Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

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Logicnotpassion
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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Logicnotpassion » October 27th, 2017, 4:57 pm

Hello everyone,

This Universal Declaration has been occupying my mind for years now. Working in the field of Human Rights in several countries, I'm torn by the fact that I do not doubt the truth of these values, to me they are indeed universal i.e they can be applied anywhere, and the world would effectively work better and be fairer if they there applied. But at the same time, only a tiny minority of the world population actually agrees with these values, even in the countries that drafted it.

Article by article, it could be demonstrated that the declaration is in contradiction with the very laws of nations. Examples: Article 1, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". No need to go to Africa or the Middle East either. England has a Queen, who is not born with the same rights as any commoner. Of course, in other continents, the disagreement between the Declaration and local laws & culture grows deepers and deeper. The enlightenment may be dwindling.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Belindi » October 28th, 2017, 10:53 am

Logicnotpassion wrote:Hello everyone,

This Universal Declaration has been occupying my mind for years now. Working in the field of Human Rights in several countries, I'm torn by the fact that I do not doubt the truth of these values, to me they are indeed universal i.e they can be applied anywhere, and the world would effectively work better and be fairer if they there applied. But at the same time, only a tiny minority of the world population actually agrees with these values, even in the countries that drafted it.

Article by article, it could be demonstrated that the declaration is in contradiction with the very laws of nations. Examples: Article 1, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". No need to go to Africa or the Middle East either. England has a Queen, who is not born with the same rights as any commoner. Of course, in other continents, the disagreement between the Declaration and local laws & culture grows deepers and deeper. The enlightenment may be dwindling.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an ethical standard not a description of what is going on. As an ethical standard the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is religiously neutral, and takes the place of failing religions. I think that you and I agree that people of goodwill agree with the ethics set forth.

You point about the Queen ( and the old English aristocracy) is a good one . Many people in the UK think that the monarchy is no use any more. (I happen to like the monarchy and the Queen especially as she is professional and sincere.) The Queen was not born a queen but rules only with the consent of her subjects. The ruling elite is not represented by the Queen, and governments need to be carefully monitored. Why are the governments of the UK and of the USA in the hands of very rich people? There are too many too rich persons. It is up to free people to ensure that enlightenment values and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights don't fail, and this is our cross, if you like.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Logicnotpassion » October 29th, 2017, 8:08 am

I like Lizzie too, it's not the point. My daughter is not born with the right to become Queen of England, therefore some are "more equal than others", not just in wealth but in the established law of the land.

You say "The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an ethical standard not a description of what is going on." This could be said of all principles. It's not the point either. The point is that this is only a RELATIVE ethical standard, or even: it's no standard at all, because everybody doesn't agree even with all of it. It's supposed to be just a compass showing the direction in which humanity ought to go. But not everybody agrees with this direction. Not by a huge margin.

I used to think that those who disagreed with what you call "ethical standards" were just that: a margin. Now I know that it's just the opposite: it's a majority of humankind who disagrees with it, and only a small minority who actually believes in and agrees with it.

In entire regions of the globe, people profoundly disagree that all men are created equal in dignity and in rights regardless of gender, skin or religion. Many profoundly disagree with article 16 (see above if you don't know what it says). It hurts their deepest beliefs. In Egypt, if you're arrested for DUI, you don't get the same fine whether you're a Christian or a Muslim. Not because the police officer is racist (probably), but because of the textbook of the law. A law that, as a society, Egyptians chose for themselves.

There are several issues with your endline "It is up to free people to ensure that enlightenment values and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights don't fail, and this is our cross, if you like". Defining "free people": who are they? The happy few, the educated Westerners who happen to share the belief of the UDHR? You can be free and completely disagree with it, and that is freedom of opinion. What you call "Enlightenment" is considered dangerously subversive and destructive in some parts of the world. Who will tell them they're wrong?

I hear your Kiplingesque ending: this is our cross. But if it is so, you must agree that "we" are a tiny minority, going against majority will, cultures, sensibilities, reason and rhyme. In today's words, Kipling would have phrased his sentence differently, he would have said "Educated man's burden", which would have been a synonym in 1890. The thing is, I'm not even sure any more that it's about who's educated and who's not. There are very educated men whose sensibility goes in the absolute opposite direction of the so-called "Universal" declaration of Human Rights.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Belindi » October 29th, 2017, 3:18 pm

Logicnotpassion, I don't deny that there is a major class of cultures. I know which side I am on, and hope I have the courage of my convictions.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Spectrum » October 29th, 2017, 10:28 pm

Belindi wrote:Does the question refer to natural human rights, or to man-made human rights, or to God-given human rights?

