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Poll

Well, do they...PUNK?

Yes, they are self evident.
No, they're a fantasy.
Once we claim them, they come into existence.
Only as far as we defend them.
Only as far as others respect them.

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Author Topic: DO RIGHTS EXIST?  (Read 27251 times)

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Dylboz

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DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« on: August 10, 2006, 10:15:12 PM »

In my opinion, once I claim a right for myself, it then extends to others, because I must live by the standard I set for myself, in short, the golden rule. If, as a society, we share a common tradition of respecting certain rights, then they exist for us. That is the point of political discourse, to establish what rights we are entitled to and what limitations, if any, should be put on their exercise. To my mind, a right is absolute, but once you violate someone else's rights, you've forfeited for yourself the rights you've violated, in a sense, by your action you're asserting that those rights don't exist for them or yourself. Ian was right, insofar as you'l only have the rights you claim and defend, and you extend those rights to others regardless of whether they believe in them. So, what he was getting at when he was saying to Mark that even if rights don't exist in a tangible sense, when they are violated by people who neither believe in nor respect them, it is still wrong because he, Ian, and everyone else who DOES believe in and respect them recognize the violation.

It was J.S. Mill who said, "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." I agree. But there is a certain irony in that fact that a thoroughly individualist philosophy like libertarianism requires a community of like minded persons for it's existence. Man, I hope I can convince my wife to move to New Hampshire!
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Kalnik

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2006, 03:40:42 AM »

What about the "technocratic utilitarians" out there who believe rights are man-made and don't exist purely because they're not tangible?
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Sam Gunn (since nobody got Admiral Naismith)

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2006, 06:29:22 AM »

Natural rights are rights that cannot be taken away under any circumstances whatsoever.  Such as the right to free speech--no government can ever force you to hold your tongue (until they figure out some drug or medical procedure to do so) no matter how many laws they pass, they can only provide a strong incentive through physical coersion to do so...
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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2006, 12:35:01 PM »

I've been working on an essay about this.  I don't see a way that one can say that the recognition of natural rights/self-ownership can be explained w/o religion of some sort.  Animals don't recognize unalienable rights.  If man is just a highly developed animal than we wouldn't have any rights that they do not.  I've heard that man is different because he can reason but I can't prove that man alone has the ability to reason.  Even if that's true I don't see where a biological function of the brain is any better reason to extrapolate the right to self-ownership than opposable thumbs or lungs. 

I'd really like to hear what Ian thinks about it as an atheist.  He's clearly principled in that he believes that a person has no right to initiate force on another person....period.  I agree whole-heartedly but I can't make a rational argument to prove it based on the assumption that the world is exactly as it appears to the 5 senses and man is merely a highly developed primate.  I also don't subscribe to any organized religion but recognize my "belief" that man has a right to own himself and to deny him that right is "morally wrong" is not a product of rational extrapolation of physical evidence but rather a firm conviction that is based on nothing but a religious faith in NAP/ZAP.
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eukreign

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2006, 12:49:17 PM »

I'd say they don't exist unless you defend them. And at that point they aren't really rights but more like choices. There are two parts to this that I see:

1. You and the agressor makes decisions about your interaction. He attacks you and you kill him in self defense or allow him to kill you or are unable to defend yourself.
2. After the fact if there are other interested parties in what happened in #1 then it comes down to custom. If the community that you live in it is acceptable that if you kill someone attacking you are in the right then the community will pat you on the back or leave you alone. If it is not okay to act in self defense than they will do whatever it is that community does in those cases. The same applies if you are killed and how they usually deal with killers.

So, in summary, first you and the other person make decisions, then if those decisions affect the community and the community has a custom on how to respond to those decisions they will respond.
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BenTucker

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2006, 02:08:08 PM »

Natural rights are rights that cannot be taken away under any circumstances whatsoever.  Such as the right to free speech--no government can ever force you to hold your tongue (until they figure out some drug or medical procedure to do so) no matter how many laws they pass, they can only provide a strong incentive through physical coersion to do so...

they most certainly can if you are infringing on the equal right of others...
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Ecolitan

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2006, 02:16:04 PM »

Natural rights are rights that cannot be taken away under any circumstances whatsoever.  Such as the right to free speech--no government can ever force you to hold your tongue (until they figure out some drug or medical procedure to do so) no matter how many laws they pass, they can only provide a strong incentive through physical coersion to do so...

they most certainly can if you are infringing on the equal right of others...

