Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Rights", Including A "Right" To Health Care

This article makes perfect sense to me, but I'm interested in hearing other views before I take the professors statements as fact. Excerpts:

Despite many other disagreements, the great social and political philosophers who so influenced the Founders never argued that such-and-such "should" be a right; rather, they claimed that such-and-such was, always had been, and always would be a right. The question was never about creating rights, which would have struck them as absurd, but how to perceive clearly the eternal, unchangeable rights that did exist and always had existed...

Privileging fake rights over real ones is a pillar of the Law of Unintended Consequences. "Unintended," perhaps, but entirely predictable...

If such a conflict exists, then the claimed "right" is a phony. Genuine rights never need to be "balanced" against each other. Any genuine right can coexist with all other genuine rights. For this reason, rights are naturally limited, and the creation (or "recognition") of new ones should be carefully scrutinized as a potential direct and imminent threat to liberty.
An interesting starting point for discussion.


allen (in Michigan) said...

The rights the founders described, one and all, were exercisable without creating an obligation on anyone else.

Those rights also came with responsibilities and the implication that irresponsible exercise would result in criminal prosecution. You're right to express yourself by waving your fist around ending where my nose begins.

Law and Order Teacher said...

This professor is referring to "natural rights" theory from John Locke. The Founding Fathers were big fans of Locke and purposely wrote the Declaration and Constitution to reflect natural rights. "we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, among these is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Locke also felt that government exists solely to protect the rights of its citizens. When it fails in that, the citizens can "alter or abolish" it. This is referred to as "compact theory" espoused by Jefferson and Madison in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions in 1798 written in opposition to the Alien and Seditions Acts of the same year.

Jefferson also spoke of nullification as a remedy for an unjust law. This served as a basis for the Nullification Crisis of 1832 and later as one of driving forces of secession.

Positivists on the other hand believe that government can grant rights to the citizens. Hence we are bound to obey them. Certainly two ways of looking at government. Natural law is the basis for our government, not positivism which liberals would have you believe.

Good post.

Erica said...

I've been arguing this point for a while.

A right cannot be something that requires the action or service of another party. That way lies slavery.

maxutils said...

I was much more a fan of John Locke before he turned in to a malevolent smoke monster.