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  #51  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:07 PM
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I think most modern constitutions protect the rights of non-citizens who arrived legally (and even in some cases illegally). But Japan's doesn't. It's reference to "the people" means Japanese people as the courts have decided.
  #52  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I know you're saying you're not confused by the definition of natural rights, but I kinda think you are. If a right is inalienable, then it makes no sense to ask whether one class of humans has it and another doesn't. That question makes sense if you're talking legal rights, though.
But for the first 80 years of the American Constitution, African-Americans could be bought and sold as chattels. What "inalienable rights" did they have? Saying they had the right to liberty, just couldn't exercise it for their entire lives, doesn't really make sense. It can't be hand-waved away as "Well, they had that inalienable right, it's just the law didn't recognize it. (And in fact treated them as aliťnable chattels.)." The reality is they had no right to liberty at all.


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That's not accurate. Rights may be violated, but still possessed. An inalienable right means that no matter what, the right shouldn't be violated.
That's a normative statement, certainly. Their right to liberty "should" have been recognized, but it wasn't, both before and after the implementation of the US Constitution, and for their entire lifetimes. If someone isn't able to exercise a "right" for their entire lifetime, and in fact are considered to be chattels, not humans of equal status, how can it be said that they have inalienable rights?

If someone is born a slave, died a slave, and is themself "alienated" from time to time on the slave block for money, in what realistic way do they have the "inalienable right to liberty"?

They only got their liberty when they fought for it and ran, or when society worked at tremendous cost in gold and blood to establish their liberty.
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Last edited by Northern Piper; 10-01-2019 at 09:14 PM.
  #53  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I know you're saying you're not confused by the definition of natural rights, but I kinda think you are. If a right is inalienable, then it makes no sense to ask whether one class of humans has it and another doesn't. That question makes sense if you're talking legal rights, though.
A right can only be inalienable under a particular legal code. The right to freedom of speech is inalienable under the US Constitution, and only insofar as the Constitution is recognized and respected. There have, of course, been periods in this nation's history where that has not been the case.

In China, on the other hand, the right to free speech is alienable as fuck.

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That's not accurate. Rights may be violated, but still possessed. An inalienable right means that no matter what, the right shouldn't be violated.
A right that is violated without a way to redress the violation is a right that does not exist. A cop might violate my right to be free from unreasonable search, but I still possess that right because I can (in theory) go to a judge and have him either restore me, or punish the person who violated my right. If there is no such system to address my grievance, then I don't have that right.

Needless to say, I agree that there are rights that everyone should have, and that should never be violated. But I find it slightly obscene to say that someone who is beaten to death by prison guards because he worshiped the wrong way had freedom of religion. No, he didn't. You can tell, because they fucking killed him for it.

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They needn't be a product at all. Rather, they may be a dynamic that arises naturally when sentient entities with desires exist around one another, a way of explaining their relationships.
Like I said, "laws and customs." But the thing is, the dynamics that arise when people with desires exist around each other very, very seldom feature any of the things commonly defined as "natural rights." It usually takes millennia of progress to get to the point where people start thinking things like "freedom of speech" or "freedom of religion" are important. These rights aren't a product of nature, they're a product of civilization.

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Very crudely:
I have desires. I experience those desires as what I "should" do.
I recognize that other beings have desires. I think they have the same experience of "should" as I have.
While I can think of rational arguments for prioritizing my own desires, my own "shoulds," I can't think of convincing arguments for ignoring the "shoulds" of other entities.
Thus, my behavior becomes informed by the desires of others.
Er, thanks, I understand the concept of ethical behavior in a social setting. That's not really related to my issues with the philosophical concept of "natural" rights.
  #54  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:26 PM
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A right can only be inalienable under a particular legal code. The right to freedom of speech is inalienable under the US Constitution, and only insofar as the Constitution is recognized and respected. There have, of course, been periods in this nation's history where that has not been the case.

In China, on the other hand, the right to free speech is alienable as fuck.
This is about legal rights.
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A right that is violated without a way to redress the violation is a right that does not exist. A cop might violate my right to be free from unreasonable search, but I still possess that right because I can (in theory) go to a judge and have him either restore me, or punish the person who violated my right. If there is no such system to address my grievance, then I don't have that right.

Needless to say, I agree that there are rights that everyone should have, and that should never be violated. But I find it slightly obscene to say that someone who is beaten to death by prison guards because he worshiped the wrong way had freedom of religion. No, he didn't. You can tell, because they fucking killed him for it.
We launched paper rockets to begin our study of gravity last year. I asked students to explain how the rockets could go so high. They supposed that maybe the air compressor made gravity not affect the rockets.

What they learned over the unit was that you can't stop gravity from affecting something. You can, however, apply a force that overcomes gravity's downward pull.

