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Human rights do not exist

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Torsten Posted: Tue, Nov 3 2009 5:13 AM

Can rights just exist, because human beings exist? Can one put a legal obligation onto others to observe/respect/enforce those rights:

Human rights do not exist.
Human rights are rights that belong to human beings simply by virtue of
being human. A right to X indicates that an individual has, or ought to
have, a legitimate claim to X that obligates other individuals not to
deny the individual X and obligates the government to protect the
individual's possession of X. Given this understanding of rights, to
qualify as a right, a proposed right must meet at least two minimal
conditions. The first is that there actually are other individuals to
be so obligated. The second is that there is an effective government
mechanism for protecting the object of the proposed right. Human beings
may inhabit circumstances or contexts in which either or both
conditions are not met without losing their humanity. In such
circumstances or contexts, it would be inconsistent to claim that such
human beings would continue to possess rights. Since there are
circumstances or contexts in which it does not make sense to claim that
a human being has a right to anything, human rights cannot exist. Human
beings cannot have rights simply by virtue of being human. Rights have
to be founded on an alternative basis.

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/8/2/8/4/p82840_index.html

Any comments or further thoughts

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I'm pretty sure this passage just threw me in the opposite direction and convinced me of natural rights. Saying that rights don't exist because men can be deprived of them is like saying that life doesn't exist because men can be killed.

Life and reality are neither logical nor illogical; they are simply given. But logic is the only tool available to man for the comprehension of both.Ludwig von Mises

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There are a million different reasons for human rights that obey NAP, your quote proves nothing. You also can't have a government if you believe in a humans right to property because in order to exist the government must forcibly take the money of law abiding citizens forcibly, this is theft and should be treated as such
"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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Torsten replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 6:45 AM

Justin Spahr-Summers:

Saying that rights don't exist because men can be deprived of them is like saying that life doesn't exist because men can be killed.

That's not what the text says. The text says that for (the assumed) rights to have any meaningful function other agents/institutions have to be in place.

The Late Andrew Ryan:
There are a million different reasons for human rights that obey NAP, your quote proves nothing.

If there are so many reasons, why not name a few. You are basically claiming what you got to prove.

The Late Andrew Ryan:
You also can't have a government if you believe in a humans right to property because in order to exist the government must forcibly take the money of law abiding citizens forcibly, this is theft and should be treated as such

Property rights only make sense under the following conditions:

  1. You are not the only human on the planet/island. There is a potential that someone else can come into dispute with over the object the property right is claimed for.
  2. There are means or an agency to defend a claim on property.

 

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Torsten:

You are basically claiming what you got to prove.

Yeap, it's also known as a circular proof.  A is A.

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Conza88 replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 6:59 AM

Torsten:
Any comments or further thoughts

Human Rights as Property Rights - Murray Rothbard

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Sieben replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 7:22 AM

Oh ontology. How we enjoy you.

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Angurse replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 8:49 AM

wilderness:
Yeap, it's also known as a circular proof.  A is A.

Yes, a particular species of question-begging, otherwise known to be a fallacy.

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I think it's perfectly okay to say rights don't exist.

 

It just so happens that no one has the right to initiate aggression, form states, etc.

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Angurse:

wilderness:
Yeap, it's also known as a circular proof.  A is A.

Yes, a particular species of question-begging, otherwise known to be a fallacy.

No.  I am referring to the demonstration, not the dialectical 'asking'.

As in Prior Anayltics by Aristotle commented upon by Robin Smith:

"In modern use, the expressions 'arguing in a circle' and 'begging the question' are roughly interchangeable, which may contribute to our own inability to see that these are, for Aristotle, completely different things.  A circular deduction for him is an extended structure of deductions in which each presmise also appears as a conclusion... He tells us, there, that circular proof is just proving that 'when A is, then A is'..."

You misinterpreted what I said.

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Torsten:
Human rights do not exist.

Trying to prove a negative.  Good luck.

Torsten:
1. Human rights are rights that belong to human beings simply by virtue of
being human.

Human rights belong to human beings by definition.

Torsten:
2. A right to X indicates that an individual has, or ought to
have, a legitimate claim to X that obligates other individuals not to
deny the individual X and obligates the government to protect the
individual's possession of X.

Here you are speaking only to claim rights rather than liberty rights.  Claim rights imply an obligation, while liberty rights do not.  The "ought to have" statements is superfluous.  I also think the obligations of government are debatable, just as the existence of government.

