Shouldn't Laws Protect Rights and Grant Privileges?

Sep 03, 2021 at 09:00 am by robmtchl


Rights and privileges are determined by the societies that embody and enforce them.

Separate from that is whether there are moral or ethical rights.

See, the way I think of it is this:

If I have a right to health care or food, just because I’m a human being, then it should be provided for me whether I do anything to get it or not. However, if I stand outside all hungry and say, “Hey! I have a right to some food and medical care!” – nothing happens. And if, somehow, these things are provided, they are at the expense of someone else’s right to enjoy the fruits of their own labor.

Can Nature Take Away People's Rights?

Some people live where there is no food, or no clean water. If they are due these things, others must provide them. How can this be done without taking away rights from the providers of such things?

Even if there is a famine and everyone is starving, I can go outside and yell, “I have a right to do my darndest to grow some food!” – and I do. I believe I have the right to try to live the best way that I can. I think, though, that if food is provided to me because I ask for it, then it is somehow more of a privilege, because other people are giving it to me out of the goodness of their hearts. I can’t claim their food as a right. If something has the status of a “right”, then no entity can legally prevent a person from enjoying that right.

But people can, and do, legally take away rights every day in the U.S.

A prisoner does not have the right to liberty (and usually not the pursuit of happiness), and may not even have the right to life, depending upon how bad the crime is. It would seem that if they can be legally taken away, they are more like privileges than rights.

What is a declared right?

In the original draft (not the final edited version) of the US Declaration of Independence is this:

"We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness."

The original language explains intent.

The actual Right as written to be comprehended is the following:

We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the "preservation of... Life & preservation of liberty & preservation of the pursuit of happiness."

Who grants Rights? 

I think the belief from our founders is clear. The terms "sacred and undeniable" and "created equal and independent" indicates a belief these Rights reside within our immortal spirit. Others may believe otherwise. 

In Canada, for instance, they seem to believe that universal health care is a right. Was good health or access to a hospital breathed into us by the Almighty at creation? Did Adam and Eve have a voter's registration card? Were they granted a "living wage" with that breath of life? Is it a matter of legislation? Shouldn't laws protect Rights and Grant Privileges

In this culture, our written laws grant us the right to live as free people, the right to pursue happiness. They do not grant us the rights to food or health care, which I think ethically societies should grant.

Sections: Opinion


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