• Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k
    This is a long post, sorry.

    I think the concept of rights (whether natural or otherwise) as we currently understand it is a relatively new development in ethics, political philosophy, and in the law.

    We don't see it much (or at least I don't) in ancient times in the West. Roman law is vast, but beyond the view that certain people are due or not due certain things by virtue of their status--e.g. a Roman citizen being due an appeal to the emperor--individual rights don't factor large from the Twelve Tablets to Justinian's Codex.

    The idea of Natural Law certainly appears in Roman jurisprudence and may be said to be a factor, even a very important factor, in ancient philosophy, but particularly in Stoicism, which it may be said reached a particularly high level of influence in the Roman Empire and late Republic (see Cicero). But if Natural Law engendered the belief that we are endowed by Nature or Nature's God with certain inalienable rights, in my opinion this occurred long after Natural Law had been conceived.

    Cicero claimed he wasn't a Stoic, but he studied Stoicism and borrowed from it the belief that we should live "according to nature" which meant according to reason. Regarding Natural and Human Law, Cicero wrote: "Law is the highest reason, implanted in Nature, which commands what ought to be done and forbids the opposite. This reason, when firmly fixed and fully developed in the human mind, is Law. And so they believe that Law is intelligence, whose natural function it is to command right conduct and forbid wrongdoing. They think that this quality has derived its name in Greek from the idea of granting to every man his own and in our language I believe it has been named from the idea of choosing. For as they have attributed the idea of fairness to the word law, so we have given it that of selection, though both ideas properly belong to Law. Now if this is correct, as I think it to be in general, then the origin of Justice is to be found in Law; for Law is a natural force; it is the mind and reason of the intelligent man, the standard by which Justice and Injustice are measured." (from De Legibus). (Emphasis added).

    What is notable here, for me, is the absence of any reference to rights. What is just isn't determined by reference to the rights of each individual. The focus is on conduct; what conduct is right, and what is wrong, not on entitlement. Proper conduct is determined by adherence to intelligence informed by nature. It's a matter of choice and selection of what's proper, of judgment.

    Nature, then, provides us with rules which should govern our conduct in life. I don't see this as equivalent to the belief that each person has certain rights, God-given or otherwise. Natural Law in this view isn't premised on our entitlement or right to anything. It doesn't prohibit certain conduct because it impairs an entitlement or right. It directs that we act in a particular manner.

    We say we have a "right" to something when we believe that we are or should be free to do something or possess something. We have a claim to it; we are entitled to it, to the exclusion of anyone else. This is foreign to the idea of Natural Law as accepted in Stoicism and Cicero, and I think in Roman jurisprudence generally. For example, Stoicism teaches us that things beyond our control are indifferent. It urges us not to disturb ourselves with them, not to seek or desire them. What else is the claim to have a right to property but a claim that one is entitled to something beyond our control? It would be bizarre for a Stoic sage to maintain that he is entitled to anything, even to his own life. So, there is to them no right to life. Nature/God will determine when we die and how; we should be prepared to die, but our death is one of the things beyond our control Similarly, a Stoic has no conception of a right to be free; one can be free even if in prison, as one maintains sovereignty over that which is truly in one's control.

    For my part, I believe the only rights we have are those recognized by the law, that is to say, legal rights. Certainly those are the only rights which are enforceable. Legal rights, though sometimes conceived of as possessory, in fact result from restrictions imposed particularly on governmental power. We have no right of free speech, for example, in the law. We have the First Amendment, though, which prohibits the government from restricting free speech. Legal rights therefore often exist purely because the law prohibits certain conduct by others. I can speak freely in the sense that the government is unable to prevent me from doing so.

    When we speak of rights outside the law, whether we call them natural rights, inherent rights, god-given rights, we purport to refer to what has application only if protected by the law. We treat them as if they are legal rights, though they are not. We claim to be entitled to certain things or entitled to do certain things by virtue of non-legal rights.

    It seems to me that when we employ the concept of rights in ethics, we take an idea which has a beneficial function in the law and employ it where it has no function at all or a negative function. Rights are something we have or claim. Our interest in them is selfish. We don't see rights as creating duties to others. If we have the right to do and think what we wish, even if that right is qualified so that our right to act and think may not be used to harm others, we may do as we please even if we are cruel, envious, uncharitable, craven, contemptible, gluttonous, miserly. We may be utterly unworthy, and are not only free to be so but have every right to be so.

