Skip to comments.Are There Natural Human Rights?
Posted on 05/30/2011 3:16:52 AM PDT by 1010RD
This has been a year of uprisings. The series of popular revolts, struggles and crackdowns by governments, which continue to this day...
But whether or not every person on earth has certain rights just by virtue of being a person alive on the planet a concept I will refer to here as natural human rights is a question of some controversy. In these times, when new questions of rights, complaints and subsequent conflicts seem to arise anew each week, its worth knowing where we stand on the matter.
Philosophers and legal scholars have intensely debated this issue over the past few decades. One important starting point for this discussion is H.L.A. Harts controversial 1955 article, Are There Any Natural Rights? The article argued that natural rights (what we typically call human rights) were an invention of the European Enlightenment, mere social constructions...
There are two avenues by which to address the truth of the natural basis of human rights: (a) whether authors argued for human rights before the European Enlightenment, and (b) whether there is a logical basis for human rights that would demonstrate its applicability to all people regardless of when it was recognized to be correct.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...
Liberals, having abandoned God seek once again to recreate him in their own image.
You have that correct, well done. Idolatry is at the core of the human mess, no?
Well simply put if there are no natural rights then slavery is just fine. You can be owned by someone else with more power. Because that’s what it all comes down to - slavery being a “social norm”.
Yep. Check the article. What the author is trying to do is take God out of the equation and find some logical, objective, concrete reason why humans have rights.
Behind all the erudite gobbledygook, it looks like a dog chasing his own tail.
We have “rights endowed by our Creator.” I don’t understand why they have to change it to “natural human rights”.
Yes, but that dog - secular humanism - has caused nearly all the man-induced misery of the 20th century. That its adherents are still considered wise or even sane is scary.
Natural or Nature’s God or Creator were all interchangeably used, but I suspect that Deists influenced the confluence of Nature and God resulting in today’s “nature” without God.
natural rights - Rights given by God and reasonably apparent in the study of the natural order of society.
human rights - Rights apparent in a secular humanist society
civil rights - Rights granted by the civil authorities
Note the absence of God in the latter two and the authority of the last one. One doesn’t need God to have the last kind.
From wiki: However, there is no consensus as to the precise nature of what in particular should or should not be regarded as a human right in any of the preceding senses, and the abstract concept of human rights has been a subject of intense philosophical debate and criticism.
Without a natural order and God, there is no objective basis for rights. Note that since progressiveness must disturb the natural order to “change” it, progressives cannot recognize any rights.
What this idiot is trying to do is justify the welfare state as ensuring basic human rights.
See post 11.
Excellent post and observations! Our Founding Fathers had it right yet so many continue to strain at gnats while trying to “improve” on concepts that need no such “improvement”.
Excellent post. The ‘abstract concept of human rights’ is an invention of the Left. Human rights are concrete only if there is a God.
The prophet Mohammad personally set out one description of a community in his Constitution of Medina.
In Medina there were contentions among various religious groups over rights and privileges. This was a severe problem because each group: Jews, Muslims and indigenous religions wanted to dominate and set the agenda.
What Mohammad set out was a way to satisfy the claims of the disparate religious groups that lived there within a contractarian framework so that all might enjoy basic rights as citizens.
Many in the Middle East feel that the Constitution of Medina creates a blueprint of how to address human rights concerns: create a political or social contract that satisfies everyones negotiated needs and human rights claims.
Once this process has occurred, human rights emerge. They are negotiated rights and not natural rights.
Yep this guy is a moron.
They are rights negotiated out of the barrel of a rifle.
The author is an idiot, but he represents a large group of influential idiots running academies, think tanks and businesses.
The threat of bad ideas is obvious to us and would, if there were a free market of ideas, have been disposed of long ago and recognized for trash today. Instead our government school system which reaches deep into graduate school repackages this stupidity and insulates it promulgators from harm or retribution.
As a bit of an aside, there are many people who believe that life began during the Enlightenment and its development, the scientific method. Generally speaking, I find that the people most in awe of the scientific method are people who don't use or understand it. Most scientists know its limitations.
Note the use of the word “should” in the essay. Probably without knowing it, the author has implicitly assumed what he is trying to disprove; the moment he uses words like “should” or “ought” in discussing rights, he has assumed the pre-existence of a right.
