Of rights and wrongs 1

Questions about rights – what they are, who or what grants them, how they may be upheld – are not and cannot be settled. They’re continually subject to debate in our culture.

Everyone’s right to life is quite widely accepted – though not by Communists and Muslims, and only provisionally by French philosophers and American Democrats. A right to liberty has been acknowledged increasingly by most governments – not yet all – over the last couple of hundred years. But other proclaimed rights continue to be passionately demanded and challenged: Does everyone have a right to medical treatment, to education, to housing? Do we have a right not to be offended? If these are rights, how might they be protected?

Rights are things that can be possessed. Individuals own them.

Wrongs are things that people do, or have done to them.

What it is wrong to do was settled for civilized peoples thousands of years ago: it is wrong to kill, to harm, to steal, to lie.

But unsettled questions linger about wrong-doing:

How can wrong-doing be assessed? How should it be dealt with? By whom?

Are some killings not wrong? Is it not wrong to kill in war, in self-defense, in the execution of justice?

And to acknowledge certain (uncivilized) schools of thought we note that it is not wrong according to Communists for a leader to kill individuals for the benefit of the community; not wrong according to Islam for Muslims to kill non-Muslims or their own children; not wrong according to certain French philosophers to kill for the erotic excitement of killing; not wrong according to certain American Democrats to kill an elected president.

Posted under communism, Islam, jihad, liberty, Muslims, Philosophy, Slavery, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Friday, May 29, 2020

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