    In other words, we have the right to be wrong, bad, immoral as long as we don't infringe directly on the rights of others. This is an ethics which sanctions, if it doesn't actually encourage, the disregard of the suffering of others.
  • Heiko
    367
    Right and Freedom are directly opposed. A right is what limits others freedom. It is purely negative in nature. Modern people confuse it with freedom because of the rights they have against the souvereignity, which, by the very concept of souvereignity itself, would be absolute, total.
    Your civil rights limit the state's freedom against you and other ppls rights limit your freedom. Your rights limit my freedom. Property rights do not grant freedom - they limit it. Nomads did not need a right to stop anywhere. Maybe they need it nowadays as all land is claimed by national states.
  • Pfhorrest
    3.6k
    There are different senses of "right", and you're conflating at least two of them here, while denying that another is a sense of the word at all.

    There is a sense of "right" that just means "freedom". These are sometimes called "liberty rights". You have a liberty right whenever you're not prohibited (by law or morality, whichever system you're talking about) from doing something.

    Then there's a sense of "right" that means what you say, a limit on others liberty rights, which places an obligation on them toward you. These are usually called "claim rights" to distinguish them. Property rights are claim rights.

    Both of those are first-order rights, and there are second-order versions of each.

    A second-order liberty right is a "power", which is basically the liberty to change others' first-order rights, to permit or prohibit things, to create or abolish obligations. These are the kinds of "rights" that states claim over their peoples.

    A second-order claim right is an "immunity", which is a limitation on powers just like claims are limits on liberties. You have an immunity exactly when someone else doesn't have a power over you. Civil rights are generally immunities; everything in the US Bill Of Rights is an immunity, explicitly limiting the powers of congress (and later, via the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment, state legislatures and all other lawmaking bodies as well).
  • Judaka
    967

    Can you give some examples of the non-legal rights you are talking about?
  • Heiko
    367
    There is a sense of "right" that just means "freedom". These are sometimes called "liberty rights".Pfhorrest

    Enjoy them....

    .....
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k

    Any claimed right that isn't dependent on governing law, which would exist regardless of the law. For example, there are people who say "I have a right to say/think whatever I like." There is no law stating that a person may say or think whatever they like. There may be no law prohibiting them from doing so, of course.

    The right to live. The right to the "pursuit of happiness." The right to work.
  • Heiko
    367
    For example, there are people who say "I have a right to say/think whatever I like." There is no law stating that a person may say or think whatever they like. There may be no law prohibiting them from doing so, of course.Ciceronianus the White
    Veeerrrryyy unlikely in general...

    Natural rights are in some sense suspended by legal rights.
  • tim wood
    5.6k
    I submit that a distinction not made so far, or at least that I saw, is between license and right. As moral agents - as I hope we all are - our freedom is always constrained by what is right at any time. But that constraint in no way is in itself a constraint on our raw ability to act. And by license I mean that ability to act. I offer here as an inventory of things to be accounted here, license, freedom, law, right, moral agency, duty. Some may detect a bit of Kant, here, in that he argued that freedom is freedom to do one's duty (as defined by him).
  • god must be atheist
    2.4k
    Yes, Ciceronius, it is interesting that rights are a new concept, and as you pointed it out, the existence of rights gives you the right to be selfish.

    I also like the question, "What's left of the right?"

    1. The American right has been destroyed. What remains extant of its one time might?
    2. If you consider a smooth transition of parliamentary sitting arrangement of elected representatives advocating from socialist (egalitarian) ideals to capitalistic (exploitive) ideals, then you can ask, is the person to his left still on the right?
    3. A heavy weight boxing champion is about to retire, and has a match posted what people believe is too late in his career. "What's left of his right?" promoters ask, as if trying to guess or measure up the one-time strength of his world-famous right hook.
    4. The English Lord discusses with his manager which manservant to let go to ease up his payroll. "Yeah, the one who keeps on saying "right on, Sire". Who is on his left?" "They are facing us, Sire, so to us the question becomes, who is on first." "erm, Simpkins, quite, quite."

    Seriously speaking, rights given, as much as they selfishly serve the self, if they are given in equal measures to a group of people, then theoretically the rights do not amount to any selfish advantage. For instance, in America all adults have the right to vote. (I don't know if this is true, but let's assume it is for the sake of my example. For instance, I don't know if prison populations have this right.)

    Does Paul have more advantage than Peter, in this instance? I don't think so. So rights distributed evenly to a population serve different purposes than to advantage only select members of it.

