This could be a very long post so I think I’ll split it into several over the next few months.
Get into a discussion with folks on water and a few short sentences is all it will take before the rhetorical club if “social justice” is used to stifle discussion. At the risk of wasting too much time trying to use reason and evidence to study water I’ll start by playing on “their” turf.
To suggest that water is a human right and to defend that argument ardently produces quite a striking insight. It is usually used as an argument against any private agency being involved in water conservation, sanitation, distribution, etc. But private agency is only required if the resource in question is truly scarce.
The folks that argue that private agency is unnecessary are simply arguing that water is not scarce. It cannot mean anything else particularly given the sordid history of government provision of anything other than death and misery.
This is quite inconvenient for the ideology of those who see water as a human rights issue. Many of these folks make a living as modern day Malthusians, but then one of their core beliefs is an anti-Malthusian one.
So I’d get on the “no private property in water” bandwagon in a heartbeat if they truly believed water was not scarce. But I don’t think they understand this nor do I think they believe government has any difficulty delivering much of anything.
And if they wish to argue that fresh water is scarce, as indeed all of their “research” and documentaries claim, then we are simply back to an argument that is hard for them to win: how best to deliver scarce goods and to ensure their availability in the future?
They don’t usually do well in those arguments without appealing to postmodern ideas.