Is water a ‘right’? This is a vital issue, but one must not succumb to the sort of vague, emotionalist approach that expands the concept of ‘right’ beyond all recognition. This journal holds that rights are not guarantees to goods – there is no ‘right’ to education, transport, health care, if that means it comes at someone else’s expense and at the expense of their rights. A right, philosophically, is the link between 1)Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â the objective moral code of a human being as derived from natural law, and 2) the political laws of a society. The fundamental individual right is the right to life, which has the derivative and necessary rights of liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness which allows one to act for one’s own sake, to create the material means of one’s survival, and to live for one’s own sake, the right to be governed by the motivation of one’s own welfare.
So the question at hand, then, is can water be property? It would seem to depend on the circumstance. Certainly a pond on one’s ranch would seem to be one’s property, there for one’s use so long as it does not evaporate away during a drought. But free running water, the section of a stream running past one’s garden, for example? Perhaps, like the atmosphere, it is a naturally shared resource and one should be prevented from removing more than one requires for one’s individual use. There are indications to think Maude Barlow is right, since without water there is no life. One thing seems certain: water is not something that the criminal IMF and World Bank should be able to come into a country and give away to its corporate hangers-on.
March 17, 2009
Maude Barlow slams Canadian position on people’s right to water
Canada should be denied a seat on the UN Security Council until it recognizes water as a human right, a Canadian adviser to the president of the General Assembly said Tuesday.
“It would be wonderful to see Canada on the [council] helping to address the critical global challenges of our day,” Maude Barlow, who is also chairwoman of the nationalist Council of Canadians, said in a statement.