Human Rights Discussion

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Bright Shadows
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Human Rights Discussion

Postby Bright Shadows » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:30 pm UTC

People have some kind of rights (at least most people), I think we can agree on that.

However, what are the qualifiers, if any, for the right to life, or security of person, or privacy, or the other assorted rights?
What rights, exactly, do people even have?
What rights do other sentient creatures / machines have?



To start things off, my views on the whole thing are as such:

People have the right to security of person, life, privacy, and choice.
*Choice - Constitutes the ability to choose what to do, when to do it, and so on. This is the lowest tier right; endangering someone else's life, security, or privacy in your choices is not okay.
*Life - People living is usually considered a good thing, right? Top tier.
*Security of Person - People have the right to be safe, mentally and physically. Second only to life.
*Privacy - Some things just don't need to be public.

*Choice becomes effective when you can make informed, respectful choices. Like, 20 or 21. Restrictions may apply before that.
* Snip
*Security of Person applies like Life applies.
*Privacy applies in specific situations, but it's rather hard to generalize.

Other sentient beings:
*Have the same rights, if we find any, or they find us. They might be opposed to this, though, so it's pretty tentative.

Alright, I haven't done this in a while, but it's about time for a ... THREAD REBOOT. Participation in this thread has been lacking in substantive, rational and supported debate. And it's been faaaar to full of people continuing -- even after being told not to -- to try and make this an abortion debate.

This will not be an abortion debate. End of story.

-Az
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Clumpy
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Clumpy » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:45 pm UTC

Pretty epic, Azrael.

Some of the categories you listed have a little ambiguity, but in general I would say that people have the right to make their own choices as long as they don't impact the liberty of other people. I agree with you that society's system of graduated trust and liberty based on age is probably a good thing, meaning that children do not have the right to make any choice they would like, so we allow some level of coercion on the part of their parents or guardians for purposes of instruction as long as they don't act abusively.

As a general philosophy, it's difficult for me to expand much upon this. I find it to be a good philosophy because it applies pretty effectively to every situation and question.

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bratwurst
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby bratwurst » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:39 pm UTC

Clumpy wrote:Some of the categories you listed have a little ambiguity, but in general I would say that people have the right to make their own choices as long as they don't impact the liberty of other people.


The idea seems good in principle, but nearly every action has some sort of impact on the liberty of other people. If I decide to build a wall somewhere, it reduces the freedom of people to move past that wall. If I take a book out of the library, it places limits on others, insofar as they cannot take that same book out at the same time. Any change in the state of the world will have some sort of impact on what people are and are not able to do. Despite this, it doesn't seem realistic to ban walls. Edit: Which would, of course, also be a restriction on people's freedom.

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Clumpy
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Clumpy » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:02 pm UTC

bratwurst wrote:
Clumpy wrote:Some of the categories you listed have a little ambiguity, but in general I would say that people have the right to make their own choices as long as they don't impact the liberty of other people.


The idea seems good in principle, but nearly every action has some sort of impact on the liberty of other people. If I decide to build a wall somewhere, it reduces the freedom of people to move past that wall. If I take a book out of the library, it places limits on others, insofar as they cannot take that same book out at the same time. Any change in the state of the world will have some sort of impact on what people are and are not able to do. Despite this, it doesn't seem realistic to ban walls. Edit: Which would, of course, also be a restriction on people's freedom.


Well, that's how things get murky :). Personal property, for example, is a mechanism society gives us to have an exclusive space to muck about in without blocking off the space of others as you described. Government's chief role in my opinion is to interpret interpersonal spheres of liberty and decide what to do when they intersect.

When we do certain things (like buy property or check out a book from the library) we agree to follow certain behavioral restrictions. In the case of the library book, we agree that we will not have a choice as to when to return the book, and will pay appropriate late fees.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Dani » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:00 am UTC

You set a good set of rules. People have to infringe on other people though. That's just life, it's unstoppable. Like freedom of speech. I can say things that the person next to me might not like, but just because they don't like it doesn't mean I can't say it.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Clumpy » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:04 am UTC

Dani wrote:You set a good set of rules. People have to infringe on other people though. That's just life, it's unstoppable. Like freedom of speech. I can say things that the person next to me might not like, but just because they don't like it doesn't mean I can't say it.