Unless he does this, he has no basis for asserting that his “hierarchy of rights” is preferable to, say, Jack London’s “law of club and fang” — oppress the weak and obey the strong (which is observed in nature far more often than his hierarchy).
This professor is the poster child for why our colleges are not worth attending unless one is majoring in engineering, etc.
His degree should be revoked, there’s a real simple reason why: his meanderings attempt to discuss the concept of natural rights, presumably those mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, he cites one author from 1955 and one from the 19th century and uses them to hypothesize that “natural rights” were an invention of the Enlightenment period, largely the 18th century, and did not exist in Europe prior to then. And then he proceeds to discuss Confucianism and islam, completely avoiding any discussion of Christian theology.
Whatever his beliefs are, the marks of Christian theology on 18th century European philosophy are obvious, and must be included in any meaningful discussion. In fact, the role of Christianity in appealing for rights in Europe was so foundational that this man’s blabbering would only warrant attention from a college freshman who graduated from a public high school or a typical U.S. newspaper; the latter would know his words were a hollow lie, the former would not.
Even if he asserts that his motive was pure political propaganda, his rambling references to other writers will ring true only with others similarly indoctrinated as himself, to believe in the deity of the intellectual.
Most troubling are the New York Times readers who comment after the article.
Most are ignorant of both history and logic, and of those few who appear to have some education, most view “natural rights”, God, or both with contempt. Hopefully they will learn about natural rights before they are denied them by an authoritarian government.
There is a need to spread basic understanding of how America came to be and the whole history of the development of it’s founding principles, starting in 13th century Europe.
Let’s look at one natural right.....the right to be alive....and how modern liberals see it.
Liberals want to place limits on life.....you can be young enough to be aborted or too old to be kept alive through medicine.
That should tell anyone that liberals have no respect for any rights, except those they bestow upon you through their good graces.
Here he confuses the actual meaning of "natural rights" and builds upon a faulty premise. Our fundamental human right is the right to exist, that is the foundation upon which any other right is to be built, not on any type of "entitlement" or redistributive (theft and slavery) scam. Because we have a right to exist, we have the right to conduct ourselves in any fashion we desire as long as we do not prevent another from doing so. We have the right to improve our lot through our own innovation and work and we have a right to defend our property. No person has the right to anything owned by another person.
The fact that governments do not recognize natural rights does not mean they do not exist. Natural rights are synonymous with existence and demand freedom. The only other option is some form of slavery. If a man has no right to existence and the product of his mind; if the government is the final arbiter of possession and property, then man is a slave to that government. This has been the case for most of history and is the case today. The founders of this country recognized man's natural rights and sought to build a nation that recognized every man's right to exist.
The U.N. "declaration of human rights" is an attempt to confuse the subject. Our natural rights are the right to exist, the right to be free to live our lives, the right to property and the right to defend ourselves. No thinking person can attach the monicker of "natural right" to the entitlement of a commodity at the expense of another, the premise violates man's natural rights.
Housing is not a right, food is not a right, water is not a right, health care is not a right, love is not a right; these are necessities. The pursuit of these commodities is every man's right. Every man has the right to defend these commodities form theft or damage by others. These things are earned through the mind of the individual. Our "Natural rights" are the rights of the individual and are therefor incompatible with a collectivist philosophy. There is no moral or acceptable argument for slavery, so the proponents of that institution change the language of the argument and use phrases like "the common good", "social construction", "minimal well-being among people in a society". These arguments appeal to our emotions and demand that we ignore our own self interest and sacrifice ourselves for the common good; the irony is that the system that does the most "common good" is a system that recognizes our natural rights and offers complete freedom.
Most are ignorant of both history and logic, and of those few who appear to have some education, most view natural rights, God, or both with contempt. Hopefully they will learn about natural rights before they are denied them by an authoritarian government.
There is a need to spread basic understanding of how America came to be and the whole history of the development of its founding principles, starting in 13th century Europe.
Absolutely correct. When I debate liberals they love to use ‘facts’ without understanding them or ‘stats’ without knowing how they are calculated. They simply want their own irrefutable facts. Liberalism is a religion.
I’m not a fan of all his stuff, but Popper gets it right with Falsification. Liberals avoid that test. When their ideas fail it is the peoples’ fault.
