What is a human right?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by manifold, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    The healthcare discussions got me thinking (insert joke here).

    How would one define a human right and what would they be? I know this is a very open ended question, but I'm interested in what people think about it. Especially considering the widespread disagreement around whether healtcare is or is not a human right.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Bern80
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    Bern80 Gold Member

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    Well if you consider humans just another animal (albeit a highly advanced one) we don't really have any rights at all.
     
  3. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    Animals have no rights???

    I think Michael Vick might disagree with you about that, for good reason.
     
  4. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    Something Anti military, pacifists and Liberals fail to grasp is we have only those rights we can enforce. In the case of the US our rights are spelled out in several documents with the added caveat that unless the Government gets our permission any power the Government is NOT granted they do not have.

    Well unless your a liberal and then any power you like exists if you can gain political power. Fuck the laws, the Constitution and the rights and powers of Individuals and Governments.
     
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  5. manifold
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    manifold Diamond Member

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    I guess you must consider George Bush and Dick Cheney liberals then.
     
  6. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    RGS got me thinking. I wonder if the US was the first nation in history that actually addressed this question when the constitution was being drafted. Given that the founders were very well educated in the theories of Locke and Montesquieu and of course in the ideas that flowed from the Enlightenment, I suspect that may well be the case. Where other nations were still wrapped up in the divine right of kings (although in England they'd sorted that out a bit passing the 1689 Bill of Rights and were making some progress towards what we consider to be accepted rights), the US had expressly rejected the notion of monarchical despotism and had taken great pains in identifying exactly what the rights of a citizen were.

    I still think that phrase, "'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (allowing for the shift in definitions over time) encompasses it. Of course it's more complex now and we have the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which also advises us. But you know, it disappoints me (but doesn't surprise me) that so many reactionaries - not conservatives - here are ready to limit the definition.
     
  7. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    Books have been written on it. What is it; does it really exist outside of human imagination? What does it include (education, equality, etc.)? There are many theories and opinions about it. Many people disagree about it and there are many theories about it. As with the debate about God, whether or not God exists, defining God, and trying to determine what God wants, debates about “Human Rights” has existed since long ago and will continue long into the future. Anyway, you can read some simplified perspectives on it here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights

    To answer your question, I think that it is a human invention used to help maintain a semblance of a civil society.
     
  8. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    I think it's about humanity. I'm sorry but I'm coming from a position that there's no deity and no afterlife so I suppose I'll be criticised for having a sterile view - almost a nihilistic view - of human life, but I think that human rights can never be limited (beyond the obvious physical limitations). Anything that enhances human existence is a human right.

    That should piss off the reactionaries :D
     
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  9. Gurdari
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    Gurdari Egaliterra

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    Whatever we as humans agree on. Nothing is inherent.
    We just agree, that self-defence is a right - and beyond that... who knows?

    Whatever people feel should be their providence (some think their bodies should be their own, some think their speech should be free) and collectively agree on becomes a 'right'.

    If you have power though, you don't need rights as much. But if you have no power, you really need some guarantee not to be f*cked with and 'rights' is what humanity has come up with so far.
     
  10. Taomon
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    Taomon Active Member

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    God gave us free will.
     

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