Well, nobody has the right never to be offended. That's a consequence of a free society. Unless your speech or actions cross the line into outright intimidation or cause the person to question their safety you aren't infringing any liberty, though you might be a douchebag in a given instance :P .

One right the government doesn't have is to penalize you for something that isn't illegal or survey you independent of a criminal investigation. For example, terrorist watch lists violate principles of good governance as they're based not on real suspicion (which would require an investigation and formal charges) but patterns, which fall well into citizens' private lives. I should be able to check out any book I want from the library, make any legal comments I want in public and have whatever friends I would like and remain free from government surveillance or suspicion as long as I am not the perpetrator or accomplice to any crime.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby bratwurst » Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:19 am UTC

Clumpy wrote:One right the government doesn't have is to penalize you for something that isn't illegal or survey you independent of a criminal investigation. For example, terrorist watch lists violate principles of good governance as they're based not on real suspicion (which would require an investigation and formal charges) but patterns, which fall well into citizens' private lives. I should be able to check out any book I want from the library, make any legal comments I want in public and have whatever friends I would like and remain free from government surveillance or suspicion as long as I am not the perpetrator or accomplice to any crime.


Which actually raises a question I've always wondered about. I assume that individuals are legally permitted to try and find out details of the personal lives of others (so long as the means, etc. employed are legal as well). What about the case of people employed by the government, when they're not on-the-job? If, for instance, the police are not legally permitted to put me under surveillance, but it remains (naturally) perfectly legal for private citizens to watch what I do, listen to what I say, and the like, what is to prevent the police from effectively putting me under surveillance, but just "on their own time"? On the other hand, it's not like you can make it illegal to see other people in public, or to hear what they say. Heck, my personal opinion is that any information about a person that doesn't require explicitly illegal means to attain is fair game to look for/at, although that's probably a much stronger position than I can reasonably defend here.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Clumpy » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:07 am UTC

bratwurst wrote:
Clumpy wrote:One right the government doesn't have is to penalize you for something that isn't illegal or survey you independent of a criminal investigation. For example, terrorist watch lists violate principles of good governance as they're based not on real suspicion (which would require an investigation and formal charges) but patterns, which fall well into citizens' private lives. I should be able to check out any book I want from the library, make any legal comments I want in public and have whatever friends I would like and remain free from government surveillance or suspicion as long as I am not the perpetrator or accomplice to any crime.


Which actually raises a question I've always wondered about. I assume that individuals are legally permitted to try and find out details of the personal lives of others (so long as the means, etc. employed are legal as well). What about the case of people employed by the government, when they're not on-the-job? If, for instance, the police are not legally permitted to put me under surveillance, but it remains (naturally) perfectly legal for private citizens to watch what I do, listen to what I say, and the like, what is to prevent the police from effectively putting me under surveillance, but just "on their own time"? On the other hand, it's not like you can make it illegal to see other people in public, or to hear what they say. Heck, my personal opinion is that any information about a person that doesn't require explicitly illegal means to attain is fair game to look for/at, although that's probably a much stronger position than I can reasonably defend here.


I'd say that cops have the same rights as private citizens that others do. The type of government or police surveillance that takes place in public locations is a murkier area. "Across-the-street" surveillance is tricky as well, particularly if it's legal for citizens to park in that neighborhood. I'd probably still require a warrant, particularly if listening equipment is being used. The only right the government has that private citizens do not is the use of force to uphold the law.

I'd say that the government shouldn't put up cameras in public areas but can go wild in government buildings if they wish. Likewise, police can patrol around in a general way as officers of the peace, using their authority to detain or arrest only if necessary, but would probably be harassing somebody if they were to follow them for an extended period without cause.

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MSTR
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby MSTR » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:27 am UTC

In my opinion all human rights can be reduced to a single one: the right to property. Your life and your liberty are just that, yours, and are, thus, reflexively your property, and your property is, well, your property. No one else may impose any restriction upon your property except that you may not use it to violate theirs. I cannot think of any other rights outside those mentioned here. I think the whole concept of a right depends on the absolute imposibility of a contradiction of rights between two people. Your thoughts?
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Mzyxptlk » Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:53 pm UTC

MSTR wrote:In my opinion all human rights can be reduced to a single one: the right to property. Your life and your liberty are just that, yours, and are, thus, reflexively your property, and your property is, well, your property. No one else may impose any restriction upon your property except that you may not use it to violate theirs. I cannot think of any other rights outside those mentioned here. I think the whole concept of a right depends on the absolute imposibility of a contradiction of rights between two people. Your thoughts?

