All posts tagged: human rights

The Ethics of Human Rights (92): Rights & the Primacy of the Right Over the Good

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ethics of human rights / philosophy

There’s a longstanding dispute in moral philosophy about the relationship between the right and the good. One can think about ethical matters in two ways: certain actions or types of character are required or recommended either because they achieve some good (defined as a benefit, a valuable goal or an interest) or because they are the right thing to do or the right way to be. Examples of the good are wellbeing and happiness. An example of the right […]

Beyond the Hand-Wavy Version of the Rule of Law

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freedom / governance / justice / law / philosophy

(source) The rule of law, as opposed to the rule of men, is believed to be the best way to avoid oppression and rights violations, and rightly so. However, the rule of law, in a superficial definition of the concept, can be just as bad as lawless oppression, because a law can allow or even force people to violate rights and to harm people in such a way that they are no longer free. Governments can and […]

Human Rights Facts (76): Mentions of “Human Rights” in the New York Times

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data / human rights facts

The NYT has come out with a nice tool that let’s you count the number of mentions in its pages of a word or a series of words. Here’s the result for “human rights” (the labels in red are my doing): (source) Jimmy Carter, whatever his flaws – and those are likely to be many – is known for his rights based foreign policy. It’s less well known that the March on Washington – the […]

What Are Human Rights? (56): Protection Against the State, and Something More

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law / philosophy / what are human rights

In our current, non-anarchist world, human rights depend on the state for their protection. Judicial courts, the police force and political institutions such as the welfare state and democratic governance are requirements for rights realization. Perhaps in some future state of affairs that will no longer be the case, but presently it is. Which means that human rights are more than just protective tools directed against the power of the state. They are part of the […]

What Are Human Rights? (55): Universal, Not Uniform

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law / what are human rights

Universality doesn’t equal uniformity. If we insist on uniformity, then we will probably not achieve universality. We will convince more people of the desirability of human rights if we take local circumstances into consideration than if we simply copy things coming from the outside. And that’s not just a tactical surrender: we don’t need uniformity. Regional differences are possible both at the level of the laws that protect human rights, and at the level of the […]