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What are Your Rights?

 
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 11:00 am
What are Your Rights?
 
I thought that this would be a wonderful question to ask because literally all politics are based upon. To be clear, and to ensure that no ones puts any unrelated posts, a Right is defined as any claim, title, freedom, and action that is morally just or legally granted as allowable or due to a person and is due to a person or governmental body by law, constitution, tradition, Creator, or nature.
 
Put your opinion and arguements affirming the same, and i just ask that you place reasons why. Think about: What are the rights of the individual? How should the Rights be held by the Government? What should be more important Individual or Collective Rights? Should Rights be limited or denied to ensure security, order, equality, justice, culture, or not at all? Are Rights endowed by a Creator, a constitution, a culture, a government, or a the individual? Are Rights the basis of a government, culture, or a society? Would it be necessary for these Rights to be recognized and Written? Should each Nation have its own list of recognized Rights or should there be a global standard or list? How would these Rights affect a society's economy, a society's organization, et cetera? How should Rights be protected and respected? Are there fundamental Rights? What should define things as being Rights, and how should be classified? Should there be any classification of Rights? How should a government be affected by the Rights of the governed? Can someone take away your Rights? Why are Rights important? Are there more important Rights or all they equally important? Would it be possible for a society to completely respect the Rights, to enact the ideals that have been submitted, and to be organized accordingly by a society?
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GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 12:51 pm
@the republican,
the republican;165793 wrote:
What are Your Rights?
 
I thought that this would be a wonderful question to ask because literally all politics are based upon. To be clear, and to ensure that no ones puts any unrelated posts, a Right is defined as any claim, title, freedom, and action that is morally just or legally granted as allowable or due to a person and is due to a person or governmental body by law, constitution, tradition, Creator, or nature.
 


Assuming this defenition and my country of residence, my rights are whatever the supreme court says that they are.
qualia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 04:58 pm
@GoshisDead,
Thought this might make a humerous diversion:
YouTube - George Carlin - rights or privileges
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 07:05 pm
@the republican,
Science and reason alone are not a good basis for "rights".
"all men are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights", a powerful phrase but without some belief in a creator of higher level of reality what "rights" do you have?

Those that your government or society chooses to give your and protect for you?
or
Those that you have sufficient power to take and defend yourself?

If one does not believe in a higher power, a higher purpose or a higher level of reality, not only are your "rights" in trouble but so are your "ethics". Nietzsche had it right the madman cries out "god is dead" and the world descends into moral relativism and nihilism.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 09:46 pm
@the republican,
the republican;165793 wrote:
What are Your Rights?
 
I thought that this would be a wonderful question to ask because literally all politics are based upon. To be clear, and to ensure that no ones puts any unrelated posts, a Right is defined as any claim, title, freedom, and action that is morally just or legally granted as allowable or due to a person and is due to a person or governmental body by law, constitution, tradition, Creator, or nature.
 
Put your opinion and arguements affirming the same, and i just ask that you place reasons why. Think about: What are the rights of the individual? How should the Rights be held by the Government? What should be more important Individual or Collective Rights? Should Rights be limited or denied to ensure security, order, equality, justice, culture, or not at all? Are Rights endowed by a Creator, a constitution, a culture, a government, or a the individual? Are Rights the basis of a government, culture, or a society? Would it be necessary for these Rights to be recognized and Written? Should each Nation have its own list of recognized Rights or should there be a global standard or list? How would these Rights affect a society's economy, a society's organization, et cetera? How should Rights be protected and respected? Are there fundamental Rights? What should define things as being Rights, and how should be classified? Should there be any classification of Rights? How should a government be affected by the Rights of the governed? Can someone take away your Rights? Why are Rights important? Are there more important Rights or all they equally important? Would it be possible for a society to completely respect the Rights, to enact the ideals that have been submitted, and to be organized accordingly by a society?

If I may say so: politics are not based upon right, but upon personality... Every organization, every form has its personality...My wiife has the strong personality in our marriage, and for some things there is a political thing going on, desires expressed, trades made, all the stuff of back room politics without the cigar smoke...It is the thing that makes me cold to any form of orgaization for change, because so soon as you have an orgainzation you have politics, and politics exhausts the desire for change by pitting one against another... Orgainzations work better for a dark purpose because there, every one wants to sublimate their personality...Mobs have no leader, but they have a common will...

More later: thanks
0 Replies
 
Rwa001
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 03:21 am
@prothero,
prothero;165912 wrote:
Science and reason alone are not a good basis for "rights".
"all men are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights", a powerful phrase but without some belief in a creator of higher level of reality what "rights" do you have?

Those that your government or society chooses to give your and protect for you?
or
Those that you have sufficient power to take and defend yourself?

If one does not believe in a higher power, a higher purpose or a higher level of reality, not only are your "rights" in trouble but so are your "ethics". Nietzsche had it right the madman cries out "god is dead" and the world descends into moral relativism and nihilism.