The right to life does not follow from the right to property, nor does the right to religious/sexual/cultural/personal freedom, right to freedom of discrimination/racism/sexism, right of equality before the law, and I could go on.

The right to property is (like many of human rights) also a contradiction. A simple scenario: I am starving, you are rich. Because you have the right to property, you shouldn't have to give me anything. Because I have the right to life, I should be given food.
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bratwurst
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby bratwurst » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:43 pm UTC

MSTR wrote:In my opinion all human rights can be reduced to a single one: the right to property. Your life and your liberty are just that, yours, and are, thus, reflexively your property, and your property is, well, your property. No one else may impose any restriction upon your property except that you may not use it to violate theirs. I cannot think of any other rights outside those mentioned here. I think the whole concept of a right depends on the absolute imposibility of a contradiction of rights between two people. Your thoughts?


What if I build a wall on my property? I am now using my property to infringe on the freedom of others, as they are unable to pass through the wall. Note that you never said that people had the right to forcefully keep others off of their (the owner's) property, so I'm going to assume that such a concept doesn't apply here.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Veracious Sole » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:18 pm UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:
MSTR wrote:In my opinion all human rights can be reduced to a single one: the right to property. Your life and your liberty are just that, yours, and are, thus, reflexively your property, and your property is, well, your property. No one else may impose any restriction upon your property except that you may not use it to violate theirs. I cannot think of any other rights outside those mentioned here. I think the whole concept of a right depends on the absolute imposibility of a contradiction of rights between two people. Your thoughts?

The right to life does not follow from the right to property, nor does the right to religious/sexual/cultural/personal freedom, right to freedom of discrimination/racism/sexism, right of equality before the law, and I could go on.

The right to property is (like many of human rights) also a contradiction. A simple scenario: I am starving, you are rich. Because you have the right to property, you shouldn't have to give me anything. Because I have the right to life, I should be given food.
If you are starving and I am rich, then the right to property says I am not required to give you anything (though should I so desire I can give as much as I care to of my own volition.) It does not say that because you are starving I am required to give you food. You have the right to life and I don't have the right to forcibly take it from you, but neither am I required to intervene on your behalf.

Still, if you need a burger and I've got some to spare, feel free to stop by for a bit.
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Osha » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

Veracious Sole wrote:If you are starving and I am rich, then the right to property says I am not required to give you anything (though should I so desire I can give as much as I care to of my own volition.) It does not say that because you are starving I am required to give you food. You have the right to life and I don't have the right to forcibly take it from you, but neither am I required to intervene on your behalf.

Still, if you need a burger and I've got some to spare, feel free to stop by for a bit.
Meh. I think human rights should be humane. I mean they're not inherent in the world, we create them. We can declare human rights to be whatever we want as long as we have some religious/philosophical/intuitive justification.
So why shouldn't human rights involve things like losing a portion of your property to keep someone from starving or being forced to not discriminate against someone based on their sex/gender/race/etc?

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby bratwurst » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:38 pm UTC

Veracious Sole wrote:If you are starving and I am rich, then the right to property says I am not required to give you anything (though should I so desire I can give as much as I care to of my own volition.) It does not say that because you are starving I am required to give you food. You have the right to life and I don't have the right to forcibly take it from you, but neither am I required to intervene on your behalf.

Still, if you need a burger and I've got some to spare, feel free to stop by for a bit.


A hypothetical scenario: there is a large famine occurring in a third-world country. The local, gloriously corrupt government decides to purchase all the food on the market (note: at fair prices, with the consent of the sellers, etc.) and burn it. If you don't like the idea of a government getting involved, then change that to a more chaotic evil version of Bill Gates. If I understand you correctly, you contend that this is not a violation of anyone's rights, and none of the starving people would be within their rights to attempt to take some of the food by force in order to survive. Am I correct, or is there something I'm missing?

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby spent » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:36 pm UTC

bratwurst wrote:A hypothetical scenario: there is a large famine occurring in a third-world country. The local, gloriously corrupt government decides to purchase all the food on the market (note: at fair prices, with the consent of the sellers, etc.) and burn it. If you don't like the idea of a government getting involved, then change that to a more chaotic evil version of Bill Gates. If I understand you correctly, you contend that this is not a violation of anyone's rights, and none of the starving people would be within their rights to attempt to take some of the food by force in order to survive. Am I correct, or is there something I'm missing?