It's not obscene to say that someone beaten to death had the right to freedom of religion. That right was violated. Rights don't go away when they're violated, any more than gravity stops affecting a rocket when it's launched.

If that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, then it's nonsensical to say the guards violated his rights. In fact, by your framing, I'm not sure how you could ever say that someone's rights are violated: if we can tell that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, because he got killed for it, then doesn't similar logic mean that nobody ever has a right if that right isn't respected?
  #55  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:28 PM
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That's a normative statement, certainly. Their right to liberty "should" have been recognized, but it wasn't, both before and after the implementation of the US Constitution, and for their entire lifetimes.
This is a real good summary of my position. If you think it's different from my position, you're likely wrong.

A person can go their whole lifetime without having a right be recognized, just like a person can go their whole lifetime without ever knowing they have DNA. Rights aren't useful unless they're recognized, but that doesn't mean they only exist once they're recognized: it just means that, until that point, they're in a state of violation.
  #56  
Old 10-01-2019, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
This is about legal rights.

It's not obscene to say that someone beaten to death had the right to freedom of religion. That right was violated. Rights don't go away when they're violated, any more than gravity stops affecting a rocket when it's launched.

If that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, then it's nonsensical to say the guards violated his rights. In fact, by your framing, I'm not sure how you could ever say that someone's rights are violated: if we can tell that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, because he got killed for it, then doesn't similar logic mean that nobody ever has a right if that right isn't respected?
Interesting post. May I point out that

a. For almost the entire history of humanity, for almost all humans who have ever lived, none of the "legal rights" we are talking about existed or were applied.

b. Different countries that arguably are more free in practice have different forms of "inalienable rights".

Your physics experiment is interesting but...gravity is real. It is not defined by a piece of paper and continues to exist whether or not a piece of paper is amended or reinterpreted.
  #57  
Old 10-01-2019, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
This is about legal rights.
All rights are legal rights.

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We launched paper rockets to begin our study of gravity last year. I asked students to explain how the rockets could go so high. They supposed that maybe the air compressor made gravity not affect the rockets.

What they learned over the unit was that you can't stop gravity from affecting something. You can, however, apply a force that overcomes gravity's downward pull.
Oddly enough, I'd wanted to use a gravity analogy myself, but I thought that conflating natural laws and natural rights might be putting words in my opponents mouths. I'm glad you went there, because this really encapsulates my problem with the concept of natural rights beautifully.

Gravity exists independent of human activity. Nothing humans can do can make gravity stop affecting an object. Even cases where something appears to be defying gravity, such as an airplane, or hot air balloon, relies on gravity to function. And, of course, if there were no such thing as a human, there would still be gravity. When you compare rights to natural laws, you're saying those laws objectively exist.

And that's bullshit. There's no such thing as objective morality. The universe is not moral. Nature is not moral. Morality is something humans invented, which is what makes it so precious.

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If that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, then it's nonsensical to say the guards violated his rights.
If there's no law that says he has that right, then yes, it is nonsensical. In a modern context, there are international laws that say everyone has the right to worship how they want. When a nation ignores those laws, we can say that they've violated those rights.

If you go back to medieval Europe and start talking about someone's freedom of religion, then you are talking nonsense. That right didn't exist then, outside of a few limited contexts.

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In fact, by your framing, I'm not sure how you could ever say that someone's rights are violated: if we can tell that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, because he got killed for it, then doesn't similar logic mean that nobody ever has a right if that right isn't respected?
I provided an explicit example of how someone's rights can be violated in that post. I provided another one just now. Here's a formal definition to cap it off: a right can be violated if there is a law that establishes that right, and someone violates that law.

Look, if I assert that I have a natural right to be free from taxation, what does that mean? How do I demonstrate that this is a natural right, to the satisfaction of the government? How does the government demonstrate that this right does not exist, other than referencing its own system of laws and precedents?

I don't have any problem with the idea that there are rights that all humans should posses. I expect if we compared notes, they'd be pretty much identical to what you call natural rights. My objection is that nature has nothing to do with them - they're human rights. As in, rights for, and from, humans.
  #58  
Old 10-01-2019, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
This is a real good summary of my position. If you think it's different from my position, you're likely wrong.

A person can go their whole lifetime without having a right be recognized, just like a person can go their whole lifetime without ever knowing they have DNA. Rights aren't useful unless they're recognized, but that doesn't mean they only exist once they're recognized: it just means that, until that point, they're in a state of violation.
The key difference is, DNA is still useful even if you don't know what it is.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
This is about legal rights.

We launched paper rockets to begin our study of gravity last year. I asked students to explain how the rockets could go so high. They supposed that maybe the air compressor made gravity not affect the rockets.

What they learned over the unit was that you can't stop gravity from affecting something. You can, however, apply a force that overcomes gravity's downward pull.