If you do not have the right to infringe on the equal rights of others than preventing you from doing so is not taking away your rights at all. 

I think what he's trying to say here is that you can be imprisoned for exercising your right to free speech but that doesn't mean that you don't have the right to it.  Someone choosing to physically prevent you from exercising your rights doesn't mean that the right doesn't exist. 
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eukreign

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2006, 02:24:56 PM »

If you do not have the right to infringe on the equal rights of others than preventing you from doing so is not taking away your rights at all. 

I think what he's trying to say here is that you can be imprisoned for exercising your right to free speech but that doesn't mean that you don't have the right to it.  Someone choosing to physically prevent you from exercising your rights doesn't mean that the right doesn't exist. 

Than what is a "right"? If are prevented from speaking how can you still have the right to free speech?
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Smitty507

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2006, 06:06:22 PM »

Rights are a contrived concept that are based loosely on the Golden Rule, and dependent on human reason.  If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?  No, it creates soundwaves but with out a hum to interpret the waves, there is no "sound."  Rights  have come into existence becasue we as humans have the ability of abstract thought and higher order thinkng, and we endow ourselves with such rights.  We hold ourselves in high regard and have some concept of self worth.  Lesser animals have no concept of self worth and therefore no concept of rights, or defense of such things.
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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2006, 06:17:03 PM »

A right can be violated, but it cannot be taken away. The moment someone infringes on the rights of another, that person has stated that he does not accept the concept of rights. Since he does not accept rights, his own may be violated. A person can only give up their own rights, and does so through their actions.
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lapafrax

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2006, 06:30:48 PM »

What about the "technocratic utilitarians" out there who believe rights are man-made and don't exist purely because they're not tangible?

IMO, rights are man made.

What evidence is there that rights either "come from God" or are inherent to man's nature?

I think Ian had it right.  The concept of rights is a noble idea, but you cannot prove that they are innate or inherent.
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theodorelogan

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2006, 12:35:56 AM »

Quote
no government can ever force you to hold your tongue (until they figure out some drug or medical procedure to do so) no matter how many laws they pass, they can only provide a strong incentive through physical coersion to do so...

Sure they can...they can kill you.

They can cut out you tongue

They can gag you or put a muzzle on you.

They can burn out the part of your brain that controls language.

You don't have a right to free speech if your free speech can be stopped.  Hell, I could stop you if I was motivated enough and was willing to suffer the consequences (I'm not on either count)
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Go figure...

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2006, 01:01:51 AM »

Rights are valid claims to property. In other words, all rights are property rights.
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rollins100

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2006, 10:46:19 AM »

The concept of rights is a noble idea, but you cannot prove that they are innate or inherent.

They are man-made; I would agree with that.  On the other hand, the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are innate or inherent to Americans (i.e. we were born into them) based on the political structure set up in this country, despite current attempts to thwart them.  From the perspective of American citizens, this is true.  If we allow them to be changed, then the "inherent" rights of American citizens will change as well.  From this logical progression, I voted that rights exist only if we defend them.  Let's get to defending, dammit.

Dylboz, I was totally down with what you wrote in your original post, up to and including the part about convincing your (my) wife to move to New Hampshire.
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theodorelogan

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Re: DO RIGHTS EXIST?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2006, 11:40:59 AM »

Quote
A right can be violated, but it cannot be taken away. The moment someone infringes on the rights of another, that person has stated that he does not accept the concept of rights. Since he does not accept rights, his own may be violated. A person can only give up their own rights, and does so through their actions.

That is just wordplay.  If someone can violate your rights, in what sense do you actually have them?  If I am taking your property, for example, in what sense do you have a "rihgt" to property.
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Go figure...

RAD!
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