I'd argue that the government isn't operating within its rights. Buying all the food on the free market, with the intention of burning it, is an action directly intended to harm those starving citizens. People have the right to do whatever they please, so long as they do not intentionally harm anyone else in the process. So although it may be legal to buy the food, it is not within the government's moral rights to do so. On the other hand, if there's a hungry person on the street and I decide not to help that person, it would not be a violation of rights because I haven't affected his situation one way or the other.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Mzyxptlk » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:20 pm UTC

Veracious Sole wrote:
Mzyxptlk wrote:
MSTR wrote:In my opinion all human rights can be reduced to a single one: the right to property. Your life and your liberty are just that, yours, and are, thus, reflexively your property, and your property is, well, your property. No one else may impose any restriction upon your property except that you may not use it to violate theirs. I cannot think of any other rights outside those mentioned here. I think the whole concept of a right depends on the absolute imposibility of a contradiction of rights between two people. Your thoughts?

The right to life does not follow from the right to property, nor does the right to religious/sexual/cultural/personal freedom, right to freedom of discrimination/racism/sexism, right of equality before the law, and I could go on.

The right to property is (like many of human rights) also a contradiction. A simple scenario: I am starving, you are rich. Because you have the right to property, you shouldn't have to give me anything. Because I have the right to life, I should be given food.
If you are starving and I am rich, then the right to property says I am not required to give you anything (though should I so desire I can give as much as I care to of my own volition.) It does not say that because you are starving I am required to give you food. You have the right to life and I don't have the right to forcibly take it from you, but neither am I required to intervene on your behalf.

Still, if you need a burger and I've got some to spare, feel free to stop by for a bit.

That is exactly my point. See the bolded text.

In any case (responding to your previous post) it's pretty easy to avoid contradiction if you only have one rule. My second paragraph assumed there are more rights than just the right to property.
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:04 pm UTC

bratwurst wrote:
Veracious Sole wrote:If you are starving and I am rich, then the right to property says I am not required to give you anything (though should I so desire I can give as much as I care to of my own volition.) It does not say that because you are starving I am required to give you food. You have the right to life and I don't have the right to forcibly take it from you, but neither am I required to intervene on your behalf.

Still, if you need a burger and I've got some to spare, feel free to stop by for a bit.


A hypothetical scenario: there is a large famine occurring in a third-world country. The local, gloriously corrupt government decides to purchase all the food on the market (note: at fair prices, with the consent of the sellers, etc.) and burn it. If you don't like the idea of a government getting involved, then change that to a more chaotic evil version of Bill Gates. If I understand you correctly, you contend that this is not a violation of anyone's rights, and none of the starving people would be within their rights to attempt to take some of the food by force in order to survive. Am I correct, or is there something I'm missing?

In the scenario you're describing both the corrupt government and Bill Gates are taking actions to deny others access to food. It would be just as contrived to say that the government/Bill Gates sucked all the air out of the atmosphere. It's the difference between taking action to kill someone and not taking action to save someone.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Voco » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:29 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:In the scenario you're describing both the corrupt government and Bill Gates are taking actions to deny others access to food. It would be just as contrived to say that the government/Bill Gates sucked all the air out of the atmosphere. It's the difference between taking action to kill someone and not taking action to save someone.



Indeed. Firing a gun isn't wrong. Firing a gun when someone is standing in such a place that they will be killed or injured by the bullet is wrong. Buying food is not an inherently wrong action, but deliberately trying to prevent others from having access to it is.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Sharlos » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:02 am UTC

Human rights are supposed to be common things among all humans that humans want for other humans.

Buying all the food and burning it isn't violating any rights, I could easily see how they are violating the law however.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Velict » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:20 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:Human rights are supposed to be common things among all humans that humans want for other humans.

Buying all the food and burning it isn't violating any rights, I could easily see how they are violating the law however.


Under your definition, however, human rights don't exist. There is absolutely nothing that all humans want for other humans. Even something so fundamental as the right to life is a right that some humans want to deny to others; a common example would be Americans wanting to see Bin Laden and the organizational structure of Al Qaeda dead.