There are no natural rights, and the God-authority does not exist. Man-made human rights have to be guarded very carefully against depredation by sociopaths.
There are no god-given human rights but there are inherent 'natural rights' which can be abstracted from human existence and existence of all living things. These basic human rights are grounded on the following;
  • Generally,
    1. No 'species' [abstracted] emerged to die immediately
    2. Thus the 'purpose' of the human species is its preservation.
    3. Therefore the purpose of each human individual is to survive till the inevitable and reproduce the next generation of individuals.
    4. All individuals are accorded the inherent basic human rights to ensure the objective of 3 is met.
    5. Others.
The inherent basic human rights are;
  • 1. No human should be killed by another human being.
    2. No human should be made to suffer pains [net negative well-being] deliberately.
    3. No human shall be owned by another.
    4. Each human shall be given the freedom to act subject to the above.
    5. Others - to be deliberated.
From the above inherent basic human rights grounded on inherent human existence, man-mad human rights are conceived morally and applied with justified exceptions.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Belindi » October 30th, 2017, 5:13 am

Spectrum, your "generally 1, 2, and 3. are teleological.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Spectrum » October 30th, 2017, 10:28 pm

Belindi wrote:Spectrum, your "generally 1, 2, and 3. are teleological.
Nope.
These are theories abstracted from observed evidences and experiences of nature. They are conditioned upon human observations and inferences.
They are not teleological in the sense such are ultimate ends dictated by a God.

It is the same with the Theories of Gravity which is abstracted from the empirical world. That what goes up must come down on Earth, is not teleological.

I have often asked, can you name me one species [as defined biologically] that emerged with a 'purpose' to be extinct immediately? Answer is definitely a No!
OTOH, the evidence is all living individuals, therefrom the species emerged and strive to survive at all costs till the inevitable.

Point here we have at least some form of justifiable grounds based on empirical evidence to start with rather than based on arbitrary subjective opinions.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Belindi » October 31st, 2017, 5:56 am

Spectrum wrote:
Nope.
These are theories abstracted from observed evidences and experiences of nature. They are conditioned upon human observations and inferences.
They are not teleological in the sense such are ultimate ends dictated by a God.
In that case you should sharpen up your language so that you cannot be accused of being teleological. In their present form these items are teleological.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Ecurb » October 31st, 2017, 9:54 am

The UN Declaration of Human Rights is (at times) self-contradictory, and seems to misunderstand the notion of "rights".

Human rights are (and can be) nothing more or less than obligations on the part of other humans. A "right to life" doesn't protect anyone from grizzly bears, heart attacks, or cancer. It merely states that other humans have an obligation not to kill people.

With that in mind, let's look at the human rights in the UN Declaration, and determine what obligations they imply:

Article 13
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

Article 17.

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property
These are clearly contradictory. The "right" to own property cannot be reconciled with the right to freedom of movement, as anyone familiar with the history of Native Americans can attest. Owning land clearly LIMITS the freedom of movement of other people -- the "right" to own land means nothing other than an obligation on the part of other to limit their freedom of movement.

Article 26.

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
How can we reconcile "compulsory" education with "freedom of movement"? We can't.
Article 27.

(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Huh? "Freedom of expression" is clearly limited by the patents and copyrights offered in Article 27. If you can't copy someone else's work, your freedom of expression is limited.

I could go on and on.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Spectrum » November 2nd, 2017, 1:27 am

Belindi wrote:Spectrum wrote:
Nope.
These are theories abstracted from observed evidences and experiences of nature. They are conditioned upon human observations and inferences.
They are not teleological in the sense such are ultimate ends dictated by a God.
In that case you should sharpen up your language so that you cannot be accused of being teleological. In their present form these items are teleological.
You missed the point in my earlier post. I stated,
There are no god-given human rights but there are inherent 'natural rights' which can be abstracted from human existence and existence of all living things.
The above 'abstraction' has to be based on observations and experiences of human nature.
This is like discovery of the law of gravity from observed consistently falling objects. There is no teleological purpose for an physical object to fall when thrown upward.
It is the same principles [nothing teleological] for human rights abstracted from human nature and general nature.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Human rights: what are they, and do they exist?

Post by Belindi » November 2nd, 2017, 4:12 am

Spectrum wrote:
There are no god-given human rights but there are inherent 'natural rights' which can be abstracted from human existence and existence of all living things.
I agree that human rights legislation must take into account human needs as noted by common sense, common human sympathy, and science.

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