• BitconnectCarlos
    681


    Whether the right was recognized or enforced, or recourse granted, would depend on whether others choose to recognize them, or enforce them, or see that recourse is granted. They may, or may not. There isn't anything that requires them to make any particular choice.

    Eh, a policeman is duty-bound to "serve and protect" and takes an oath swearing to uphold these norms. People in society don't just exist as free floating, independent entities that have complete freedom of choice in any given interaction. In healthy societies the police owe the public at least some level of protection or at least recourse.

    Law provides a mechanism which identifies a right and provides for its protection or enforcement regardless of what others are inclined to do or not do, with the power of the state available to be imposed if necessary.

    Right, but the actual enforcement part comes from an institution which has its own culture and set of norms. There's an initiation process for anyone who wants to enter that lifestyle and a deep history there and standards to uphold.

    Even if we aren't entitled to anyone's enforcement or protection, we could still have a discussion about how to acquire that. I feel like we're missing the point with this talk about entitlement though; people could - and have - banded together as a common cause to rectify infringements on natural rights.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    Eh, a policeman is duty-bound to "serve and protect" and takes an oath swearing to uphold these norms. People in society don't just exist as free floating, independent entities that have complete freedom of choice in any given interaction. In healthy societies the police owe the public at least some level of protection or at least recourse.BitconnectCarlos

    Sorry, I don't understand what you're saying. I think the police are part of the process of law enforcement. Law enforcement is part of the recourse a person has if legal rights are violated. We don't rely on the police to enforce natural rights. If I asked the police to protect or enforce what I believe to be my natural rights, and those rights are not legal rights, I don't think they'd be of much help.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    681


    Inalienable/natural rights such as life and liberty are first - atleast in the Anglo-American tradition - recognized as such and then enshrined into law. I can't think of any natural rights that aren't recognized by law. Even if there were no laws whether something is enforceable or not is just a question of the social reality or practical politics at the time, i.e. whether you can garner support or arms etc.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    Inalienable/natural rights such as life and liberty are first - atleast in the Anglo-American tradition - recognized as such and then enshrined into law. I can't think of any natural rights that aren't recognized by law. Even if there were no laws whether something is enforceable or not is just a question of the social reality or practical politics at the time, i.e. whether you can garner support or arms etc.BitconnectCarlos

    It's odd, then, that laws addressing such inalienable/natural rights tend to vary from time to time, and nation to nation, and legal system to legal system. And not just in the Anglo-American tradition (though this qualification in itself creates prolems for your position, I think).

    Presumably, the authors of the Declaration of Independence thought the laws of Great Britian didn't adequately protect those rights or recognize them, for example--didn't believe they had the recourse to enforce those rights under British law. In other words, they thought that what they construed as inalienable/natural rights were not legal rights under British law.

    Then, of course, we may consider the laws of nations governed by dictatorships or some other form of autocracy. If we limit ourselves to the "Anglo-American tradition" we might note that both life and liberty were subject to considerable restrictions in the past. The peculiar institution of slavery comes to mind, for example. Certain people being legally defined as property tended to limit their inalienable/natural rights of life and liberty, and because they had no such legal rights neither nature nor nature's God was able to do anything for them. The rights to life and liberty of English nobility were very limited before Magna Carta and other modification of the law. The rights to life and and liberty of those not so fortunate to be landed or noble were even more restricted.

    And wouldn't you say that the right of liberty, at least, of women wasn't "enshrined in law" until they were granted the right to vote?

    What you think are natural rights may be legal rights, or they may not. What you think are legal rights may be natural rights, or they may not. That's because they're different.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    681
    What you think are natural rights may be legal rights, or they may not. What you think are legal rights may be natural rights, or they may not. That's because they're different.

    Yes, something could be a natural right but not recognized by law and therefore not enforced by any sort of governing body. It could still be enforced in other ways though and I think we'd both agree that there can very easily be consequences for something even if it isn't illegal. Police aren't the only ones who can mete out repercussions.