To lump moral relativism with nihilism is a bold move, to begin. The latter is rather inherently (and rightfully so) considered a negative thing. There is no reason to believe that moral relativism is a problem. I think the difference between moral absolutism and moral relativism is believing in some sort of natural moral code versus believing in a system of moral justifications. I think moral relativism is far more in tune with our intuitions than moral absolutism. There are few that would disagree that if there were a case when a man had to steal food so that his family would not starve, the man would have a moral justification for doing so.

And God certainly is required to guarantee any natural code of morality or rights anyway. We could just as easily say that people have certain rights just on the basis of their being human.

As far as the OP goes, I actually just wrote a paper comparing the philosophies of Hart, Dworkin, and Shue. But before getting into that, I'd like to take issue with your definition of a 'right'. The definition most commonly accepted by political and legal philosophers is that if one has a right, they have freedom from infringement (in terms of restraint or coercion again) on whatever action it is they have a right to, and all others have a duty to that person to not infringe on that right.

Continuing right along: I tend to align with Hart, who postulated that our rights are defined by our relationships; that is to say, our relationship with the government, our community, and our family. If I were the only person on earth, I would have any and all of the rights that I wanted. Our rights are limited by our relationships, we give up certain rights in a society because we benefit from other people giving them up to.

I also sympathize with Shue, who wrote most famously about human rights. I tend to agree that if it is the case that people have a right to have access to food and drinkable water, then others have a duty to not only refrain from infringing upon their access, but also stop those who are infringing as well as protecting them from future infringements if it is the case that they cannot protect themselves. Where I disagree with Shue is that there is even a right in this sense. Instead, I believe if one says that this right exists, then THEY acquire those duties.

I'll be back to give my opinion on the rest of your questions later.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 04:20 pm
@Rwa001,
Rwa001;166035 wrote:
To lump moral relativism with nihilism is a bold move, to begin. ..... There are few that would disagree that if there were a case when a man had to steal food so that his family would not starve, the man would have a moral justification for doing so.

And God certainly is required to guarantee any natural code of morality or rights anyway. We could just as easily say that people have certain rights just on the basis of their being human.

I'll be back to give my opinion on the rest of your questions later.
Please do. This is a forum so generally posts are short and not completely elaborated position statements. My post is meant to be deliberately provocative.

I do not see where I tried to define what a "right" is?
I agree that nihilism and moral relativism are quite different but still there is a problem with the notion that rights are just a matter of social opinion.
I agree that if a person has a "right" you would have a "duty" to respect it.

I do not agree about your notion of "moral absolutism" or the example given for the "right to life" could easily trump the "right to property" and in most religious ethics it does.

I just do not see how to avoid the notion that rights are social conventions or matters of opinion without reference to "natural or god given" rights. I also do not see how one explains the world without reference to the notion that the world is striving for or patterned after some higher level of reality. So "rights" and panentheism go together in my worldview. Moral relativism is light years better than nihilism but it is still in the end social convention or opinion. Moral relativism makes it hard to claim that slavery, torture, rape and mutilation violate universal moral code as opposed to just modern sentiments.
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 04:38 pm
@prothero,
Prothero:
One might propose that (natural/God Given) rights are extensions of natural/instinctual desires safety, territory, shiny things, what is mine, sexual selection etc... Our cognitive abilities just transposed them into shoulds instead of wants.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 06:24 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;166205 wrote:
Prothero:
One might propose that (natural/God Given) rights are extensions of natural/instinctual desires safety, territory, shiny things, what is mine, sexual selection etc... Our cognitive abilities just transposed them into shoulds instead of wants.
Yes one can certainly say that.

One can assert that compassion or empathy for the other (especially offspring, spouses, family, members of your tribe) is in fact a behavioral response with genetic survival and evolutionary implications.
One can then say that reason requires that we should expand our empathy and compassion to all members of the human family and race.

In truth I do not have any problem with that route, as empathy and compassion still become the basis of ethics even if now it is evolution and science (not god,religion or universals) which gets the credit for the explanation.
When it comes to ethics I am more concerned that we share values than metaphysics.

Agreeing on what our "rights" are is probably more important than agreement on what their metaphysical basis is.

Of course ultimately people like me think evolution is the unfolding of immanent spirit and transformation of the possible into the actual .
0 Replies
 
exile
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 02:31 pm
@the republican,
I tend to side with Bentham about rights. In a modern society with a legal system then only legal rights have a real existence. We may think we OUGHT to have the right to smoke in a bar, enter the military if gay, carry a gun, refuse to pay tax, and so on, but we only HAVE the right if enshrined in law. So what we should debate is what rights we OUGHT to have, based on moral or political principles.
the republican
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 03:13 pm
@exile,
Well, i was never really specific upon the source or reason from which these Rights come, but sure i'd would like to see someone put a list of Rights we ought to have.
0 Replies
 
sometime sun
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 03:22 pm
@exile,
What are Your rights?
What are My rights?
What are rights?
Any thing that restricts wrongs.
0 Replies
 
exile
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 03:23 pm
@the republican,
OK!