Torsten:
3. Given this understanding of rights, to
qualify as a right, a proposed right must meet at least two minimal
conditions.

 These conditions are your presupposition, and have yet to be proven.

Torsten:
3a. The first is that there actually are other individuals to
be so obligated.

The lack of others obligated to recognize a property right does not disqualify the existence of the right.

Torsten:
3b. The second is that there is an effective government
mechanism for protecting the object of the proposed right.

This point is incorrect.  The is no requirement for government to even exist in order to have property rights.

Torsten:
4. Human beings
may inhabit circumstances or contexts in which either or both
conditions are not met without losing their humanity.

 The conditions are flawed.  The fact you state is irrelevant.  Without your conditions, the rights are simply uncontested.

Torsten:
5. In such
circumstances or contexts, it would be inconsistent to claim that such
human beings would continue to possess rights.

First, uncontested rights don't equate to nonexistence of rights.  Second, even if this flawed reasoning were true, you're not able to apply it to the real world because you'd be violating your own preconditions your entire conclusion is based on.

Torsten:
6. Since there are
circumstances or contexts in which it does not make sense to claim that
a human being has a right to anything, human rights cannot exist.

Wrong.  The sky is blue (based on an optical effect).  There are certain conditions which make that statement false - such as night or under overcast conditions.  You can't then simply claim therefore a blue sky cannot exist.

Torsten:
7. Human
beings cannot have rights simply by virtue of being human.

You have not proven this.

Torsten:
8. Rights have
to be founded on an alternative basis.

You have not proven this.

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wilderness:

Angurse:

wilderness:
Yeap, it's also known as a circular proof.  A is A.

Yes, a particular species of question-begging, otherwise known to be a fallacy.

No.  I am referring to the demonstration, not the dialectical 'asking'.

As in Prior Anayltics by Aristotle commented upon by Robin Smith:

"In modern use, the expressions 'arguing in a circle' and 'begging the question' are roughly interchangeable, which may contribute to our own inability to see that these are, for Aristotle, completely different things.  A circular deduction for him is an extended structure of deductions in which each presmise also appears as a conclusion... He tells us, there, that circular proof is just proving that 'when A is, then A is'..."

You misinterpreted what I said.

I think he's thinking of circular reasoning, which has been linked to fallacy, whether correctly or not.  To most, 'A is A' is referred to as the identity axiom.

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K.C. Farmer:

I think he's thinking of circular reasoning, which has been linked to fallacy,

I know what he is talking about.  He distinctly brought up something different than what I was referring to.

K.C. Farmer:

whether correctly or not.

Angurse is correct in that "begging the question" is a fallacy.  I wasn't talking about begging the question though.  It was a simple misunderstanding, no big deal.

K.C. Farmer:

 To most, 'A is A' is referred to as the identity axiom.

yes, that is the identity axiom, but I was specifically discussing the deduction of premises through identity being known also as circular proof "when A is, then A is".

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Torsten replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 10:13 AM

Conza88:

 

Thanks - Human Rights need to be distungished by other forms of rights. Here is the declaration of Human Rights:

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

That human rights don't exist, doesn't mean that the existence of other types of rights isn't possible. To me all forms of rights have to be cultural by there very nature. They are basically a convention people agree (or disagree) on. Property rights are I think I can agree on, although I won't consider them as absolute as some do here.  

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Torsten:

Here is the declaration of Human Rights:

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Not the best source for the basis of human rights.  In fact, some of the articles are a direct attack against liberty.

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Angurse replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 11:34 AM

wilderness:

No.  I am referring to the demonstration, not the dialectical 'asking'.

As in Prior Anayltics by Aristotle commented upon by Robin Smith:

"In modern use, the expressions 'arguing in a circle' and 'begging the question' are roughly interchangeable, which may contribute to our own inability to see that these are, for Aristotle, completely different things.  A circular deduction for him is an extended structure of deductions in which each presmise also appears as a conclusion... He tells us, there, that circular proof is just proving that 'when A is, then A is'..."

You misinterpreted what I said.

Unless you meant a different circular proof, I certainly did misinterpret you. But In Posterior Anaylitics, Aristotle tried to solve the the regress problem by denying the assumptions on which it depends. And re-read what I said (different species are not the same thing). Human rights cannot be proven to exist via A is A, as it completely avoids the question "does A even exist?"