It's not obscene to say that someone beaten to death had the right to freedom of religion. That right was violated. Rights don't go away when they're violated, any more than gravity stops affecting a rocket when it's launched.

If that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, then it's nonsensical to say the guards violated his rights. In fact, by your framing, I'm not sure how you could ever say that someone's rights are violated: if we can tell that guy didn't have the right to freedom of religion, because he got killed for it, then doesn't similar logic mean that nobody ever has a right if that right isn't respected?
The truth is that might makes right. Everything else is a useful fiction. This is why Iím so vociferous with my support of free speech. This is why I donít care what flag someone waves. Once you take that hard won power from the person and give it to the people who run the state itís hard to get back.
  #60  
Old 10-02-2019, 06:36 AM
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I don't have any problem with the idea that there are rights that all humans should posses. I expect if we compared notes, they'd be pretty much identical to what you call natural rights. My objection is that nature has nothing to do with them - they're human rights. As in, rights for, and from, humans.
That first sentence--especially the "should" in it--reinforces my understanding that our argument is semantic. The "should" is something that's deduced, not a product of culture. The rights you say humans should possess are legal rights. The "should" comes from the underlying natural rights that arise when sentient, desirous entities interact.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
That first sentence--especially the "should" in it--reinforces my understanding that our argument is semantic. The "should" is something that's deduced, not a product of culture. The rights you say humans should possess are legal rights. The "should" comes from the underlying natural rights that arise when sentient, desirous entities interact.
Well for a majority of humanityís existence and for the majority of humans these so-called rights havenít existed. So the idea that they arise naturally doesnít have strong support.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:57 AM
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Well for a majority of humanityís existence and for the majority of humans these so-called rights havenít existed. So the idea that they arise naturally doesnít have strong support.
And here I thought we had improved.

Though it makes for a great excuse for Trump and his merry band of thugs.
  #63  
Old 10-02-2019, 07:05 AM
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Well for a majority of humanityís existence and for the majority of humans these so-called rights havenít existed. So the idea that they arise naturally doesnít have strong support.
That begs the question. My claim, of course, is that those rights existed, but they just weren't recognized.
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:38 AM
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And here I thought we had improved.

Though it makes for a great excuse for Trump and his merry band of thugs.
We have improved and in many cases are improving. That doesnít mean that vigilance and constant reinforcement of ideals isnít necessary. Speaking of Trump, arenít you glad that the US populace hasnít, yet, ceded to much individual liberty to the state?

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That begs the question. My claim, of course, is that those rights existed, but they just weren't recognized.
But they didnít. And for many people today they donít. Natural rights are like morality derived from religious teachings. They are accepted by many as axiomatic but that doesnít mean that they are a universal truth.

Now, I strongly believe that they are exceedingly important and I think that they should be advocated for even in unpopular cases. Itís in all of our self interests to promote the fiction of strong individual human rights.

To address the OP, I donít think, absent a state of war, that suspension or application of human rights ought to be a function of citizenship or legal status.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:08 AM
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I don't have any problem with the idea that there are rights that all humans should posses. I expect if we compared notes, they'd be pretty much identical to what you call natural rights. My objection is that nature has nothing to do with them - they're human rights. As in, rights for, and from, humans.
To reiterate Left Hand of Dorkness and as I called out earlier, our differences are with terminology and not substance. I'll note that my statement "people have rights because they are people" is substantially similar to your "rights for, and from, humans".

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Then why do we have courts and laws? Why isn't the moral stance "people have rights because they're people" enough? Why do you have a Bill of a Rights,declared to be the supreme law of the land, and enforced by government agencies, notably courts? If the moral stance is all that's needed, why not abolish courts and repeal the Bill of Rights?
Our courts and laws are the mechanisms we use to establish a just society. Our morals are what we use to evaluate how just that society actually is.

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What am I supposed to make of that statement if I don't believe in a Creator?
We have to understand the Declaration of Independence in 18th-century terms. Despite the ignorance of some right-wing Christians, many of the founders were Deists and did not believe in any sort of personified god. Belief or disbelief in any god was not implied by their use of the term "Creator". Rights endowed by a Creator was their rebuttal to kings who claimed divine rights, and then parcelled them out. The founders claimed everyone had rights, not simply those granted to them by a sovereign.

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And that reference to "all men" was just a typo, right? Jefferson meant to say "all men and women, including the black slave that I'm having carnal relations with, are created equal"?
Likewise in an 18th-century context, the word "man" meant a person in general. It has evolved to mean exclusively a male adult.

No one argues that anyone, including the founders, has met the ideals they espoused. That does not diminish their ideals as goals worthy of striving for. When I say "people have rights because they are people" I am not stating a legal fact, I am advocating my moral ideal.

