Monthly Archives: juni 2010

Fundamental rights and freedoms – Yin and Yang

The following is an updated version of a comment I wrote on the European Parliament’s Facebook page in response to the question What is the most important value that the EU should defend?

I agree that fundamental rights and freedoms are the most important thing for the EU to protect. However, I think that there is not just one particular fundamental right or freedom that is above another other in importance, it all goes together, like yin and yang.

For example, freedom of expression is worth little if one is without health care and is dying a slow and painful death from cancer or another serious disease.

Freedom of the press is also worth nothing if one cannot read, thus the right to an education is crucial as well.

Health care is not worth a lot in the long term if life is hell on earth (Uzbekistan, North Korea etc.) because of oppression, thus freedom of expression is of vital importance.

Education is worth little without the freedom of expression and the press, because in that scenario the education might be tainted with political or religious dogma to obscure the truth, and even if that was not the case, if one could not freely use one’s education to attain what one feels is a good life, then the education is also not worth much. An author would not be able to write a book, which others would then not be able to ever read etc.

It is all a giant web if yin and yang, I believe that it is all interconnected and interdependent for a free society to thrive, that is what I believe that European values should strive towards, and thus what the EU should be working hard to uphold.

Differences in parliamentary debate in Europe

Whenever I have seen clips from the British House of Commons, I’ve always thought it was absolutely ridiculous about how a “debate” is conducted with half the chamber yelling at the other. A few months ago, I heard about how a smoke bomb had been thrown in the Ukrainian parliament. Just a few days ago I decided to compare this to how things work in the Danish parliament, and I thought to myself:

Europe has got it all!
United in diversity! Amen!!

Denmark (Calm, quiet and orderly):

United Kingdom (Loud, irratative and disorderly):

Ukraine (Egg throwing, fighting and smoke bombs):

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