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May 2019
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Aerden [userpic]
What I Think of Human Rights

I posted the following paragraph on Facebook in response to a graphic with the caption, "Water is a human right." I disagreed with that statement.

Mm...No, it isn't. None of us have any rights, really, except the ones we are willing to fight for, for ourselves and others. To me, the idea of 'rights' is an illusion created by law. What we call 'rights' are simply the way we would ideally like the world to be. I don't believe they are inherent, no matter what pretty things we might quote as a matter of politics. If we don't earn it ourselves, or if someone didn't earn it on our behalf, then we don't possess it, and we don't have a 'right' to it.

We have no rights to life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness except insofar as we are willing and prepared to defend them every moment of every day. Any so-called right that we vote for ourselves we can also vote to deprive ourselves of.


Your Roman sensibilities are showing.

Bill--I guess. I just hope this doesn't make me an awful person. I do have ideals. I love my country and what it stands for. I would like for everyone to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I want everyone to have adequate drinking water, food, and a safe home; I just don't think of those as rights. Just like everything else, we have to fight for them if we want them. I agree with the idea of what the graphic I saw suggests--Make it possible for all people to have potable water--but I objected to the way it was said.


I see where you're coming from. The idea of "human rights" is something that came out of Enlightenment philosophy, and has transformed into something that basically means "government guarantees." The reason I noted a Roman influence is because your idea is much closer to the Roman idea of "ius gentilius," the guaranteed privileges of all people under Roman rule.