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Torsten:

Justin Spahr-Summers:

Saying that rights don't exist because men can be deprived of them is like saying that life doesn't exist because men can be killed.

 

 

That's not what the text says. The text says that for (the assumed) rights to have any meaningful function other agents/institutions have to be in place.

The Late Andrew Ryan:
There are a million different reasons for human rights that obey NAP, your quote proves nothing.

If there are so many reasons, why not name a few. You are basically claiming what you got to prove.

The Late Andrew Ryan:
You also can't have a government if you believe in a humans right to property because in order to exist the government must forcibly take the money of law abiding citizens forcibly, this is theft and should be treated as such

Property rights only make sense under the following conditions:

  1. You are not the only human on the planet/island. There is a potential that someone else can come into dispute with over the object the property right is claimed for.
  2. There are means or an agency to defend a claim on property.

Well the classical argument for human rights is that it is self evident that people have rights. I find that a little shaky but in the end all answers or explinations always half to come out of self evident assumptions or "because". You could also take stefan molyneux's argument for the universal prefferability of human rights as opposed to a lack thereof. I personally find humans important becuase in a world of chaos and random events there are beings who produce logical actions.

Yes there is a need for an agency to defend rights but this can't exist if it directly contradicts human rights as states do.

"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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Angurse:

wilderness:

You misinterpreted what I said.

Unless you meant a different circular proof, I certainly did misinterpret you.

as I said and quoted - yes "different" (circular proof).

 

good day sir

edit:  I clarified above and erased "circular proof" from my original statement cause I was talking about something different than begging the question, which I haven't ever come across begging the question also having the name circular proof.  I erased the original posting here for clarity's sake and left in parenthesis what was originally present before this edit.

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Saan replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 11:50 AM

Torsten:

Property rights only make sense under the following conditions:

  1. You are not the only human on the planet/island. There is a potential that someone else can come into dispute with over the object the property right is claimed for.
  2. There are means or an agency to defend a claim on property.

1. You, I, Nor anyone else will ever experience isolation from humans.  We are born of our mothers.  This statement is redundant.

2. The means is your body and mind.

Property rights make sense  then.  Your conditions are met.  Next question.  Is your body your property? If it is, do property rights apply to it? If they do can we say those are the first property rights a human enjoys? 

Too many questions to be asked.  Bad proof try again

 

 Criminals, there ought to be a law.

Criminals there ought to be a whole lot more.   Bon Scott.

 

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Juan replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 12:29 PM
Thanks - Human Rights need to be distungished by other forms of rights. Here is the declaration of Human Rights:
The concept of human rights/individual rights/natural rights is libertarian. The social democrats/UN have partially hijacked 'human rights' but that doesn't mean that the original concept is invalid.

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Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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Angurse replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 1:24 PM

wilderness:

good day sir

edit:  I clarified above and erased "circular proof" from my original statement cause I was talking about something different than begging the question, which I haven't ever come across begging the question also having the name circular proof.  I erased the original posting here for clarity's sake and left in parenthesis what was originally present before this edit.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Historians-Fallacies-Toward-Historical-Thought/dp/0061315451

Fischer:
The fallacy of the circular proof is...

pg 49

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ok.  So circular proof has two different meanings.  simply trying to be accurate.  i was hoping you could show me where begging the question and circular proof have been used in the same way.  I knew it had to be since Robin Smith noted how in modern times the two terms have been used "interchangeably", but as he notes Aristotle meant something different and then explains the difference.

thanks

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Angurse replied on Tue, Nov 3 2009 2:15 PM

wilderness:

ok.  So circular proof has two different meanings.  simply trying to be accurate.  i was hoping you could show me where begging the question and circular proof have been used in the same way.  I knew it had to be since Robin Smith noted how in modern times the two terms have been used "interchangeably", but as he notes Aristotle meant something different and then explains the difference.

thanks

No problem. But if you read the book, David Fischer doesn't completely conflate begging-the-question and circular proof, he says that they are related. Which fits well within Prior Analytics and your citation of Robin Smith.

Regardless, in this case [human rights] it's still a fallacy. Stick out tongue

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Angurse:

Regardless, in this case [human rights] it's still a fallacy. Stick out tongue

of course you know i disagree on that point by my taking of an axiom.

as for what you said previously in your post that's interesting Fischer doesn't completely conflate the two.  i think the relation is one of direction.  I'm interpreting begs the question as being dialectical; whereas the circular proof I introduced to this thread is a demonstration.