    I feel like we've gotten sidetracked a little, here was what I was originally responding to:

    I voted "no" because I don't think it appropriate to speak of "rights" that are unenforceable. or the violation of which is without recorse. There are legal rights, but there are no rights that should be legal rights, which, I think, is all that "natural rights" are (unless they're legal rights).

    Enforceability is extremely important and when I hear about a natural right - say, right to life - being unenforceable it should cause one to immediately ask "how do we enforce this?" not "I'm not going to recognize these rights because presently we're not capable of enforcing them."
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    Enforceability is extremely important and when I hear about a natural right - say, right to life - being unenforceable it should cause one to immediately ask "how do we enforce this?" not "I'm not going to recognize these rights because presently we're not capable of enforcing them."BitconnectCarlos

    We may assert there should be legal rights which are not currently legal rights (i.e. the violation of which is prohibited by the law, or are not recognized in the law). The fact that we say there should be such legal rights, however, doesn't make them legal rights. When we refer to natural rights that are not recognized by the law, I think the only thing we're saying, for any practical purposes, is that they should be legal rights.

    I think it's very important to the protection of life and civil liberties generally that the law recognizes and preserves legal rights. However, being inclined to virtue ethics and even more inclined to maintain the distinction between morality and the law, I don't accept that nature somehow manifests rights to which all are entitled.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    When we refer to natural rights that are not recognized by the law, I think the only thing we're saying, for any practical purposes, is that they should be legal rights.Ciceronianus the White

    :up:
  • StreetlightX
    6.1k
    Surprised by the poll results! Would have thought more people would be sceptical about the idea of natural rights. But also pleasantly surprised with those who simply see it as a short-hand or derivative of social arrangements.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    681


    When we refer to natural rights that are not recognized by the law, I think the only thing we're saying, for any practical purposes, is that they should be legal rights.

    A few things to consider:

    1) A law may exist but it may not be enforced. On the flip side, an action may be legal but there could still be dire consequences for performing it in a given society, e.g. how blacks in the American south had to conduct themselves towards white women during the Jim Crowe era.
    2) Other organizations outside of the government often do enforce - and enforce strongly - e.g. the mafia, the KKK, hell's angels, etc. In some societies the police were either weak, ineffectual, or corrupt and turning to the mafia was your best bet at recourse.
    3) The grievance could just be aimed towards an autocracy, and what we're really aiming towards here is regime change not a legal change. An autocrat may ignore the laws or change them at whim.

    Enforcement is a human affair, it's not just a direct implementation of the law.

    I don't accept that nature somehow manifests rights to which all are entitled.

    I honestly don't know whether natural rights exist but the sake of the discussion I'm just running with it.
  • NOS4A2
    3.8k


    When we refer to natural rights that are not recognized by the law, I think the only thing we're saying, for any practical purposes, is that they should be legal rights.

    But why should they be legal rights? I’m reminded of Bastiat’s argument:

    “ Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

    The Law
  • DingoJones
    2k


    He is not saying they were rights, he is saying they existed. The question is are they “rights”?
    If we are talking about rights not granted by other men...I think I agree with what others about enforcement. Might makes rights. If you can take something you have the right to it. indeed thats the very reason for laws and rights. Your quote above expresses that nicely.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    [
    1) A law may exist but it may not be enforced. On the flip side, an action may be legal but there could still be dire consequences for performing it in a given society, e.g. how blacks in the American south had to conduct themselves towards white women during the Jim Crowe era.BitconnectCarlos

    Yes. Laws (and legal rights) may be violated, and it may be that the recourse provided in the law for violation is not provided for one reason or another. Prosecutors, for example, have a certain amount of discretion in determining what cases to prosecute. Some violations may not be prosecuted due to a lack of proof. Judges/jurors may be bribed. Legal rights nonetheless exist as part of a system of laws, but the system may be perverted or overwhelmed.