The proper order of things in God’s economy is People, Things and then Ideas. Liberalism turns that on its head - Ideas come first and Things and then People. The problem for liberals is people.
That’s why liberals struggle with the concept of Natural Law and Natural Rights. They’re not objective. All rights are subjective to person, place or time.
They talk about words they don’t understand - universal, tolerance, sustainable, rights, etc. For liberals these words mean everything and therefore nothing. They desperately want a world undefined. Definitions mean responsibility and that’s the exact opposite of liberalism.
You got it. God bless you and America. She’s still worth fighting for. Let’s fight to win and win her back!
At least. I would even venture to go back to the Old Testament and the insistence on the care given to widows and orphans. Hell, if you want to, you can even trace it back to the creation narratives. The Jewish people had no qualms about attributing these rights to their proper Creator.
The Founders believed that all men are endowed with rights by the Creator, but they also needed a long, brutal war against an imperial power to secure those rights. Rights are just a fantasy if there is not the will to fight and die for them.
Which is why people need to understand them.
They will not fight and die for something they don’t understand and admit to themselves is worth fighting for.
Yes like Jesus was a socialist and stupid statements.
“Liberals, having abandoned God seek once again to recreate him.”
And not surprisingly, they keep coming up short. Smart atheists (I.e. Nietzsche) understand this. Most do not, or just avoid thinking hard about the matter at all, or stall for time and seek to prevent the issue from being discussed (I.e. Straussians).
So, to answer the question: Yes, if God exists. No, if God does not exist.
No amount of secular hand waving will change this.
Anytime the NYT argues for “human Rights,” you can bet a box of doughnuts that these “rights” will demean traditional God-given rights, increase the power of the state and cheer Marxist dictatorships.
The comments that follow are amusing. Liberal knuckle-headed navel gazers ask themselves and each other questions that were answered by Aquinas 800 years ago.
I know this, government has no “right” to the fruits of my labor.
You wrote: “Note the use of the word should in the essay. Probably without knowing it, the author has implicitly assumed what he is trying to disprove; the moment he uses words like should or ought in discussing rights, he has assumed the pre-existence of a right.”
“...the materialist metaphysics of logical positivism — even though such a philosophy is riddled with self-contradiction — undermined any claim to an objective moral order..
“By disgarding reason and reality; by abandoning the past and embracing moral and cultural relativism, the left has brought us to this place where we are morally and physically paralyzed.... This is their quest. To establish themselves as the arbiters of moral behavior by behaving immorally; of being ‘reality-based’ without the necessity of having to acknowledge reality; of speaking ‘truth’ to power, without being capable of recognizing truth. ...
“Again, the problem with the left is not its “immorality,” but precisely its unhinged, out of control morality. There is no sanctimonious moral scold like leftist moral scold. ...
“So, what is the specific source of the left’s moral passion? Polany felt that it originated with Christianity, which introduced an entirely new kind of morality into the world at large. I don’t have time to do justice to the subtlety of his argument here, but if you take the deep moral passion generated by Christianity — for example, for justice, equality, fraternity, liberty, etc. — and remove the Christianity, you’re going to have problems.
“Essentially it is the problem that Voegelin called immamentizing the eshchaton, which is a fancy way of saying tyranically imposing the vertical on the horizontal, thereby destroying both. This happened all over Europe in the 20th century, causing millions upon millions of deaths.
“As Polanyi described it, “Since no society can live up to Christian percepts, any society professing Christian percepts must be afflicted by an internal contradiction, and when the tension is released by rebellion its agents must tend to establish a nihilistic Messianic rule.... It can then only hold on by proclaiming itself to be the absolute good: a Second Coming greater than the first and placed therefore beyond good and evil. We see arising the ‘amoral superman’” (or woman, as the case may be; “It would undoubtedly surprise the proudly infrahuman, anti-Christian rabble of dailykos that they are actually messianic Christians, but there you go. They fall into the category of (-R), of fanatical Christianity with the Christianity removed. ...”
“...Socialism has nothing to do with “generosity” or selflessness; rather, it is the quintessence of selfishness, and diminishes a man down to the conviction that his animal needs should be provided for by someone else. The only thing that can rouse his passion is a threat to his entitlements. Only if the Islamists were to threaten their 12 weeks of paid vacation would they be taken seriously by socialist EUnuchs. ...”