I would tentatively agree with you that huamn rights are common things that "most" people want for other humans, but even then, we're subjecting human rights to the tyranny of the masses.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby bratwurst » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:16 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:In the scenario you're describing both the corrupt government and Bill Gates are taking actions to deny others access to food. It would be just as contrived to say that the government/Bill Gates sucked all the air out of the atmosphere. It's the difference between taking action to kill someone and not taking action to save someone.


I'm perfectly aware that it's contrived. But if it falls under "human rights", then human rights don't mean very much. You can't very well say "This is the law. Follow it as it was intended to be written, and not as it was written." I suppose my point is, if a given definition of "human rights" affords me the right to indirectly kill someone (as saying "the only right is property rights" does), then you probably need to improve the definition.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Gunfingers » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:01 pm UTC

I'm just saying that you're misunderstanding the definition. The definition allows you to refuse to save someone. It does not allow you to kill someone. Your scenario involves a party hoarding food with the specific intention of denying it to others, which pretty clearly falls under the heading "killing someone", whereas the initial scenario involved someone having some food and refusing to give it to someone who needed it. That falls under the heading "not saving someone". This is a kind of difficult thing to explain, so i'm not sure i'm making sense.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Mzyxptlk » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:23 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:I'm just saying that you're misunderstanding the definition. The definition allows you to refuse to save someone. It does not allow you to kill someone. Your scenario involves a party hoarding food with the specific intention of denying it to others, which pretty clearly falls under the heading "killing someone", whereas the initial scenario involved someone having some food and refusing to give it to someone who needed it. That falls under the heading "not saving someone". This is a kind of difficult thing to explain, so i'm not sure i'm making sense.

I'm calling the slippery slope argument with emotional blackmail speciality. How much food are you allowed to hoard/burn/eat before it falls under the heading "killing someone"?

I repeat: the right to property does not imply (or supercede) the right to life.
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:15 pm UTC

Acquiring property regardless of intent would be ok under the "only right is property right" philosophy. If acquiring property with intent to limit another's ability to maintain property is wrong, then stock brokers are Satan's Spawn. I think everyone arguing that hoarding food is wrong is introducing the concept that human life is more valuable than other property. Is there an objection to the purchase of oil? Hoarding oil by one means that not everyone can have a functioning lawnmower. But if there is no right to a functioning lawnmower, then there is nothing ethically wrong with hoarding oil.

It follows that if there is no right to life, and there is a right to property, there is nothing wrong with acquiring food.

I think the right to life better describes the ethical standards we hold each other to.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby ndansmith » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

Bright Shadows wrote:People have some kind of rights (at least most people), I think we can agree on that.

Not really. We can agree that in many countries there exists the legal concept of "human rights." Rights are just negative ways of talking about laws. Think about the phrasing of the "Bill of Rights" in the US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law . . ." Rights, however, do not have any objective existence. They exists because we make them exist. Nobody "has" rights.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Kaillan » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:10 am UTC

I think that throughout this thread the concept of passive and active human rights keeps re-occurring, for instance take previously mentioned examples of governments hoarding food (active) and a person not helping another person (passive), people are opposed to one idea whilst being fine with the other. Clearly there are little tidbits of variances that have made most of the active examples given fairly atrocious, but say we simply took a passive example and made it active.

What if you were hungry, and another man was starving, there was one piece of food and you both shared equal rights to it as property. Whoever chose to consume the food was well within their rights, and you happen to be holding it in your hand. You actively participate in the denying of this man his life. Just as you had passively done so.

Human rights aren't about blame, you can't avoid doing this man a disservice simply because you have an argument to use when questioned. Physically, and lawfully, the grey area is in your favour. Morally and humanely...a grey area is a grey area.

Was he rapist? Does it change the example? I imagine that the law system is rife with morality discrepancies that people within the system try to account for on a daily basis, judges give leniency, the police "misplace" evidence.

Thus the two converge but don't quite meet, any example given can be taken on two counts. For human rights and your citizen rights. I try to think that given the above examples, human rights dictates your rights and responsibility both passive and active. The law doesn't take into account passiveness.

