(Excerpted from my post Musing On Rights at Millard’s Blog)
I don’t regard rights. By that I in no way mean that intend to or in fact violate rights, but rather that I think talking about human affairs in terms of rights is an inferior way to deal with human relations.
First, rights presume that resistance already exists to our desires, which we codify into rights, otherwise we wouldn’t need to establish rights at all. The sequence is:
- People do awful shit to other people.
- So, we establish rights to give us a basis from which to argue and/or force those people to stop.
So existentially and logically, rights are the consequences of violations. I think that’s backwards.
Second, Instead of eliminating violations, which would obviate the need for any rights at all, we chose to establish rights, which signals our expectation that violations will continue unless they’re checked, creating the need for rights to check them, which is a backhanded way of resigning ourselves to tolerating violations over the long term. I think that’s defeatist and a cop-out — as if there’s nothing we can do to eliminate violations, so the best we can expect to do is mitigation and damage control.
This article thinks through a bit of the fact that establishing rights is a diversionary move, a kind of misdirect not unlike the fiery visage of the Wizard on the grand stage of Oz projected there because no one would listen to the little guy if he came out from behind the curtain.
Read the rest by clicking here…