Does espousal of martyrdom render void one's human rights?

If the fundamental element of humanity (or any living species for that matter, but let’s use human beings for pertinence sake) is to survive and thus, through the passing of time, evolve (so as to ensure future survival of the species in a changing universe); does not the conscious desire to kill one’s self – for any reason, be it religion, delusion, depression, chivalry et al – constitiute a forsaking of one’s rights to be treated as a human being? If the the import of one’s existence is not to survive, is this not the forfeiture of the very essence of what constitutes a human being? (*Pressuming human beings are the quintessence of evolution [in the known universe] given they have the acquired the cognitive ability to further their survival).

That is to say, why do we go to such diplomatic pains to try reason with terrorists and the like (i.e., treat them as equals) when they are effectively renouncing their very own humanity by using themselves as sentient killing vessels? Why do we use a scalpel to excise a wound that’s so ingravescent and incurable the affected area warrants summary amputation?

Ultimately, I’m confounded as to why we must play by ‘our rules’ when these rules are irrelevant and, indeed, oftentimes faciliatory to those we are in confilct with?
NB: To head off the obligatory “what of the ‘innocents’ those with a death wish put in the firing line, if we take such a no holds barred path – how is such a ‘means to an end’ approach politically tenable?” and of course the “are we any better than them if we abandon our own values to combat theirs?” – I’m looking at this purely from the pragmatic, non political or moralistic aspect. From the viewpoint of the survival of a species; a species whose primary goal is to evolve in peace.

Notwithstanding, incidentally, the fact that in the case of terrorism, ‘collateral damage’ is politicized to be glorious if for the cause and justification for the inhumanity in question when a byproduct thereof.

I note that the OP did not stop there, but continued:

So it seems to me that survival of the individual is not the only goal, but survival and even improvement of the species is also a valid goal to the OP.

Given that as a starting point, the idea of martyrdom seems to fit nicely. Martyrdom is the statement that individuals are expendable, if it will enhance the group as a whole. The individual martyr has NOT forsaken his right to be treated as a human being, as the OP thought. Rather, the martyr is doing a very human thing, in his attempt to maintain or improve the group.

From “Les Miserables”; the lyrics to “Red and Black - The ABC Cafe”:
Marius, you’re no longer a child
I do not doubt you mean it well
But now there is a higher call.
Who cares about your lonely soul?
We strive toward a larger goal
Our little lives don’t count at all!

Moved from General Questions to Great Debates.

samclem Moderator

Considering that quite a few people have been martyred for human rights, and wouldn’t have been martyred in the first place except for their opponents disdaining human rights, no.

The very concept of human rights calls for them to be universal. If they are conditional, then they are some other kind of right.