Most people have probably heard the multitude of pushing fat men on track and saving ten for one moral dilemmas and are aware of the little flutter they get inside over active moral decisions and passive ones, yet logically know that the two are identical in every way except that you actively decide to do something, or actively decide to be passive.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Spuddly » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:33 pm UTC

Humans don't have any rights beyond what they can force from others. It's not like there's some metaphysical Christmas list out in the ether. Objectively, rights are determined by those with the biggest sticks.
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Weezer » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:22 pm UTC

Spuddly wrote:Humans don't have any rights beyond what they can force from others. It's not like there's some metaphysical Christmas list out in the ether. Objectively, rights are determined by those with the biggest sticks.


I agree with this in essence. I don't think that there is anything that people have an inherent right to. There are things however that while not "rights" per say are things that I believe are necessary to a truly free and advanced society. Things that have been mentioned before such as privacy, life, property, religion, expression are all things that are nessecary for true liberty but i dont think that they are part of some code of rights that are encoded inside humanity , they are ideals that need to be worked towards to find true freedom. The only way in practice for these "rights" to be truly ensured is through forcing people to respect others rights, rights being what the people in charge designate them to be.
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

Weezer wrote:i dont think that they are part of some code of rights that are encoded inside humanity

C.S. Lewis offers a strong argument to the contrary (first two paragraphs). We all argue about what's right and wrong, and we never argue about the fundamentals. When someone cuts in line, they don't say "I don't believe in waiting my turn" or, as Lewis puts it "To hell with your standard!" Instead, they argue that they are an exception to the rule, or that the rule doesn't apply in this particular case. We all abide by a basic code of ethics, and argue about which standards are more important and which apply when.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Weezer » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

Heisenburg wrote:C.S. Lewis offers a strong argument to the contrary (first two paragraphs). We all argue about what's right and wrong, and we never argue about the fundamentals. When someone cuts in line, they don't say "I don't believe in waiting my turn" or, as Lewis puts it "To hell with your standard!" Instead, they argue that they are an exception to the rule, or that the rule doesn't apply in this particular case. We all abide by a basic code of ethics, and argue about which standards are more important and which apply when.



That just shows that people in a single culture who are working by the rules that are imposed on them all or instilled in them all culturally try to abide by the dictated rules I don't think that it shows that there is a code of rights that extends to all of humanity. It could be used to argue that every society develops there own idea of the rights of man but not that it is universal.
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby tKircher » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:02 pm UTC

The problem with defining 'rights' like this is that you have to work in unbelievably specific or insanely vague terms, anything else can quickly become ridiculous (and therefore, popular). Once you start mucking about in property, happiness, and all this other stuff, you reach the impenetrable flaw of the golden rule: there is no action that affects only one person. My walking down the street can offend someone. My very existence can offend someone.

So to my way of seeing, the best you can do to define inalienable human rights, is to simply say "you have the right to object and be heard." If you have the right to object and rectify the situation, you can quite easily turn anything from a confrontation into an easy fix. Don't like me walking down the street? I can take a shortcut down a different road.

And yeah, have fun defending that human right. But still, as far as universal rights go, that's about all i can offer. As argued above, there are no 'rights' in the world, especially not ones inherent to humans. Whichever culture is dominant where you live defines how you live.

But at the very least, we should be able to think our own thoughts, and have our own opinions.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby MSTR » Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:26 am UTC

bratwurst wrote:
MSTR wrote:In my opinion all human rights can be reduced to a single one: the right to property. Your life and your liberty are just that, yours, and are, thus, reflexively your property, and your property is, well, your property. No one else may impose any restriction upon your property except that you may not use it to violate theirs. I cannot think of any other rights outside those mentioned here. I think the whole concept of a right depends on the absolute imposibility of a contradiction of rights between two people. Your thoughts?


What if I build a wall on my property? I am now using my property to infringe on the freedom of others, as they are unable to pass through the wall. Note that you never said that people had the right to forcefully keep others off of their (the owner's) property, so I'm going to assume that such a concept doesn't apply here.


That's the point of it being my property...

(The time it would take to name every possible derivation of the right to property is akin to naming every way the amount 1 can be written mathematically. Besides, the basis of your post is a contradiction which destroys any meaningful concept of rights.)
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Compintuit » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:00 pm UTC

ndansmith wrote:
Bright Shadows wrote:People have some kind of rights (at least most people), I think we can agree on that.

Not really. We can agree that in many countries there exists the legal concept of "human rights." Rights are just negative ways of talking about laws. Think about the phrasing of the "Bill of Rights" in the US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law . . ." Rights, however, do not have any objective existence. They exists because we make them exist. Nobody "has" rights.

