John Locke famously stated that the core natural rights are “life, liberty, and property.” Thomas Jefferson tweaked Locke’s list to reflect his own understanding of human rights by stating, in the Declaration of Independence, that these rights are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And Emily Peck, executive business editor for Huffington Post, recently followed the Jeffersonian tradition of augmentation by asserting that our Creator has also endowed the womanly half of mankind with the unalienable right to free tampons.
If you have a basic familiarity with Locke, Jefferson, or third-grade civics, however, you may have noticed something slightly problematic with Peck’s brash addition to the list of human rights—namely that the feminine hygiene product of which Peck speaks is not something that God granted to all human beings by virtue of their humanity. Instead it is a good human beings invented for themselves and must continue producing for it to continue existing.
In other words, the problem with saying that tampons are a human right is that it’s a very silly thing to say. They’re most obviously not, at least not in a universe where words and concepts can’t be gutted of their meaning so that you can sanctify your desire to not pay for stuff.
Unlimited Stuff For All
Peck, of course, is not the first to discover new species of human rights. In fact, this unique field of taxonomy has become widely practiced in liberal circles. In 2008, for example, the Obama administration famously discovered that health insurance is a human right. A few years later, the United Nations declared the Internet a human right. This election cycle, Bernie Sanders and his ilk have said likewise about free higher education.
Granted, it’s unclear at this time if health insurance, the Internet, and free higher education (which still doesn’t technically exist) were still human rights prior to existing. This is why we should all look forward to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ethel Gunderson v. Comcast to see if the cable giant violated the Minnesota nonagenarian’s human rights by denying her wireless broadband for the first 80 years of her life simply because the technology hadn’t been invented yet.
In case you’re not following the liberal logic concerning what is and isn’t a human right, this chart might help:
This mindset is why, in 2020, you should expect Sen. Elizabeth Warren to insist that all the new stuff that’s been invented by then is also a human right—stuff like universal access to 6K TVs, customized genetic modification of your fetuses and, of course, those non-GMO dodo enzymes that everyone loves. (President Trump is going to bring back the dodo bird in 2018—a great time for America.)
It’s Only a Right If We Want It
Also, in case you’re wondering, the “if it exists, it’s a human right” mentality only applies to things that liberals actually want to exist. For example, even though the the right to self-defense and religious liberty both exist, liberals don’t have much interest in exercising either one, which is why they don’t believe in universal access to handguns or Lutheranism.
Granted, I certainly agree with Peck that it would be great if all women had access to health and sanitation products. On many issues like this one, I am convinced that conservatives and liberals seek the same outcome, but disagree on the means of achieving it.
But if liberals are in a bit of a compromising mood, perhaps we can meet halfway. Perhaps my fellow conservatives and I can pledge to help the private sector see that everyone benefits when certain goods and services are made available to those who can’t pay top-dollar for them. And perhaps liberals can pledge to stop releasing the human rights kraken every time they’re annoyed at having to shell out a few bucks for stuff that’s less exciting to purchase than an iPhone.