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Author Topic: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?  (Read 291 times)

MadZealot

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Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« on: October 03, 2017, 05:24:39 pm »

For humans to function together in a social group, certain conventions need to be established. Which is why very similar codes of morality keep arising in very disparate cultures--because the human needs that give rise to them are universally human.


Hanging this off Altair's post, but it's really sort of a parallel to OP's question.

Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 05:31:52 pm »
Hanging this off Altair's post, but it's really sort of a parallel to OP's question.

Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?

I read that and thought, 'Oh, now that's a whole topic in itself!' And lo, I have made it so.

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 05:57:46 pm »
Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?

Does the universe care what "rights" you think you have?  Does nature care?  No.  Humans absolutely do not have "absolute, inalienable rights".

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 06:10:28 pm »
Hanging this off Altair's post, but it's really sort of a parallel to OP's question.

Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?

That's a very debatable point. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, said yes. Robert Heinlein, in Starship Troopers, said no.

While both schools of thought have points in their favor, on balance I come down on the side of Heinlein. I believe that all of the "rights" we exercise must also be counterbalanced with corresponding responsibilities. And what "natural human rights" we do exercise come because those with whom we deal are exercising their responsibility to deal with us justly and mercifully.

Everyone here, I am sure, recognizes that my God has some big no-nos. Yet, at the same time, he is "...slow to anger, and abounding in mercy (Psalms 103:8)." It is one thing to incentivize constructive behavior, and societies which do so end up doing well. It is something else entirely to compel it by main force. Yes, before you recite Old Testament history to me, I acknowledge that we've been there. But that was then, and this is now. My God's ideal, I believe, is for men to come to the point where, on their own initiative, they say, "Yes, I did that. But I shouldn't have. I hurt someone else. I'd like to set it right." And so, in this world, he gives us a lot of rope. But, if we don't come around...eventually, there will be accountability.

At this point, IMHO, that occurs on the other side of the point which we see as "death". Perhaps well and far away on that other side; the Last Judgment is in fact the penultimate chapter in Revelation. But my personal thought is that the gap is narrowing, and that some day not far distant we may see some if not all of that justice formally exercised in this world and this life.

But, at least in my own mind, that justice will be exercised with the aim of ultimately being for the benefit of that individual. Justice can be severe, even vindictive, without being cruel. And while one can insist and condition that a person under judgment be exposed to and educated with facts and philosophies with which he does not agree, that does not mean he can be compelled to accept or believe them.

In my own thinking, I look at Satan as the limiting case. I think that there will be a very long period of both criminal punishment and, afterwards, civil restitution...much too long to express using a mere 64 bit computer, even with quadruple precision! But, once that debt has been paid in full, I believe that justice demands that Satan be allowed the freedom of action to begin an entirely new rebellion. If he chooses. Having been defeated before, he can be defeated again...if necessary.

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 06:30:26 pm »
Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?

Only as long as the government says they do, unfortunately.

Less flippantly: rights (and particularly, universal rights) are a social construct, and a fairly recent one too, compared with concepts like 'justice'.

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 06:52:40 pm »
Only as long as the government says they do, unfortunately.

Less flippantly: rights (and particularly, universal rights) are a social construct, and a fairly recent one too, compared with concepts like 'justice'.
Exactly


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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2017, 12:39:30 am »
Does the universe care what "rights" you think you have?  Does nature care?  No.  Humans absolutely do not have "absolute, inalienable rights".

If the doctrine of anatta is true in some form, and I think it is, then it makes more sense to say that rights are something that is given to us socially rather than an inherent quality.

Morbid

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2017, 04:03:13 am »
Hanging this off Altair's post, but it's really sort of a parallel to OP's question.

Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?

I'm going to take a different spin on this and say that yes, humans do have inalienable rights.  But it's not the rights you're thinking about.  Humans have the right to higher thinking.  It's the one power that no government can take away from any person.   
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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2017, 04:41:52 am »
I'm going to take a different spin on this and say that yes, humans do have inalienable rights.  But it's not the rights you're thinking about.  Humans have the right to higher thinking.  It's the one power that no government can take away from any person.

That sounds more like a capacity to think at a certain level, and one that is not universally shared such as among the severely mentally handicapped.

Morbid

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2017, 04:51:50 am »
That sounds more like a capacity to think at a certain level, and one that is not universally shared such as among the severely mentally handicapped.

Yes, but at some level they're still aware of themselves, unless they're to the point that they're essentially a vegetable (not to sound insensitive).  But at that point, is it still debatable?  If someone is past the point where they are no longer at least on some level mentally aware of themselves, and it's just the brain barely keeping the body alive but otherwise no other brain function, then no, what inalienable rights do they have?  But even then, that right wasn't taken away by a government or law making authority but rather by nature itself.  So are we still talking about an "inalienable right" at that point?

Edit: changed the wording to add "inalienable" before rights (italicized) due to when read back to myself it sounded wholly insensitive and awful.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 04:54:19 am by Morbid »
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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 06:30:23 am »
Humans have the right to higher thinking.  It's the one power that no government can take away from any person.

That is an ability, not a "right".  And yes, a government can take that away from someone by ending their life or by giving them significant enough brain damage.

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2017, 06:50:20 am »
That is an ability, not a "right".  And yes, a government can take that away from someone by ending their life or by giving them significant enough brain damage.

That's a fair point.  That's the only thing I could think of.
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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2017, 11:55:27 am »
Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?

In a literal sense?  Can you think of any thing that a person has which literally cannot be taken away from them?  'Cos I can't.

As a figurative, moral aspiration?  Well, the concept has a certain amount of motivating utility.  But, like all concepts of "rights", it suffers from presenting a sort of absolutism that cannot actually exist in the real world without negotiations of grey areas that make those concepts incapable of being implemented absolutely (and provides no guidance on how to resolve the inevitable resulting conflicts).
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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2017, 08:42:11 pm »
That's a very debatable point. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, said yes. Robert Heinlein, in Starship Troopers, said no.

I just want to call attention to this post by Eric, which, going by the timestamps, he was evidently composing while I was splitting this topic off, and which as a result didn't get split off but remained in the parent topic until just now. Since moved posts appear in the order they were originally posted, it re-entered this line of discussion as post #4, not as the most recent post, so people might not realize it's there.

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Re: Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2017, 09:42:45 am »
Hanging this off Altair's post, but it's really sort of a parallel to OP's question.

Do human beings have absolute, inalienable rights?

I would have to say no. I think that stating that humans do have inalienable rights is a sort of spell that we cast as a social contract. "Access to drinking water is a human right." That statement is less universal truth, more of a call to action, in my opinion. It's like spell casting. We are calling upon the general populace to agree and do something about it.

I will say that human needs are pretty universal, which is probably where most of our ideas of inalienable rights come from. Food, Shelter, Community, Close relationships, Safety, etc. Our social contracts are our way of trying to fulfill those needs in our society/community.

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