I totally agree. We are human. We have social rules that evolved and still exist in us. We also have baser instincts that help guide us. That is all we are. There are no inherent social rights. The only way for those rights of yours to exist is for people to all agree and abide by them. And the minute hell breaks lose, it's gone. Mind, that's not to say I think we should not agree and withhold those rights for as long as we can.

Here's the system of rights I would like to see implemented: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDgkUPokclk&fmt=18 [Warning: Corney music]

And with all due respect, I think CS Lewis is a fail after reading that passage. I don't bullshit to myself that I'm an exception when I pass someone in line. I am fully aware of what I do - and do it for it's lack of consequences, combined with goals I feel pressing enough to piss a few people off. Mind, I don't do it often.

Seriously, check out that video. Don't you think that's the greatest and most sane basis for society?
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby MSTR » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:01 pm UTC

Compintuit wrote:I totally agree. We are human. We have social rules that evolved and still exist in us. We also have baser instincts that help guide us. That is all we are. There are no inherent social rights. The only way for those rights of yours to exist is for people to all agree and abide by them. And the minute hell breaks lose, it's gone. Mind, that's not to say I think we should not agree and withhold those rights for as long as we can.


Based off your post aren't rights (1) not really different then rules for a game of chess or steps to getting laid and (2) inviolable? hardly things to call rights.
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Ixtellor » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:28 pm UTC

There is no such thing as human rights.

There are only people with guns (swords in oldie times, laser satellites and explosive implants in future times), and you are only allowed to do what they say you can do.


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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:53 pm UTC

Compintuit wrote:And with all due respect, I think CS Lewis is a fail after reading that passage. I don't bullshit to myself that I'm an exception when I pass someone in line. I am fully aware of what I do - and do it for it's lack of consequences, combined with goals I feel pressing enough to piss a few people off. Mind, I don't do it often.

I really enjoy the fact that you claimed not to care about cutting people in line, and then ended by rationalizing your actions because you "didn't do it often" and "had a good reason that one time." That's exactly what Lewis is talking about, except that waiting your turn may not be a universal rule, but rather "don't be a dick" and "don't murder" are the kinds of rules that every human understands (even if they don't follow them).
Ixtellor wrote:There are only people with guns, and you are only allowed to do what they say you can do.

So you're suggesting that there's nothing inherently wrong with enslaving black people, and the people who died trying to free them were idiots? You wouldn't feel guilty taking a shit in someone's salad? You wouldn't feel angry that someone shit in your salad, provided his gun is bigger than yours?

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:18 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:So you're suggesting that there's nothing inherently wrong with enslaving black people, and the people who died trying to free them were idiots?


Strawman.

You and I were raised in Western Democracies and cultures that promoted equality and 'inalienable rights'. Thus we both believe enslaving black people is wrong and the people trying to free them were heros.

Here are some things I also know.

1) Had you or me been alive in 400 BC, or lived in Rome during the height of its power, we would have had no qualms about slavery. We would have been perfectly happy to see people burned alive because they 'consorted with the devil'.

2) George Bush's team of lawyers decided that during war, the bill of rights doesn't apply. Hence, there are people alive and in power who believe there is no such thing as 'human rights'. And all you have to do is look south to Gitmo and you will see 100% evidence of this.

So while it may feel wrong to me when "human rights" are violated, I am just applying my socio/political/and moral upbringing to that situation. This is not evidence that human rights actually exist, just that if you raise people to believe in rights, they will probably do so...


ONLY until such time as those rights get in their way. (See Gitmo, See Nagasaki, See Death Penelty, See Vietnam)



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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Compintuit » Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:10 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Compintuit wrote:And with all due respect, I think CS Lewis is a fail after reading that passage. I don't bullshit to myself that I'm an exception when I pass someone in line. I am fully aware of what I do - and do it for it's lack of consequences, combined with goals I feel pressing enough to piss a few people off. Mind, I don't do it often.

I really enjoy the fact that you claimed not to care about cutting people in line, and then ended by rationalizing your actions because you "didn't do it often" and "had a good reason that one time." That's exactly what Lewis is talking about, except that waiting your turn may not be a universal rule, but rather "don't be a dick" and "don't murder" are the kinds of rules that every human understands (even if they don't follow them).