    2) Other organizations outside of the government often do enforce - and enforce strongly - e.g. the mafia, the KKK, hell's angels, etc. In some societies the police were either weak, ineffectual, or corrupt and turning to the mafia was your best bet at recourse.BitconnectCarlos

    I don't think such organizations enforce legal rights. Legal rights are part of a system of laws, in any case, and the recourse available for their violation or protection is through the laws. The failure to use recourse provided in the law would violate another's legal rights. .

    3) The grievance could just be aimed towards an autocracy, and what we're really aiming towards here is regime change not a legal change. An autocrat may ignore the laws or change them at whim.BitconnectCarlos

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) legal rights may be changed as provided in the law, as may any law. Legal rights need not be permanent. They need not be just. They're just legal. What are called "natural rights" are supposedly permanent and unchangeable, but that isn't necessarily the case with legal rights. We create legal rights, and may change them or ignore them; we may not even make them. Nevertheless, they're the only rights for which protection and recourse is provided.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k
    But why should they be legal rights?NOS4A2

    Many of what are called "natural rights" aren't legal rights, depending on the system of law. Legal rights exist, though, in the sense that they've been adopted and recognized by the sovereign of a nation and provision in the system of law has been made for their protection and enforcement. "Natural rights" don't exist in that sense, unless they'e made legal rights. Most of those who believe in natural rights, I think, would desire that they be legal rights and part of a system of law which recognizes their existence and sets forth remedies for their violation.
  • David Mo
    849
    That law should not have been adopted. Nonetheless it was. Does that make that law immoral, or does its adoption mean those who caused it to be adopted were immoral, or was the conduct it sanctioned immoral?Ciceronianus the White

    That's a play on words. The meaning of the law is to allow or forbid something. If the law allows something immoral or prohibits something moral, the law is immoral. Because it's not anything different from that sanction. What results from the immorality of the law is the right to oppose it, which is enshrined even in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Frank Apisa
    2.1k


    Any "rights" you suppose you have, you have only because other people fought and died to obtain.

    But we do have "natural rights" insofar as we can die in an attempt to get other rights.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k

    Well, I don't think it's a play on words, which normally refers to punning.

    Regarding the
    If the law allows something immoral or prohibits something moral, the law is immoral.David Mo

    I've explained why I feel this isn't the case already, so I assume you're just noting your disagreement.
    I'm inclined to think conduct is moral or immoral, and people act morally or immorally.

    What results from the immorality of the law is the right to oppose it, which is enshrined even in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.David Mo

    If the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a law (the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't seem to think so), the rights it refers to are legal rights. I don't think there is a right to oppose laws unless there is a legal right to do so (i.e. the law states there is such a right under certain circumstances). However, I think certain laws should be opposed, regardless of whether there is a right to do so. No "right" is required for opposition to be appropriate.
  • David Mo
    849
    I've explained why I feel this isn't the case already, so I assume you're just noting your disagreement.Ciceronianus the White
    It's more than just dissent. I explained the reasons why I dissented from your position. It's because we don't agree on what a law is. A law is a prescriptive act: it defines what can and cannot be done and what must be done. Therefore, if immorality refers to acts, you cannot separate the law from the acts, and the law that prescribes immoral acts is immoral. For example, depriving a minority of access to land ownership. If you remove the prescribed act, that law ceases to exist.

    If the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a law (the U.S. Supreme Court doesn't seem to think so), the rights it refers to are legal rights.Ciceronianus the White
    When the UDHR mentions the right to resist unjust laws, it does not do so in an article. There is no article in the law that mentions the right to resistance. But the Preamble recognizes this unwritten right when it says that the Declaration is proposed as a way to prevent people from being forced to resort to the right to violent resistance (I quote from memory).
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    Strictly speaking natural rights seem to depend on the needs and wants of the people who make them up.VagabondSpectre

    That can be used to justify slavery or any form of oppression. The issue is that the needs and wants of the people who make them up are not necessarily the same needs and wants of other people.

