners to allow access to their land at the same time we bring in ID papers, increased CCTV monitoring, longer detention without trial and so on.  Well done Britain.

[tags]Education, Classics, Classical Studies, Philosophy, Culture, Society, UK, Coast, Landscapes, BBC, Radio 2, Jeremy Vine, Civil Rights, Rights[/tags]