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View Diary: The Constitution as Catch-22 (30 comments)

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  •  Interesting discussion (5+ / 0-)

    I believe that "rights" come about because they are a reproducible result.   In other words, when you place separate people into certain situations, the majority of them will arrive, independently, at certain conclusions.    If people are locked up, and feel they have not done anything wrong, for instance, they will form the thought, "There should be a fair, objective and reproducible way to decide who has done something wrong and deserves to be locked up", which evolves into a "right to a fair trial".    

    I also believe that our ideas of "rights" come from our instinctive social nature, and a certain activity that occurs in our brain called "empathy" in which our brain seeks to emulate what it guesses that another person's brain is doing, when it perceives a person in a particular situation.  

    These forces, our social nature and our empathy, are in a tension with other forces, such our tendency to be dominant, and our tendency to be territorial, and certain instinctive tendencies to "cull the herd" and reject what is different.  And, so we get social issues like "slavery" derived from our nature to dominate and the rejection of what appears different, in tension with social issues like "civil rights" -- derived from our social nature and empathy.  

    From another perspective, there is an interesting free online essay called The Myth of the Right To Life that looks at rights from a slightly different perspective, by asserting that a "right" is actually an obligation on another person.    For instance, in order for you to have a "right" to shelter or health care, that places an obligation on others to provide you with shelter or healthcare.   Other people have to gather resources and then give them to you.    For that reason, I observe that our rights tend to be delineated more in terms of a more passive granting of rights, such as a right to "free speech" or to "bear arms".  These rights only demand of others that they do not interfere in your actions, but does not place an obligation on others to give you anything.

    We are not so entirely comfortable with the type of right that requires one individual to transfer wealth to another, that we would often delineate such rights in our Constitution.  

    It is an interesting subject.   Thank you for the diary.

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