    That might be historically true, but if we want natural rights to be something more than what those in power need and want, then it to ought to apply to everyone. For example, because you're human, you should have the right to determine your own life, and not be the property of someone else. And thus slavery was a violation of natural rights, no matter how the people at the time, or any time, rationalized it.
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    But also pleasantly surprised with those who simply see it as a short-hand or derivative of social arrangements.StreetlightX

    Social arrangements can and have denied people rights, which doesn't make sense if it's just a shorthand. At best, you get a relativism between social arrangements, where we can say slavery denied rights according to our modern arrangement, but not at the time.

    Which makes the abolitionist case difficult, unless we just say they preferred a different arrangement. But they thought they were making a moral argument, which is people shouldn't be treated like cattle, regardless of what society says.
  • David Mo
    849
    That can be used to justify slavery or any form of oppression.Marchesk

    Human nature is like that. Everyone puts in what they like. Or what they don't like sometimes.
    There is a basic question that is difficult to answer: How do you know that this characteristic is natural?
    And another one later:
    Why is natural good?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.2k

    Legal rights are a very small part of the law. What people may consider moral or immoral is a very small part of the law. If a law addresses what people may consider moral or immoral, people often disagree on whether what it addresses or provides is one or the other. The law is a vast system, and to think of laws as moral or immoral is simply to disregard the laws as they exist.
  • 180 Proof
    1.8k
    I voted "no" because I don't think it appropriate to speak of "rights" that are unenforceable. or the violation of which is without rec[ou]rse.There are legal rights, but there are no rights that should be legal rights, which, I think, is all that "natural rights" are (unless they're legal rights).Ciceronianus the White
    That's the gist of it for me as well.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    681
    I don't think such organizations enforce legal rights.

    NGOs do and can enforce legal and/or natural rights. A recent example of this was there was a spate of attacks against Jews in New York earlier this year and in response the Guardian Angels stepped up their presence in Jewish neighborhoods around New York. That's enforcement, and the stepping up of their presence in those areas is a clear attempt to protect the population. Increased presence is certainly one means of enforcement, and in this case we'd call this enforcing a right that is both legal and natural.

    There are also NGOs which protect the rights of vulnerable populations when there isn't a legal protection. In other words, the right they are protecting here is natural. For example French resistance fighters in WWII.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.9k
    That might be historically true, but if we want natural rights to be something more than what those in power need and want, then it to ought to apply to everyone. For example, because you're human, you should have the right to determine your own life, and not be the property of someone else. And thus slavery was a violation of natural rights, no matter how the people at the time, or any time, rationalized it.Marchesk

    "We" in my remark was meant to be inclusive of all affected parties. The need to extend moral consideration to others is a necessary starting point; a given. Consequentialism can't really exist without it.

    Slave owners didn't think of their slaves as people (they were considered property). Since my own take can possibly be used to justify slavery if "we" (meaning individuals) ignore the wants and needs of other people (or define certain groups as non-persons), how would you instead persuade a slaver or slave-owner that they violating natural rights?

    More to the point, how would you use the idea of natural rights to persuade and compel them to change their behavior?
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    how would you instead persuade a slaver or slave-owner that they violating natural rights?VagabondSpectre

    It would be difficult without force to do so, as history shows. But you would need to convince them that the slaves were human just as much as the slave owners. Maybe force isn't always necessary, since the British slave trade was eventually abolished by those who opposed it in Parliament.
  • fdrake
    4.2k
    Maybe force isn't always necessary, since the British slave trade was eventually abolished by those who opposed it in Parliament.Marchesk

    And the slave revolts making it a ludicrously costly investment.
  • Marchesk
    3.6k
    And the slave revolts making it a ludicrously costly investment.fdrake

    That too. Did you know France demanded that Haiti pay them 150 million francs for Haiti's successful revolution as compensation? How is a small country with a new government supposed to thrive with such massive debt? I wish someone strong enough at the time could have told France to fuck off.
  • fdrake
    4.2k


    If I had the photoshop skills to make a Dessalines Picard facepalm I would.
  • fdrake
    4.2k


    I should've said: "I'm sure Dessalines cut them off"
  • David Mo
    849
    Legal rights are a very small part of the law.Ciceronianus the White

    Explain this and what it has to do with our subject, please.
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