Of course we now get into the realm of natural rights. Which are not IMO rights we actually do necessarily have, but it's a good thought experiment to consider what rights we might have in a primitive society, or if we found ourselves on a desert island or sharing a lifeboat, particularly when we might want to determine what rights we may have lost by living in an advanced society with a powerful state.

Let's take the desert island first. I get washed up on the island. So - in effect, the island belongs to me. Now, you get washed up and we meet. What rights do we both have? Or, ought we to have (I might have a gun and you don't in which case any rights you have would be unenforceable).

I would have thought that what rights we actually have would be down to our individual attitudes, strengths, weaknesses and so on. If one of us has a strong personality, or great physical strength, or skills useful in the situation we are in, we might be able to exploit this to establish ourselves as a leader. One of us might become Crusoe and the other Friday.

But - is this how we OUGHT to determine rights? Shouldn't we establish a set of rules based on some common principles of fairness and reciprocity, or on some agreed moral code?
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 12:41 pm
@exile,
exile;168216 wrote:
OK!

Of course we now get into the realm of natural rights. Which are not IMO rights we actually do necessarily have, but it's a good thought experiment to consider what rights we might have in a primitive society, or if we found ourselves on a desert island or sharing a lifeboat, particularly when we might want to determine what rights we may have lost by living in an advanced society with a powerful state.

Let's take the desert island first. I get washed up on the island. So - in effect, the island belongs to me. Now, you get washed up and we meet. What rights do we both have? Or, ought we to have (I might have a gun and you don't in which case any rights you have would be unenforceable).

I would have thought that what rights we actually have would be down to our individual attitudes, strengths, weaknesses and so on. If one of us has a strong personality, or great physical strength, or skills useful in the situation we are in, we might be able to exploit this to establish ourselves as a leader. One of us might become Crusoe and the other Friday.

But - is this how we OUGHT to determine rights? Shouldn't we establish a set of rules based on some common principles of fairness and reciprocity, or on some agreed moral code?

You might consider that the German and French words for right became their words for law; and if you look at ancient liturature, you can see fully developed senses of right, and people would kill at the drop of a hat to have their rights, which was their honor, which they presumed they were all entitled to, and each guarded well... Even today, ouu rights are our honor, and though it be an honor we have inherited rather than taken force of will, it is ours, and there is a reason rights, when they conflict with privilages must always be defended...The difference between a slave and the free is rights... The difference between a prisoner and the free is rights... The difference between every privilage is this: Privilages are based upon what one has rather than the fact of ones being, that they are alive, and able to consent...One cannot have greater right than another, so the differences between people is not of rights, but of privilage... Since those with more are given greater privilages, greater access to government, and greater privilages for having more compared to those having less, it is an advantage that gives to them all rights and all property in the end... What churches have, and what the press enjoys are not rights, but privilages; and it has helped each to become power brokers...

Every body needs enough rights to live; but the danger of privilages is that they rob the value of rights, and give to those who own them an advantage that in time cannot be overcome, and that makes all rights meaningless...The reason people are now so jealous of their rights is that they see rights are dwindling before their eyes... They blame the immigrant, but what rights could he steal if he were not invited to serve the pivilage of the rich...So long as property rights are considered as rights they will be defended by the very people who are losing their entire freedom to those privilages...
0 Replies
 
fast
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 01:09 pm
@the republican,
[QUOTE=the republican;165793]a Right is defined as any claim, title, freedom, and action that is morally just or legally granted as allowable or due to a person and is due to a person or governmental body by law, constitution, tradition, Creator, or nature.[/QUOTE]Well, that's a mouthful.

First, a right is not defined. What are defined are words, and the word "right" is defined, but the word is also ambiguous, as there is more than one kind of right--as the definition included covers.

Second, because it's a mouthful and ambiguous, I think it's important to chew this up a bit and distinguish between kinds of rights. The definition touches on 1) moral rights, 2) legal rights, and 3) natural rights. Clearly, they are not the same thing, so they ought not be confused with one another; furthermore, the source from where such rights arise is not the same either.

A legal right is something you can regard as a creature of law; hence, without law, there are no legal rights. You cannot legally do anything in a lawless society. You may have the moral right to do certain things, but unless the legal right has been legally granted, no such legal rights exist.

It's wise to be very clear about which kinds of rights are being discussed when in a discussion about rights. An action can be both legally permissible and morally wrong; moreover, an action can be illegal yet be the right thing to do (morally).

Much confusion can be avoided by all parties being clear about what is being said.

[QUOTE]Should each Nation have its own list of recognized Rights or should there be a global standard or list? [/QUOTE]I'm opposed to a global standard.
0 Replies
 
exile
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 01:37 pm
@the republican,
If you don't have a global standard you then have to say that the rights of Joe Blow are different to Fred Bloggs because he lives in a different country/has a different religion/was born in place X instead of place Y.

In reality that is what we have today - this side of the state line you can smoke in a bar, that side you can't, and so on.
0 Replies
 
 

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