    "You have the right to remain silent." This is another example of the rights of a population, the population of people under arrest. They all have the rights to this, there is no discrimination to losing the rights for any reason. It is a perpetual, non-evolving, free-of-charge rights of people who are being arrested.

    So... while you are right that rights have a potential of serving selfish causes, if they are distributed equally, like I said, they don't provide any personal advantage within a population.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    688
    For my part, I believe the only rights we have are those recognized by the law, that is to say, legal rights. Certainly those are the only rights which are enforceable. Legal rights, though sometimes conceived of as possessory, in fact result from restrictions imposed particularly on governmental power. We have no right of free speech, for example, in the law. We have the First Amendment, though, which prohibits the government from restricting free speech. Legal rights therefore often exist purely because the law prohibits certain conduct by others. I can speak freely in the sense that the government is unable to prevent me from doing so.Ciceronianus the White

    If - and maybe that's a big if - you view morality as social contractarian, then rights as you describe here could make sense in morality too.... i.e. as a society we all agree to refrain from certain harmful behaviors. So in a social contract sense, morality would be akin to prohibiting certain conduct by others, and yourself.

    In other words, we have the right to be wrong, bad, immoral as long as we don't infringe directly on the rights of others. This is an ethics which sanctions, if it doesn't actually encourage, the disregard of the suffering of others.Ciceronianus the White

    Not all behavior need be a matter of ethics it seems to me, or law for that matter. It's not because you are not ethically obliged to alleviate the suffering of others, that you can't choice to do so.

    For law at least it makes sense, if only for practical reasons, not to legislate every little detail of how we should act.... even if you think behavior could be better in some ways. It seems to me that morality are also rules regulating behavior, and so they need some appropriate level of abstraction and generality, which makes it difficult to have them do to much... because the world is messy and changing.

    Maybe the idea that morality is predominately about alleviating the suffering of others is a relatively new development in ethics? I'm not sure.

    Edit: I'm not sure what my point exactly was... It wasn't very clear in any case.

    Maybe it was this. Assuming not everything we do is and needs to be directed by ethics or morality, i.e. we just do stuff for whatever reason, love, friendship, greed, lust, ambition etc.. If you find yourself in this kind of world and want to better human behaviour, maybe it makes sense that ethics ends up being rules which restrict only certain types of harmfull behaviour.

    Edit 2: And to answer more on topic, we get rights out of the social contract, which are the flip-side of the obligation we have from it.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    688
    Edit: I messed up in tying to edit my previous post, can be deleted.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k
    Seriously speaking, rights given, as much as they selfishly serve the self, if they are given in equal measures to a group of people, then theoretically the rights do not amount to any selfish advantage.god must be atheist

    Well, consider the "right to property." It can (and has been) been construed as prohibiting government from obtaining money from citizens to assist other citizens in various ways, e.g through providing health care.

    Presumably, everyone has the "right to property." The problem is some people don't have any. The right is used in justification of an essentially selfish position, though it is a right to which supposedly all are entitled.
  • god must be atheist
    2.4k
    Presumably, everyone has the "right to property." The problem is some people don't have any.Ciceronianus the White
    I'm sorry, but while all along this post you're right, you are not making an argument that has any effect on mine. Rights do not equate to actual states of being. And rights do not mean that you can only have that right if you have an object to apply it to. Case in point is your example: right to property, but what if you don't have any. Well, not having property does not negate the right to property at all. Once the non-possessor of property acquires property, he or she has a right to own it.

    The rights to own property is also universal, despite its non-universal applicability.
    The right is used in justification of an essentially selfish position, though it is a right to which supposedly all are entitled.Ciceronianus the White

    You said it. Everyone is EQUALLY equipped with the right to be selfish. EQUALLY. Whether you call it a right to own property or the right to be selfish, it is the same thing. No matter how you slice it, it is equally given to everyone -- the right to own, not the objects to own.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k


    I think legal rights--rights dependent on law--are the only rights. So, I think the "right to property" exists only to the extent recognized by law. But, I'm not addressing whether or not rights exist independent of the law (i.e., that there are rights with which we're endowed by God or nature or whatever).

    I think the belief that such rights exist has its basis in self-interest and, Ayn Rand and others notwithstanding, think that self-interest is not a virtue, and isn't a basis on which moral conduct should be determined or judged. The fact that all are entitled to such rights makes no difference as far as I'm concerned.
  • Moliere
    1.8k


    I feel like you're getting close to my criticism of rights, in general.

    With your ending I suspect we're closer in mind than the language of rights would predict.

