Bill of... "Rights"?

According to the Declaration of Independence, God endowed human beings with certain inalienable rights -- that is, rights that you cannot get rid of even of you should choose to do so. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as well as also property which was only omitted from the draft after substantial argument about what it meant for slavery. (What did "liberty" mean for slavery?)

According to a bunch of illegal immigrants called United We Stay, they have rights as well to free health care, free school, and free citizenship even though they broke the law in entering the country and remaining here. They also say they have a right to have us stop enforcing our laws by deporting them.

I'm a little fuzzy on the philosophical authority for the claim. I get the claim from God, or from natural rights, or from positive law justified by democratic participation in a polity via citizenship. This is a "human rights" claim, but surely not one anyone can take seriously -- otherwise, we should all have the right to move anywhere we want and be provided for by whoever happens to be there. Not only is that not workable, such a principle would rapidly destroy anywhere nice enough to justify moving to it.

It's what Kant would call a conflict of the will: just because enough of us live by the maxim, the good that maxim seeks to obtain is destroyed. One of his examples, as I recall, is theft: theft as a maxim destroys itself in just this way, as what the maxim to steal hopes to gain is property, but if enough people steal your property becomes worthless as you can't hang onto it long enough to use it. Such a maxim can't be justified simply because of this basic flaw in its internal logic.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

If one has a right to something, then someone else has an obligation to give it to you. That is why "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are categorically different from free school, free citizenship, etc.

raven said...

If it has to be taken from one, to give to another, it is not a right.
To force one to work, so another can reap the reward, is called slavery.

Ymar Sakar said...

Democrats love slavery. They will bring in the newest version, 3.0, soon enough. All the Know Nothings talking about how these are disunited organizations, will see first hand the Misery caused by the Leftist alliance. Then what excuses will they send in advance?

Dad29 said...

rights that you cannot get rid of even of you should choose to do so

A clarification: one may give up one's own right to life in defense of OTHERS' right to same, but suicide is still not allowed.

As to rights/obligations: yes, they are co-existing. In the Judaeo-Christian West, one's obligations are usually placed before one's rights; that is, the obligation to work precedes the right to (just) payment for said work. Thus the argument from "rights" alone fails: with no parallel obligation, rights are, or will be, meaningless.

Grim said...

I think the concept is that you can give up your life, but not your right to life. Those who kill you because you were defending the others' lives (and their rights to them) are the ones who are doing wrong, specifically by violating your inalienable right to life.

Grim said...

Although I used to argue that you most obviously have a natural right to death, since it is the right to die that nature will itself enforce no matter who may say nay. The natural law on death is like the natural law on gravity.

Ymar Sakar said...

People have easily sold their souls and their free will, for some glory and goodies.

That was their freedom, inherited, and their right to do so. What they didn't have a right to do was sell off the next generation into slavery. No, their ancestors did not fight and die so that one generation could end it all.