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Torsten:

Can rights just exist, because human beings exist? Can one put a legal obligation onto others to observe/respect/enforce those rights:

Human rights do not exist.
Human rights are rights that belong to human beings simply by virtue of
being human. A right to X indicates that an individual has, or ought to
have, a legitimate claim to X that obligates other individuals not to
deny the individual X and obligates the government to protect the
individual's possession of X. Given this understanding of rights, to
qualify as a right, a proposed right must meet at least two minimal
conditions. The first is that there actually are other individuals to
be so obligated. The second is that there is an effective government
mechanism for protecting the object of the proposed right. Human beings
may inhabit circumstances or contexts in which either or both
conditions are not met without losing their humanity. In such
circumstances or contexts, it would be inconsistent to claim that such
human beings would continue to possess rights. Since there are
circumstances or contexts in which it does not make sense to claim that
a human being has a right to anything, human rights cannot exist. Human
beings cannot have rights simply by virtue of being human. Rights have
to be founded on an alternative basis.

http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/8/2/8/4/p82840_index.html

Any comments or further thoughts

Concerning this paragraph, I agree with the first statement. Obligations demand more then one party. For how can you be obligated to yourself? That seems like a bizarre thought. However, I disagree with the concept that a governmental institution must be founded in order to protect said rights. Obviously polycentric legal systems have been discussed here ad nauseum, so do we really need to continue into it again?

'Men do not change, they unmask themselves' - Germaine de Stael

 

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Torsten replied on Thu, Dec 10 2009 4:59 AM

Laughing Man:
Concerning this paragraph, I agree with the first statement. Obligations demand more then one party. For how can you be obligated to yourself? That seems like a bizarre thought. However, I disagree with the concept that a governmental institution must be founded in order to protect said rights. Obviously polycentric legal systems have been discussed here ad nauseum, so do we really need to continue into it again?
In that case "polycentric legal systems" would be just governmental institutions by another name. But I agree we should keep the discussions to the relevant threads relating to the issue.

It is obvious that "rights" (and subsequently obligations connected to them) do necessitate agreement between parties or one (or more) party proclaiming and forcing this onto others. Hence universal human rights do not exist by the virtue of just being humans. That's not something people are born with like the instinct to take a breath or urge to eat.

 

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It is logically inferred by human action.

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scineram replied on Thu, Dec 10 2009 10:04 AM

K.C. Farmer:
Trying to prove a negative.  Good luck.

Dogs cannot post here. => You are not a dog.

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Torsten:
Any comments or further thoughts

I'm not convinced that natural rights is tied to ones humanity. A criminal performing restitution does not have the right to property like other people have.

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bloomj31 replied on Thu, Dec 10 2009 11:06 AM

"The second is that there is an effective government mechanism for protecting the object of the proposed right."

I basically agree with this part.  But to me, this doesn't show that human rights don't exist but that they are so important that they must be protected.  Whether by a government agency or a non-government agency. 

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AJ replied on Thu, Dec 10 2009 12:03 PM

Torsten:
Can rights just exist, because human beings exist?

The first question for a notion in contention is always, "Is it well-defined?" Then, once you have a definition, you answer the question based on that. Usually, as with rights, there are multiple definitions.

Long has been kind enough to supply a clarifying trichotomy (paraphrasing):

  • Legal rights: the rights that the law organization or government in power announces it will enforce
  • Normative rights: the rights that should be enforced [however "should" is defined]
  • De facto rights: the rights that actually are enforced
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Juan replied on Thu, Dec 10 2009 1:09 PM
The first question for a notion in contention is always, "Is it well-defined?"
Can you define the word "define" ? Can you define "contention" ? Can you define "notion" Can you define "always" ?

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Torsten:
In that case "polycentric legal systems" would be just governmental institutions by another name. But I agree we should keep the discussions to the relevant threads relating to the issue.

Government is defined as a monopolistic institution that controls legal services in a given geographical local. A polycentric  legal order by its very nature is the opposite of such an institution, therefore it is not 'government.'

Torsten:
It is obvious that "rights" (and subsequently obligations connected to them) do necessitate agreement between parties or one (or more) party proclaiming and forcing this onto others. Hence universal human rights do not exist by the virtue of just being humans. That's not something people are born with like the instinct to take a breath or urge to eat.

Well perhaps you can redefine or define what actually allows us to have rights excluding rational deduction which is find only in human beings.