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And I think the bigger peril is forgetting that the rights we have are incredibly fragile, and can be taken away from us from us very, very easily, which is something the concept of "natural rights" elides.
Heh, see that is why I like the terms "inalienable rights" or "inherent rights", because no matter what the current status of the law is, I can advocate that people have more rights. Rights, not based on fragile laws, but rights based on the fact that they are people. Governments might try to deny the personhood of some people, but to me it's self-evidently true that people are in fact people.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
That first sentence--especially the "should" in it--reinforces my understanding that our argument is semantic. The "should" is something that's deduced, not a product of culture. The rights you say humans should possess are legal rights. The "should" comes from the underlying natural rights that arise when sentient, desirous entities interact.
I wouldn't say it's entirely semantic. I have genuine issues with any argument for the existence of my rights that amounts to, essentially, "Because God says so." As an atheist, I need a slightly firmer foundation than that.

Also, I think your last sentence is factually wrong, in that it presupposes that these rights are an inevitable consequence of human society, when they are, at best, a fortunate aberration.

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We have to understand the Declaration of Independence in 18th-century terms. Despite the ignorance of some right-wing Christians, many of the founders were Deists and did not believe in any sort of personified god. Belief or disbelief in any god was not implied by their use of the term "Creator". Rights endowed by a Creator was their rebuttal to kings who claimed divine rights, and then parcelled them out. The founders claimed everyone had rights, not simply those granted to them by a sovereign.
I agree that use of the term "creator" should not be read as an endorsement of any particular religious faith, but it's still pretty explicitly invoking a supernatural source for human rights, which, again, I kinda have a problem with as an atheist.

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Likewise in an 18th-century context, the word "man" meant a person in general. It has evolved to mean exclusively a male adult.
Ha, no. In the 18th century, "man" meant, specifically, "man." It was used as a stand-in for "person in general" because the general mindset of the time disregarded women entirely. Any law written in the 18th century that specifically referred to "men" (such as voting laws) would be interpreted as applying only to men. People who talked about "the rights of men" were specifically and consciously excluding women.

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Heh, see that is why I like the terms "inalienable rights" or "inherent rights", because no matter what the current status of the law is, I can advocate that people have more rights. Rights, not based on fragile laws, but rights based on the fact that they are people. Governments might try to deny the personhood of some people, but to me it's self-evidently true that people are in fact people.
I can say "the concept of natural rights is bullshit," and still advocate that people should have more rights, regardless of the state of the law, so I'm not really seeing the advantage there. Likewise with recognizing people as people.
  #67  
Old 10-02-2019, 12:44 PM
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I wouldn't say it's entirely semantic. I have genuine issues with any argument for the existence of my rights that amounts to, essentially, "Because God says so." As an atheist, I need a slightly firmer foundation than that.

Also, I think your last sentence is factually wrong, in that it presupposes that these rights are an inevitable consequence of human society, when they are, at best, a fortunate aberration.
This is where we're talking past one another. When you both say that you need a stronger foundation than "god", but then you say that the stronger foundation I offered is factually wrong, I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying.

Rights, in my view, exist whether or not they're recognized, in the same way that there can be two planets in a solar system that no sentient being has ever recognized, or in the same way that the number "two" was a good descriptor of those planets long before any sentient being formulated a concept of number.

RECOGNITION of rights, much like recognition of pi, might be a fortunate aberration of culture. But neither rights nor pi are a product of culture.
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Old 10-02-2019, 01:05 PM
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Maybe this is the best way to think about it.

There are, according to our best definition of planets, eight planets in our solar system, right?

But fifty years ago, we had a different definition of planets. Does that mean we actually had a different number of planets?

And fifty million years ago, we didn't have any definition of planets, or any definition of numbers. Were there no planets in our solar system fifty million years ago?

I'd say that, according to our best current understanding of planets, there are eight planets in our solar system now, and fifty years ago, and fifty million years ago. Sure, we didn't recognize those planets fifty million years ago--but based on what we know now, those planets were there even though we didn't recognize them, even though no mathematical system of counting had been invented yet.

Human rights are a way of understanding the "shoulds" of human interaction. Honestly I'm not sure they're the best model. I kinda like preference utilitarianism, and I definitely recognize that I'm an ignoramus in this area. But rights can exist independent of recognition, just like the number of planets existed before there were people around to count them.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 10-02-2019 at 01:06 PM.
  #69  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:08 PM
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This is where we're talking past one another. When you both say that you need a stronger foundation than "god", but then you say that the stronger foundation I offered is factually wrong, I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying.
I don't think that you offered a stronger foundation than, "Because God." I think you offered what is, essentially, a reformulation of that foundation, with an added dollop of objectively disprovable history.

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Rights, in my view, exist whether or not they're recognized, in the same way that there can be two planets in a solar system that no sentient being has ever recognized, or in the same way that the number "two" was a good descriptor of those planets long before any sentient being formulated a concept of number.
I get that. I really do.

I just think its absurd.