    My feelings: We should be able to be craven, jealous, etc... because those are human emotions that need to be expressed and felt. Even acted upon.

    But, to express my own sentiments, property rights are a bad place to express those sentiments.

    I am not a stoic at all. I'm a bad epicurean. I just hope this is an invitation to talk about, as your title says, what is wrong about rights.

    cuz I think rights are bullocks. lol. Just so you know where I come from.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k
    cuz I think rights are bullocks. lol. Just so you know where I come from.Moliere

    As I think I said, though, I think rights which exist by virtue of law are real, and so are not necessarily bullocks.

    My thought is that legal rights may serve a purpose by restricting the power of government and, sometimes, of others. But they, and the rights we're said to possess according to God or nature regardless of law, are available to be used--and are used all too often--to justify purely selfish concerns to the detriment of others. Personal morals are focused on what I am entitled to rather than how we should act towards one another or how to act virtuously. It's a very proprietary view of ethics.

    Rights are better conceived of as in the nature of legal fictions.
  • god must be atheist
    2.4k
    I think legal rights--rights dependent on law--are the only rights. So, I think the "right to property" exists only to the extent recognized by law. But, I'm not addressing whether or not rights exist independent of the law (i.e., that there are rights with which we're endowed by God or nature or whatever).

    I think the belief that such rights exist has its basis in self-interest and, Ayn Rand and others notwithstanding, think that self-interest is not a virtue, and isn't a basis on which moral conduct should be determined or judged. The fact that all are entitled to such rights makes no difference as far as I'm concerned.
    Ciceronianus the White

    Now, this I understand. This makes sense, and I fully agree with it.

    I just wish to add that while you may be right in saying that greed is not a virtue, I wish to say that it is at times a valid survival tool, and an evolutionary advantage.
  • NOS4A2
    3.9k


    In a sense the concept of rights is about behavior. Your right to free and independent thought is my duty not to suppress or punish you for it. Your right to property is my duty not to plunder it, and so on. Every right afforded a man depends on a corresponding duty which the rest of us ought to, at least in theory, act out.

    The discourse around rights serve well to define the reasonable limits of power, and I think the justifications for why we afford others these rights has been well reasoned and put to the grindstone of trial and error for hundreds if not thousands of years.

    It's certainly true rights are codified and bestowed by legal systems. But each of us also have the power to afford another a right, simply by affirming it and acting out the corresponding duty. I think it's a damn shame we seek to relegate rights to the state, as if we haven't the power to afford other rights ourselves.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k
    But each of us also have the power to afford another a right, simply by affirming it and acting out the corresponding duty.NOS4A2

    One of the difficulties I have with the concept of rights is that I think acceptance of them gives rise to an ethics in which good, or moral, conduct is defined as that conduct which doesn't interfere with them. Each person has the right to do certain things as long as they don't infringe on or violate the rights of others. Rights are deemed possessions we each have, to which we're entitled, and nobody may take or interfere with those possessions. As long as they don't their conduct isn't objectionable, and they're free to do whatever they like and refrain from doing whatever they don't want to do without censure.
  • Athena
    947
    Even before kings sisters buried their brothers. This is an argument that we do have rights that a king can not take away. It is a right, because it is the right thing to do. You speak of laws as though we control what a law will be. Humans do not make the laws of nature, they can only become aware of them. And not every man made law should be obeyed, because they can be hateful laws and oppose natural law. Here is the Greek story arguing we do have rights that a king can not take away.

    Prior to the beginning of the play, brothers Eteocles and Polynices, leading opposite sides in Thebes' civil war, died fighting each other for the throne. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes and brother of the former Queen Jocasta, has decided that Eteocles will be honored and Polynices will be in public shame. The rebel brother's body will not be sanctified by holy rites and will lie unburied on the battlefield, prey for carrion animals like vultures, the harshest punishment at the time. Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of the dead Polynices and Eteocles.wikipedia

    " that Law is intelligence, whose natural function it is to command right conduct and forbid wrongdoing" is compatible with Confucius and oriental concepts of moral and laws of nature. Clearly we are not born knowing the laws and must learn them. That is learn to live in harmony with universal law and understanding, to violate universal law leads to trouble. That is not because a God or court of men will punish us, but it is a natural consequence of taking the wrong action. We are not entitled to violate the laws of nature, not even Trump. There is nothing we can do to change the consequences of our action. But we need be clear that we are not born knowing right from wrong and must make constant effort to learn and reason.