When I said I didn't do it often, I meant that I didn't like the possible consequences of my actions. I try to minimize those, because I know someday someone could pull a gun on me when I do it. Saying I didn't do it often was in no way a rationalization. I hold no belief that having any reason justifies passing in line. Yes, even to stop a murderer/Apocalypse/save my life. I justify nothing because justice, like Human Rights, are entirely subjective. For me, life is about weighing consequences with desires - and that's it. I believe you would find the same thing if you looked at yourself hard enough.

Heisenberg wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:There are only people with guns, and you are only allowed to do what they say you can do.

So you're suggesting that there's nothing inherently wrong with enslaving black people, and the people who died trying to free them were idiots? You wouldn't feel guilty taking a shit in someone's salad? You wouldn't feel angry that someone shit in your salad, provided his gun is bigger than yours?

Yes, I would feel guilty taking a shit in someone's salad. I laugh at the thought, and even that makes me feel guilty. This is because I was raised with high standards of politeness, and of how to act. Violating those will always trigger guilt. Fuckin' right I'd be damn pissed if he took a shit in my salad, too. But the point is you accept it, precisely because his gun is bigger then yours. No right of mine is a guarantee that no one will shit in my salad.

I'm going to try another way of explaining. The only thing inherent about an atom is it's mass, volume, etc.(and some scientists might disagree...) The same applies to humans. We're not special. Could you really say, with a straight face, "As atoms inherently posses mass, humans inherently posses a guarantee to their life, liberty, etc" OK, now that you did that, please tell me why the rest of this world, governed by natural law, does not obey those :)

I rest my case that there are no inherent Human Rights. I do however believe that a certain set of standards about how we interact with each other is a good idea for world stability. But those are entirely human constructs. Nothing inherent about being human. I rest my case...
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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby MSTR » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:08 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Strawman.

You and I were raised in Western Democracies and cultures that promoted equality and 'inalienable rights'. Thus we both believe enslaving black people is wrong and the people trying to free them were heros.

Ixtellor

But despite your knowledge of this fallacy you are still somehow unable to transcend it? I think that is clearly an irrational position.

Compintuit wrote:(Your Post)

Compintuit, I think part of the basic point of rights is that they CAN be violated. The idea of a human right is not that it is a guarantee, but that it is wrong for another to violate it. Consider the (U.S.) Declaration of Independance. The reason it was written was because the named rights were being violated, and yet they used the phrase "unalienable Rights." I think the idea here you disagreeing with is the ultimate difference between good and evil required for such rights to exist.

You have an edit button. I know that you know that you have an edit button. You should know that I know that you know that you have an edit button and that I expect you to use it rather than double post.

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Re: Human Rights Discussion

Postby Compintuit » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:52 am UTC

MSTR wrote:
Compintuit wrote:(Your Post)


Compintuit, I think part of the basic point of rights is that they CAN be violated. The idea of a human right is not that it is a guarantee, but that it is wrong for another to violate it. Consider the (U.S.) Declaration of Independence. The reason it was written was because the named rights were being violated, and yet they used the phrase "unalienable Rights." I think the idea here you disagreeing with is the ultimate difference between good and evil required for such rights to exist.


inalienable: incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another; "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights"
-wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

So, these are rights that can be violated, but not removed. They are not a guarantee. But there is a guarantee that they shall not be respected by the natural world. And just who is it that endowed us with those rights, BTW? Honestly, I thought nothing was unalienable - isn't proton decay going to destroy everything eventually?

So really, I believe you've just called me evil, and nature wrong and/or evil, and that the difference between me&nature and you is that you believe it's wrong to disobey some piece of paper some lousy folk at the UN wrote. (Or, if you don't favor that as your basis for human rights, to disobey, perhaps, what the creator said?) I think that might just be a pretty serious accusation... Am I going to be on trial? Another witch hunt?

Oh, and that was not the reason the DoI was written - because they wanted to live their style of life, not the one being imposed on them by the Brits.
Great men wrote:We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That was their way of saying "OK chaps, this is what I want my country based on - that everyone is equal, and has a right to Life, Liberty, and some degree of happiness"
Great Men wrote:That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Is it just me, or did they just say if I think my government is destructive, I should abolish it, and built a new one - basing it one different principles? Sure seems like the founders of this "Great" Nation didn't think those rights were actually inalienable...
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