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What is a right?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Willamena, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    What is a "right"? What does it mean to you to have one.

    Are those things rights? What does it mean for them to be rights?
     
  2. Badran

    Badran Veteran Member
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    Rights to me are something that we collectively as humans (or sometimes as separate societies) decided that they are crucial and basic enough so as to warrant our support for it for everyone, based on our perception of it as an essential part to achieving our collective different ideas of a decent life.

    The things quoted are indeed in my view some of the things that we collectively decided upon to be basic needs for people to achieve any form of happiness in their lives. How we've came to these conclusions regarding such things and others is from our impression and reasoning based upon history and our collective knowledge through experiences.
     
    #2 Badran, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
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  3. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    Rights are freedoms we allow ourselves and others to have until they become a nuisance.
     
  4. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Rights??? You mean as opposed to a left? :D :D :D

    Rights are those things that people die over but often don't understand. Rights are options and not guarantees. I have the right to happiness, but I may never achieve it. I have the right to live, but I can do any number of things to end it pretty quickly. I am free, but I can become a slave to many, many things.

    It's my choice. When you take away my choice, you have violated my rights. You don't have the right to violate my rights.
     
  5. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    Yeah, that!
     
  6. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    An entitlement bestowed by society.
     
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  7. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    As others have mentioned, when we talk about "rights" we are usually referring to social contracts. These contracts may or may not be legally binding; they may also simply be cultural norms. Given it's not an immutable law of reality or the universe, any such social contracts can be broken. I do not tend to like rights language for that reason. The only true rights boil down to ability, power, and will. If you have the ability, power, and will to do something, you have every right to do it. You may or may not like how the social contracts of your culture praise or punish you for exercising your will, however.
     
  8. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    [
    [/quote]

    Society can only bestow privileges. A right is something that is yours just for drawing breath. (Look up inalienable)
     
  9. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    In that case, they don't exist. :yes:
     
  10. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    What about the "right" to die? By being born you are guaranteed to die someday.
     
  11. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    Doesn't seem like it fits the "feeling" of a right. Just like saying "water has the right to run downhill."
     
  12. CaptainXeroid

    CaptainXeroid Following Christ

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    I think this sums it up nicely for me.

    "...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..."
     
  13. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    If they were unalienable, governments would not be necessary to secure them.
     
  14. Mr Spinkles

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    Well done. :clap
     
  15. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Really?
    Perhaps it would be prudent to draw fair distinctions between "rights" of humanity/existence versus Legal (criminality)and civil rights?

    There is an assertion of affirmation found within the "Declaration of Independence", that says:

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    One might argue that these rights outlined above are purposely vague at best, and left to those that follow to more accurately define in socially defined terms of criminal and civil statutes/laws.

    Most "rights" (whether ordained or designed) are rarely absolute, nor was it the intent of those engaged in crafting that language that they should be understood/interpreted as such...

    ...and most of our established parameters of enforceable laws today consider that no "rights" are beyond refutation as absolute in application.

    That said, the quotable proclamation as worded above does establish the fundamental ideals from which all other defined "rights" are to be established and followed/enforced within a collective society.

    If my personal "Pursuit of Happiness" impinges upon or denies another of my neighbors or fellow citizens in their own pursuits of same, it serves to violate the primary notion that "all men are created equal". In essence, your rights are as equal to mine, until your exercise of those rights deny me of my own.

    If it makes you happy to punch me in the face, your "right" to do so ends at the most extended part of my proboscis...as your act would violate my own equal right not to be made unhappy by a punch in the face.

    In the end. "rights" are not ordained nor lent to us by any divine authority...they are "created" and defined by the society that philosophically determines the distinctions of "right and wrong", be they moral, ethical, logical, or spiritual in foundation
     
  16. Aileefaria

    Aileefaria New Member

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    You die pretty quickly without food. Do we have a “right” to food in America? What about shelter? Do we have a “right” to housing? And if we do have a right to housing, what standard of housing do we have a right to? And if it is a right, due to all Americans, wouldn’t that mean that no one should have to accept any housing, or health care, which is inferior to anyone else’s… since it’s a right?
     
  17. Sir Doom

    Sir Doom Cooler than most of you

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    Although it is a great document, the Declaration of Independence remains about as legal as The Lord of the Rings (with some extremely rare exceptions). It doesn't guarantee anything to anyone. It's little more than a flippant dismissal of the English crown painted with some fabulous wording. Well-deserved or not. It provides a glimpse at the mindset of the colonial Americans before they revolted, but really doesn't mean much to modern society and the rights of citizens.

    The Constitution is really the place to look for our rights as citizens of the US (if indeed you happen to be one). This document binds our government from trampling our rights with the very power we've given them. It assures that certain things will always remain legal and acceptable no matter how unsafe or insane they may seem in any given situation.

    Rights are the things we expect to have and expect everyone to give us because we give them back to everyone else as well. Of course this is just an expectation, and nothing can ever truly be guaranteed. At least we have it in writing though.
     
  18. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Thanks for sharing.
     
  19. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Society can only bestow privileges. A right is something that is yours just for drawing breath. (Look up inalienable)[/quote]
    really?
    Please be so kind as to list some of these alleged "inalienable" rights.
     
  20. s2a

    s2a Heretic and part-time (skinny) Santa impersonator

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    Really?
    Indeed so, and you are correct in illustrating your point as you did...

    I referenced The Declaration of Independence specifically because fundamentalists seek to exploit it's text as supplicate in overriding concern to our very own Constitution.

    What most uniformed yet exceptionally outspoken "defenders" of Constitutional
    "rights" often fail to acknowledge or even accurately represent...is the fact that our rights are established and codified by the US Constitution, and not within that declaration, which was really no more than a middle finger pointed and jabbed into the eye of the British monarchy of the day.

    Within that structure of the Constitution as initially codified and established by the original 13 colonies, resides the most exceptional and freethinking codicil of all... that "We the People" may choose, under exceptional and difficult processes, "amend" that founding Constitution to enumerate and establish further rights and protections as if they were written into the very Constitution itself at it's inception.

    Odd that today many do not fully appreciate that the "Bill of Rights" were in fact "amendments" to our Constitution, and not a part of it's original draft. "Originalists" have it tough, claiming sanctity of 2nd amendment "rights", which in reality, were NOT a part of the original draft of the Constitution, yet they battle daily in opposition to equally valid aspects of Constitutional amendments that trouble them, or at least retain absolutist objections as -ironically enough- "unconstitutional", which best serves to highlight their ignorance more than their appreciation for either history or grasp of what the Constitution actually articulates in and of and for itself.

    "Rights" are established, enforced, outlined, and defined by those that choose what they may as applied to all.

    When the US Constitution was initially ratified; black people were deemed 3/5 of a person quantified as property; women were chattel of marriage with no right to vote. Constitutional "amendments" were the instrument of change in both instances.

    Just to be emphatic and clear, again...."We the People" rightly choose and define what "rights" are, and should be... and if some deity wants a say in that process, show up in a polling booth and be counted :)
     
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