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RECOGNITION of rights, much like recognition of pi, might be a fortunate aberration of culture. But neither rights nor pi are a product of culture.
And again, whether or not people understand what pi is, or what planets are, those things continue to function just the same. Rights don't work that way, as you've already admitted.
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Old 10-02-2019, 01:10 PM
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Maybe this is the best way to think about it.
No, that's absolutely the worst way to think about. That way of thinking about it is precisely why I think the concept is rubbish.
  #71  
Old 10-02-2019, 01:20 PM
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I don't think that you offered a stronger foundation than, "Because God." I think you offered what is, essentially, a reformulation of that foundation, with an added dollop of objectively disprovable history.
Okay. If you're somehow getting "because God" from what I'm saying, our communication barrier is impenetrable.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:24 PM
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This is where we're talking past one another. When you both say that you need a stronger foundation than "god", but then you say that the stronger foundation I offered is factually wrong, I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying.

Rights, in my view, exist whether or not they're recognized, in the same way that there can be two planets in a solar system that no sentient being has ever recognized, or in the same way that the number "two" was a good descriptor of those planets long before any sentient being formulated a concept of number.

RECOGNITION of rights, much like recognition of pi, might be a fortunate aberration of culture. But neither rights nor pi are a product of culture.
No. That doesn't make sense. Why don't trees have rights? Why don't worms have rights? Why don't computer programs have rights? Why don't chimpanzees or dolphins have rights? Why won't we have rights if a more powerful alien civilization or a super advanced AI "decides" we don't?

It's because rights are as much of an artificial construct as a can of Cherry Coke. Cherry Coke wasn't some ideal Platonic entity waiting to be brought into existence by the exertions of an inspired humanity. Cherry Coke had to be created and outside of a strictly deterministic universe, or an infinite universe, the creation of Cherry Coke was not guaranteed. It didn't exist until it did.

How long were humans and proto humans around? Out of that million or so years how long has the concept of intrinsic rights been discussed? A few hundred. Out of that few hundred how many years have they been universally applied? 0. For something that exists as a real entity or an unavoidable truth that is a pretty poor ratio of duration. How about global scope? How many folks to this day don't live in a nation that respects and vigorously enforces these so-called intrinsic human rights? Probably a majority of the planet. For something that is an unavoidable truth that is also a pretty poor ratio.

The idea of intrinsic human rights being as you say they are makes as much sense as any of the religions being a real thing just waiting to be discovered.

Now here's the scary thing. Even in a nation like ours even on a so-called educated web site like this the actual, genuine and strong support for the concept of intrinsic human rights is very lacking.
  #73  
Old 10-02-2019, 04:50 PM
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RECOGNITION of rights, much like recognition of pi, might be a fortunate aberration of culture. But neither rights nor pi are a product of culture.
I've tried to stay out of this silliness, but you keep stretching it too far.

Humans do not have intrinsic rights. None. Not of any kind or definition or source.

All rights are cultural. Rights are something new in human societies. They were not there all along waiting for people to recognize them. People invented rights out of whole cloth for their own benefit, and then spent millennia slowly and grudgingly granting them to more and more people in their societies - solely because more and more people gained power and most definitely not because rights were seen as there waiting to be recognized. No two societies today agree on what those rights are, however, any more than two people agreeing on all the tenets of their religions. Moreover, rights are specific to time and place and circumstances: there are probably dozens of reasons why a government or an individual can take the life of a person, and those vary from culture to culture. If the right not to be killed is not a right, then nothing is. I.e., nothing is.

By the it's not "inalienable" rights, it's "unalienable" rights. And that phrase appears not in the Constitution, but in the Declaration of Independence, which has the same legal standing and the same reason for being as a post in the pit. Once you start seeing your rights coming out of a pit rant you lose all possible persuasive power over others.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:28 PM
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And again, whether or not people understand what pi is, or what planets are, those things continue to function just the same. Rights don't work that way, as you've already admitted.
I continue to think you two are arguing over definitions. Left Hand of Dorkness believes that moral rights exist in the platonic sense. They don't do anything on their own, they just exist. If a person exists, that person has rights because the existence of a person implies the existence of rights. There is no genesis of rights; it is impossible to literally create rights (outside of creating a person I suppose). In my opinion this position is non-falsifiable. Neither does this position alone offer any guidance as to which rights should be considered when determining how to act.

The analogy to planets is faulty because planets are material objects. The analogy to numbers is much more appropriate. As Left Hand of Dorkness believes numbers "existed" before humans had developed the concept, so too do rights "exist" even when humans did not (do not) recognize them.

You seem to deny that moral rights exist unless they are established by law or culture. You do not differentiate between moral and legal rights. Society itself creates rights by explicit or implied contracts. Rights themselves can be determined based on evidence, but in my opinion your basic position that rights are established by law and culture is also non-falsifiable. Neither does your basic position offer any guidance as to which rights should be considered when determining how the law or culture should be.

