[LMB] OT: Rights

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Sep 29 01:17:04 BST 2013

> From: William A Wenrich wawenri at msn.com

> This is not about politics or at least not about politics of a particular
> time and place. This post is about definition of terms.

> <rant>

Everyone needs a good rant now and then.

> Right, natural rights do not include a requirement on other people that they
> "do" anything just to "refrain" from certain actions. I have a right to
> speak my piece in public. You do not have an obligation to listen or to pay
> me for that speech. 
> I have duties and obligations but they are mine, freely entered into by me.
> They are not yours to impose on me. You do not, by existing, impose any duty
> on me against my will. However, I do recognize certain duties that I choose
> to accept.

My  version is pretty much like yours.

First, everyone has an absolute right to the inside of their own head.
This means that everyone has a right to think and feel whatever they
choose. Nobody can tell you that you must think or believe a certain way. 

But every right brings responsibilities. I can think and believe whatever
I choose, but I accept that everyone else has that right too. And they 
don't all agree with me, and I can't force them to change. I can discuss,
but not insist.

I also have a responsibility to express my thoughts and feelings in a
way that doesn't damage the rights of others. I may prefer, or dislike, 
certain cultural groups, religions, political groups or even physical 
types, but whatever I feel about them I have a responsibility to behave
politely and fairly to them all. 

I have a right to the free speech to express my ideas, but the 
responsibility to do that in ways that don't cause trouble for others, 
I can't incite hatred and violence, I can't abuse people. 

I have a right to live the way I want, but the responsibility to 
be a good citizen (eg I have a right to apply for a drivers licence 
and the responsibility to learn to drive properly and to obey the
road rules and drive safely.)

> There is a lot of talk about positive and negative rights. I disagree with
> most of it. By my definition, neither you nor I have a right to a job,
> house, car, food, medical care, or respect. We do have a right to be allowed
> to try to earn these things without gratuitous interference. Respect like
> all the others must be earned.

Very true - the right to try for all these things brings the responsibility to 
learn and earn, not just expect.

> Oh, a word on tolerance. Toleration does not mean agreement. If I disagree
> with you but, aside from persuasion, do not try to change you, that is
> toleration.

Totally agree - as I said above, everyone has a right to their own thoughts
and ideas. Free discussion is fine and is an important way for society to
grow. Enforcement is not. Everyone has a right to the same freedoms
and opportunities, and the responsibility to respect and accept those
 rights for others.

Gwynne (Love a good rant, I do.)

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