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Ultimately rights are noninterference agreements.  There is no guaranteed enforcement.  Having a right to your life does not mean you cannot easily be murdered.

Rights are compelling not because the rights fairies will protect you.  It is merely a recognition that although you must shield against the elements, kill pests, run from predators, etc., there is likely one interesting aspect of your environment that gives you a potential alternative to force--people.  With people it is often possible to affect their behavior through agreement.  It is not a guarantee that you can do so.  And if you cannot, they are nothing different than the rest of the world that you must face with force.

"Human rights" is merely the recognition that there are certain values that humans characteristically hold, and therefore certain things (liberties) they characteristically do not want anything, including other people, to negatively interfere with.  Scarcity, biology, mortality, rationality, pain, pleasure, and other facts of human nature help explain many of these things, but ultimately a person can choose to act in a way that reflects just about any ordering of any values.

"Natural rights" in the context of large interacting groups of humans (societies) is just some nonconflicting universally applicable set of human rights.

So, human rights do not exist--unless human values, human choice, human influence on the world, interhuman interactions, and interhuman effective communication exist.  In that case, human rights necessarily exist.

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Angurse replied on Fri, Dec 11 2009 9:45 AM

Laughing Man:
Government is defined as a monopolistic institution that controls legal services in a given geographical local. A polycentric  legal order by its very nature is the opposite of such an institution, therefore it is not 'government.'

Thats a state, government could be any body of power (legitimate or otherwise).

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Angurse replied on Fri, Dec 11 2009 9:54 AM

vikingvista:

"Human rights" is merely the recognition that there are certain values that humans characteristically hold, and therefore certain things (liberties) they characteristically do not want anything, including other people, to negatively interfere with.  Scarcity, biology, mortality, rationality, pain, pleasure, and other facts of human nature help explain many of these things, but ultimately a person can choose to act in a way that reflects just about any ordering of any values.

You've completely conflated the distinctions between rights and liberties. Rights require a bearer of obligation, liberty doesn't.

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Angurse:

vikingvista:

"Human rights" is merely the recognition that there are certain values that humans characteristically hold, and therefore certain things (liberties) they characteristically do not want anything, including other people, to negatively interfere with.  Scarcity, biology, mortality, rationality, pain, pleasure, and other facts of human nature help explain many of these things, but ultimately a person can choose to act in a way that reflects just about any ordering of any values.

You've completely conflated the distinctions between rights and liberties. Rights require a bearer of obligation, liberty doesn't.

 

That's like saying I've conflated the distinction between a giver and a receiver.  I didn't.  

Rights require the unilateral desire for liberties in one entity, as well as the persuasion of one or more other entities who recognize those desires.  Liberties for one party are the self-imposed obligations in another.  Liberties and rights come into existence together defining the two separate human ends of a rights relationship.  The existence of liberties implies the existence of rights, and visa versa, much like the existence of a giver implies the existence of a receiver.  

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Angurse:
Thats a state, government could be any body of power (legitimate or otherwise).

Then everyone is government because everyone in some form has a body of power. You've turned the definition into something so applicable that it is useless.

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Angurse:

vikingvista:

"Human rights" is merely the recognition that there are certain values that humans characteristically hold, and therefore certain things (liberties) they characteristically do not want anything, including other people, to negatively interfere with.  Scarcity, biology, mortality, rationality, pain, pleasure, and other facts of human nature help explain many of these things, but ultimately a person can choose to act in a way that reflects just about any ordering of any values.

You've completely conflated the distinctions between rights and liberties. Rights require a bearer of obligation, liberty doesn't.

Bravo! Finally, people are starting to use terminology that actually makes sense. Every right has a corresponding obligation. Liberties are those elements of the set of actions that are permissible because they do not harm anyone (and of course, the burden of proof is on those who claim harm is being done). Take notice!

"I cannot prove, but am prepared to affirm, that if you take care of clarity in reasoning, most good causes will take care of themselves, while some bad ones are taken care of as a matter of course." -Anthony de Jasay

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Angurse replied on Fri, Dec 11 2009 6:28 PM

Laughing Man:
Then everyone is government because everyone in some form has a body of power. You've turned the definition into something so applicable that it is useless.

I've turned the definition into... the definition, sorry.

"A government is the body within an organization that has authority to make and the power to enforce laws, regulations, or rules."

I don't know whether everyone is within an organisation. (Don't care either way though)

"I am an aristocrat. I love liberty, I hate equality."
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