I suspect both of you agree on the actual calculus as to which rights should be given consideration, but disagree about the point at which such a calculation should be made. For Left Hand of Dorkness I think the decision comes before every act, and for you i think it comes when writing the law or shaping culture.

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Old 10-02-2019, 06:04 PM
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Left Hand of Dorkness believes that moral rights exist in the platonic sense.
He does, but he's wrong. That's not a matter of definition.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:24 PM
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He does, but he's wrong. That's not a matter of definition.
And yet nothing that anyone has said addresses my point. The best attempts seem to be attempts to prove that legal rights canít be ascertained by deduction, which has nothing to do with what I am saying. Other attempts just call the concept names, which is also not particularly persuasive.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:26 PM
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And yet nothing that anyone has said addresses my point. The best attempts seem to be attempts to prove that legal rights canít be ascertained by deduction, which has nothing to do with what I am saying. Other attempts just call the concept names, which is also not particularly persuasive.
That seems like an unfairly reductive summary of the conversation.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:39 PM
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I'm not always gonna reference Wikipedia, but in this case, the article section Natural versus legal rights may help clarify the conversation.
Do you believe in natural rights, by any name, yes or no?
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:45 PM
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And yet nothing that anyone has said addresses my point. The best attempts seem to be attempts to prove that legal rights canít be ascertained by deduction, which has nothing to do with what I am saying. Other attempts just call the concept names, which is also not particularly persuasive.
Why is your favored set of axioms real and other sets favored by other people not real? Thatís a pretty egocentric view of the fundamental nature of the universe isnít it?
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:59 PM
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That seems like an unfairly reductive summary of the conversation.
I think it's pretty fair, actually.

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Do you believe in natural rights, by any name, yes or no?
How is this even a question? Have you not read my posts in this thread? As for your earlier post, it's just nonsense, and not worth addressing.

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Why is your favored set of axioms real and other sets favored by other people not real? That’s a pretty egocentric view of the fundamental nature of the universe isn’t it?
This is a dumb question. I believe the principles--not axioms, principles--I believe because I think they're most logically consistent and consistent with the world I perceive. That's not egocentric, that's how everyone operates.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 10-02-2019 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:03 PM
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I think it's pretty fair, actually.

How is this even a question? Have you not read my posts in this thread? As for your earlier post, it's just nonsense, and not worth addressing.

This is a dumb question. I believe the principles--not axioms, principles--I believe because I think they're most logically consistent and consistent with the world I perceive. That's not egocentric, that's how everyone operates.
They absolutely are axiomatic.
  #82  
Old 10-02-2019, 07:14 PM
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They absolutely are axiomatic.
Duh, okay.

I think I'm done. It's one thing to debate concepts of natural rights vs. legal rights, and to discuss whether objective morality is feasible. It's quite another to attempt to defend a millennia-old philosophical tradition against repeated misrepresentations and absurd dismissals. I'm not seeing the fun in that.
  #83  
Old 10-02-2019, 07:29 PM
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Duh, okay.

I think I'm done. It's one thing to debate concepts of natural rights vs. legal rights, and to discuss whether objective morality is feasible. It's quite another to attempt to defend a millennia-old philosophical tradition against repeated misrepresentations and absurd dismissals. I'm not seeing the fun in that.
Imagine how we feel when one person repeatedly spouts absolute nonsense about the world in the face of every other person telling him that he is wrong in everything he's saying, yet insisting that we're the ones who somehow don't understand the issue?

BTW, all "millennia-old philosophical traditions" are quite likely absolute nonsense.
  #84  
Old 10-02-2019, 07:38 PM
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Do you believe in natural rights, by any name, yes or no?
I certainly believe in natural rights, or human rights. They can be violated, but that doesn't render them out of existence. It seems like sophistry, but in how we construct our legal system and our construction of self governance, I think the distinction matters. Of course there is not perfect overlap between the two.

The legal vs philosophical is further compounded in that our legal system recognizes the existence of these natural rights - rights that are not derived from or granted by the Constitution. So even if natural rights are not legal rights, our system of laws recognizes the existence of natural rights. What that means is that even if you are not a subscriber to natural rights theory, it is a fact that our legal system operates that way.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:09 PM
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The legal vs philosophical is further compounded in that our legal system recognizes the existence of these natural rights - rights that are not derived from or granted by the Constitution. So even if natural rights are not legal rights, our system of laws recognizes the existence of natural rights. What that means is that even if you are not a subscriber to natural rights theory, it is a fact that our legal system operates that way.
Can you give examples of these natural rights? Can you then explain in what way they are natural rights rather than rights we've decided on ourselves?
  #86  
Old 10-02-2019, 08:18 PM
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Can you give examples of these natural rights? Can you then explain in what way they are natural rights rather than rights we've decided on ourselves?
The Supreme Court has held that the right to arms predates the Constitution and does not rely on that document for its existence.
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Old 10-02-2019, 08:32 PM
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Can you give examples of these natural rights? Can you then explain in what way they are natural rights rather than rights we've decided on ourselves?
Iím not sure if the concept of moral axioms being fundamental and unprovable is widely understood.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:00 PM
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The Supreme Court has held that the right to arms predates the Constitution and does not rely on that document for its existence.
This does not address how these are somehow natural rights rather than rights somebody decided upon that got adopted into our system.