I would say that they want a world subjectively defined, whereby they can win any argument by which to profit by taking. Every liberal I know wants to be king.
You wrote: “Liberals, having abandoned God seek once again to recreate him in their own image.”
You got it. bttt
“...the Founders thought deeply about how and where to ground individual liberty. In other words, to simply affirm liberty without grounding it in something metaphysically real is no less rootless or self-serving than to affirm the absolute right of your leftist neighbor to the fruits of your labors. And if “all is one” — if the individual is an illusion — then your neighbor surely has that right. If I am you and you are me, then hey, your stuff is mine. ....
“...For to affirm God is to sharply limit the state; indeed, it is to affirm that the state and its laws have no legitimacy to the extent that they contravene the transpolitical Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God (as the Declaration expresses it). We have no obligation to obey laws that are fundamentally immoral.
“For the Founders, “the idea of human dignity, that we are created in the image of God, forms the theological underpinning of the ideas of human nature and human equality — core principles of liberty” (Spalding). Which is why, for the ACLU and its fellow travelers, the Constitution is unconstitutional. And which is why they feel so free to change it into something more congenial to their interests. But a Constitution that doesn’t mean what is says and say what it means, merely means what powerful men want it to mean, and we are right back to the Rule of Men, not of Law. Which, of course, is the whole point of the left. ....”
You wrote: “...They will not fight and die for something they dont understand and admit to themselves is worth fighting for.”
“...First, atheism is petty and unworthy of man. No one would kill for it, just as no one would die for it, since it is the substance of meaninglessness, precisely. Why sacrifice one’s life for the principle that there are no transcendent principles worth dying for?
“The least of atheism’s baleful effects is that it automatically makes the hero a fool because there is nothing worth defending. The more catastrophic effect is that it leaves the field open to evil-doers who are openly hostile to the transcendent principles that animate our uniquely decent and beautiful civilization.
“This is why you see an Old Europe that is supine before the barbarians in its midst who wish to destroy it. Socialism has nothing to do with “generosity” or selflessness; rather, it is the quintessence of selfishness, and diminishes a man down to the conviction that his animal needs should be provided for by someone else.
“The only thing that can rouse his passion is a threat to his entitlements. Only if the Islamists were to threaten their 12 weeks of paid vacation would they be taken seriously by socialist EUnuchs. ....”
The Unthinkable Goodness of America
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 to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Old dead white guys understood well.
Some of your “natural rights are”:
To protect yourself with any means possible.
To protect your family with any means possible.
To protect your property with any means possible.
To protect your ability to independently think.
To protect your food source with any means possible.
To be FREE.........PERIOD!
Of course not.The world is a place full of predators. Humans who want to be free need to secure Human Rights consensually, and then enforce them.One must begin with a tabula rassa. Thats why we have a Constitution and an included Bill of Rights.
This idea of Natural Human Rights is a New World Order idea.An excuse for totalitarian government.It is a favorite meme of liberal fascists, who want to say that we are born with Natural Human Rights, and need do nothing ourselves to secure them, we just hang out and let the nanny state tell us what they are.Any right has to be cosensually agreed upon and then secured.The left wants to ram new rights down our throats and tax us to death in order to apply them to "all." Even to those who have no interest in either defining or securing such rights, who in fact want to destroy the consensual democratic process in order to create Utopia. Its a New World Order Crock of Crap.
“Are There Natural Human Rights? Of course not. ....This idea of Natural Human Rights is a New World Order idea.” ~ Candor7
Talk about “confusion”! Of the first order, too.
Boylan’s arguments are at root, monstrous. For the corollary of his assumptions is that the right to your own life is a state-granted privilege.
We all know how that turns out.
LIFE, LIBERTY, PROPERTY
Property being the fundament of Liberty; Liberty being the basis of Life.
Personally, I like to think of natural rights as "things that will get you into a fight with a bear". Not a bear mauling you to eat you; but things that a bear will fight to the death to defend: His food, his territory, his cave, his life, his freedom. And, in the case of a mama-bear, her cubs.
Except when it come to "health care". Then it's a given.
Are there natural Human rights? No. Bluntly.
Yep, and doing that doesn't work very well.
“because each group: Jews (...) wanted to dominate and set the agenda.”
And for good reasons: it was their own friggin’ city. Medina is an hebrew word meaning “city”. What that “constitution” did was to take it from them.