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Iím not sure if the concept of moral axioms being fundamental and unprovable is widely understood.
If you are saying that moral axioms are the equivalent of religious beliefs then I certainly agree with you.

Equally certainly there are those who believe that the right to arms exists because it is God-given.

But I thought that "because God" had been explicitly abjured in this thread. If that's the fallback position, then it is folly to argue the existence of natural rights on a rational basis. I'm of the opinion that Left Hand of Dorkness was indeed making a case that was the equivalent of a religious belief. I'm curious whether you, Bone, have a different argument you want to put forward.
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:21 PM
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This does not address how these are somehow natural rights rather than rights somebody decided upon that got adopted into our system.
True. I don't find that an interesting line of discussion until there is agreement that natural rights are a part of our legal system.


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But I thought that "because God" had been explicitly abjured in this thread. If that's the fallback position, then it is folly to argue the existence of natural rights on a rational basis. I'm of the opinion that Left Hand of Dorkness was indeed making a case that was the equivalent of a religious belief. I'm curious whether you, Bone, have a different argument you want to put forward.
I'm not advancing an argument so much as I'm stating my belief, and identifying a fact of our legal jurisprudence. I'm not religious, so I'd never argue from a position of religious teachings.
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:43 AM
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a fact of our legal jurisprudence
Some think natural rights are a fiction of our legal jurisprudence. Whether or not natural rights existed prior to the common law of England in the eighteenth century (or any arbitrary time) is not a question of fact, because the existence of natural rights is itself not a question of fact, because natural rights are an abstract concept and the existence of an abstract concept is not a factual question, especially when asking if an abstract concept existed before we have evidence that people articulated it.

~Max
  #91  
Old 10-03-2019, 10:16 AM
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True. I don't find that an interesting line of discussion until there is agreement that natural rights are a part of our legal system.
What about agreement that the US Supreme Court has decided that certain things are "natural rights" for a subset of American citizens and that decision has been reflected in our legal system?
  #92  
Old 10-03-2019, 10:27 AM
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TI'm not advancing an argument so much as I'm stating my belief, and identifying a fact of our legal jurisprudence. I'm not religious, so I'd never argue from a position of religious teachings.
Good. I am in fact asking you to identify where natural rights come from using a purely rational basis, without any recourse to religion or metaphysics. It's trivially true that people claim that part of our legal system is based on natural rights. That makes the question of the origin of those rights of supreme importance.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:39 AM
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Interesting that some find that possessing a man-made object is a natural right. Actually more sad than interesting. The most important right someone can think of is the ability to kill other humans.

We like to think that there are universal rights but it's clear that there aren't any. Some people have no rights at all, say in the depths of third world countries run by warlords. Even modern countries with booming economies can have precious few human rights- in China nobody has unlimited right to free speech. It might be interesting to compare lists of rights that you think should be (but aren't always) universal. My list would include free speech, free religion, freedom to be educated, freedom to work.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:27 AM
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True. I don't find that an interesting line of discussion until there is agreement that natural rights are a part of our legal system.
I think that's missing a large part of the disagreement, here. Certainly, many people responsible for crafting laws have bought into the concept of "natural" rights, and have written laws reflecting that assumption, but that's not evidence that they are correct in their assumptions. I can recognize that the legal system of Saudi Arabia is based in an assumption of the objective correctness of the Quran without personally believing in Allah.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:32 AM
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Good. I am in fact asking you to identify where natural rights come from using a purely rational basis, without any recourse to religion or metaphysics. It's trivially true that people claim that part of our legal system is based on natural rights. That makes the question of the origin of those rights of supreme importance.
In my view, the question about the origin of natural rights is interesting, but from a legal point of view, not very important. I doubt I could lay out a more persuasive argument than the great philosophers over the centuries.

Earlier there was a link to the natural vs. legal wiki. Here is one that talks about the history of natural rights. The idea is pretty old. Natural rights are integrated into the founding of the country and are fundamental to our sense of ordered liberty. There is no answer to the question about the origin that would change that.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:53 AM
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In my view, the question about the origin of natural rights is interesting, but from a legal point of view, not very important. I doubt I could lay out a more persuasive argument than the great philosophers over the centuries.

Earlier there was a link to the natural vs. legal wiki. Here is one that talks about the history of natural rights. The idea is pretty old. Natural rights are integrated into the founding of the country and are fundamental to our sense of ordered liberty. There is no answer to the question about the origin that would change that.
The founding of the US and the charter of the current government are based on the concept of intrinsic human rights. Even with that being factual it is still very difficult to get even educated members of this country to buy into the concept of intrinsic human rights when it’s politically, socially or ideologically inconvenient.

Which is why if people value so-called freedom they need to work to promote freedom for all. To do otherwise is exceedingly illiberal in the classical sense of the word.

Last edited by octopus; 10-03-2019 at 11:53 AM.
  #97  
Old 10-03-2019, 12:04 PM
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In my view, the question about the origin of natural rights is interesting, but from a legal point of view, not very important. I doubt I could lay out a more persuasive argument than the great philosophers over the centuries.

Earlier there was a link to the natural vs. legal wiki. Here is one that talks about the history of natural rights. The idea is pretty old. Natural rights are integrated into the founding of the country and are fundamental to our sense of ordered liberty. There is no answer to the question about the origin that would change that.
You do understand that despite your claim of not being religious, this answer is in no way different from claiming that rights are God-given or that the U.S. is a Christian country, don't you? You are stating a belief in a mystical concept and then insisting that because the concept has been around for a long time, it doesn't need any rationalization, even though its history emerges almost entirely from Christian thinking. It is a moral axiom that not only needs no defense but cannot have one, nor can it be argued with, falsified, or unseated.

The problem with moral axioms is that they are equivalent to "The right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." Your moral axioms have no right to impinge on my reality. Rights are not found in the ether and then recognized by enlightened mystics. As I said earlier, the origin of what your claim are natural rights is the supreme issue. If that origin has no validity, then neither do the rights.

That some courts have found them to be legal is obfuscation. Courts get overturned every day. And many of those decisions involved rights that were once thought of as absolute. Ask Christians about gay marriage. Are gay rights natural? Are Christian beliefs natural rights? Were gay rights out there in LHoD's unseen spirit world until people wisely at long last recognized they had been there all along? Or were they man-made constructs that violate the natural order of things? You cannot possibly dismiss the origin of rights as inconsequential any more than creationists can dismiss the origin of species as meaningless.
  #98  
Old 10-03-2019, 12:08 PM
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Were gay rights out there in LHoD's unseen spirit world
I honestly can't tell if you're deliberately misrepresenting what I said, or just really really don't understand post 49. Whether it's deliberate or not affects whether I'm irritated or pitying. In any case, "unseen spirit world" is a profoundly misguided misrepresentation of what I've written.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:12 PM
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You do understand that despite your claim of not being religious, this answer is in no way different from claiming that rights are God-given or that the U.S. is a Christian country, don't you? You are stating a belief in a mystical concept and then insisting that because the concept has been around for a long time, it doesn't need any rationalization, even though its history emerges almost entirely from Christian thinking. It is a moral axiom that not only needs no defense but cannot have one, nor can it be argued with, falsified, or unseated.

The problem with moral axioms is that they are equivalent to "The right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." Your moral axioms have no right to impinge on my reality. Rights are not found in the ether and then recognized by enlightened mystics. As I said earlier, the origin of what your claim are natural rights is the supreme issue. If that origin has no validity, then neither do the rights.

That some courts have found them to be legal is obfuscation. Courts get overturned every day. And many of those decisions involved rights that were once thought of as absolute. Ask Christians about gay marriage. Are gay rights natural? Are Christian beliefs natural rights? Were gay rights out there in LHoD's unseen spirit world until people wisely at long last recognized they had been there all along? Or were they man-made constructs that violate the natural order of things? You cannot possibly dismiss the origin of rights as inconsequential any more than creationists can dismiss the origin of species as meaningless.
Even being axiomatic you ought to, out of the sense of self interest of not just yourself but of your family, insist that they be accepted on faith and with some reason as true. The reason being that having a set of axiomatic rights form the basis of a government , philosophy, social mores, and legal code leads to a more pleasant outcome for each individual.

On a personal note, this is why I argue for what I argue for. Things that negatively impact fundamental rights to guarantee politically desirable outcomes often have nasty 2nd and 3rd order effects. Thatís why the debates on things like being forced to bake a cake are so interesting.
  #100  
Old 10-03-2019, 12:20 PM
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I honestly can't tell if you're deliberately misrepresenting what I said, or just really really don't understand post 49. Whether it's deliberate or not affects whether I'm irritated or pitying. In any case, "unseen spirit world" is a profoundly misguided misrepresentation of what I've written.
If theyíve always existed then they have had to exist somewhere. Humans didnít always exist. Not with our usual definition of linear and non permanent time. So what contained these natural rights? Thatís why references to Plato were made earlier.

Really, the only right that actually exists is might.
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