    Back your argument, men's law and the authority of men can be wrong! Man's law is not the ultimate law. Universal law is above the law of man. Remember, we persecuted the Germans who were just following orders. A deeper understanding of such things is very important because it is what democracy is about.
  • Banno
    9.9k
    In other words, we have the right to be wrong, bad, immoral as long as we don't infringe directly on the rights of others. This is an ethics which sanctions, if it doesn't actually encourage, the disregard of the suffering of others.Ciceronianus the White

    Then you have divorced rights from duties.

    And does this mean you are going to change your name?
  • Athena
    947
    One of the difficulties I have with the concept of rights is that I think acceptance of them gives rise to an ethics in which good, or moral, conduct is defined as that conduct which doesn't interfere with them. Each person has the right to do certain things as long as they don't infringe on or violate the rights of others. Rights are deemed possessions we each have, to which we're entitled, and nobody may take or interfere with those possessions. As long as they don't their conduct isn't objectionable, and they're free to do whatever they like and refrain from doing whatever they don't want to do without censure.Ciceronianus the White

    What makes a right right and a wrong wrong?

    “For there is but one essential justice which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law, whether written or unwritten, is necessarily unjust and wicked.”
    ― Marcus Tullius Cicero, On the Laws
    — Cicero

    Democracy is not blind obedience to law, but the constant search of right reason.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k


    I'm not arguing against morality based on natural law. I'm questioning one based on claimed inherent rights. I think our concept of rights was unknown to ancient thinkers like Cicero and the Stoics and said as much in the OP. I remain a Ciceronian.
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    I've found a reference that I think is relevant. Tom Holland's book Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind. There's a discussion of the development of The Decretum, which was the first attempt at producing an edition of canon law - massive body of work, attempting to emulate the theological jurisprudence of Islam. This is around 1,150. It gives an example of the kinds of principles which were argued on the basis of principles given in the Decretum:

    How, for instance, were the Christian people to square the rampant inequality between rich and poor with the insistence of numerous Church Fathers that ‘the use of all things should be common to all’? The problem was one that, for decades, demanded the attention of the most distinguished scholars in Bologna. By 1200, half a century after the completion of the Decretum, a solution had finally been arrived at – and it was one fertile with implications for the future.

    A starving pauper who stole from a rich man did so, according to a growing number of legal scholars, iure naturali – ‘in accordance with natural law’. As such, they argued, he could not be reckoned guilty of a crime. Instead, he was merely taking what was properly owed him. It was the wealthy miser, not the starving thief, who was the object of divine disapproval. Any bishop confronted by such a case, so canon lawyers concluded, had a duty to ensure that the wealthy pay their due of alms. Charity, no longer voluntary, was being rendered a legal obligation. That the rich had a duty to give to the poor was, of course, a principle as old as Christianity itself. What no one had thought to argue before, though, was a matching principle: that the poor had an entitlement to the necessities of life. It was – in a formulation increasingly deployed by canon lawyers – a human ‘right’.

    Holland, Tom. Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind . Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

    Interesting to see how the concept of 'right' was tied to the principle of Christian charity. I don't know much, or anything, about Roman law, but I daresay there was no equivalent conception in it.
  • schopenhauer1
    4.8k

    Just to clarify, it does look like you are discussing universal rights of a sort. Rome had an idea of rights as it related to citizenship status. Someone with full citizenship had more rights than someone from the provinces. Full citizenship had greater rights of court, civic participation, etc. Universal rights are a relatively new thing, probably starting close to the Enlightenment. That is to say, the idea of a government existing to maintain rights rather than people existing to maintain government.
  • NOS4A2
    3.9k


    One of the difficulties I have with the concept of rights is that I think acceptance of them gives rise to an ethics in which good, or moral, conduct is defined as that conduct which doesn't interfere with them. Each person has the right to do certain things as long as they don't infringe on or violate the rights of others. Rights are deemed possessions we each have, to which we're entitled, and nobody may take or interfere with those possessions. As long as they don't their conduct isn't objectionable, and they're free to do whatever they like and refrain from doing whatever they don't want to do without censure.

    Rightfully so in my opinion. To me, refusing to interfere in such a manner is good conduct, and defending their rights even better. Censure and objection are not infringements on another’s right, however. An infringement would be some sort of unjust reprisal, like imprisonment.

    It is difficult to defend the rights of those who engage in objectionable conduct. But with practice it can be done and those who do so are moral and decent.
  • Athena
    947
    I'm not arguing against morality based on natural law. I'm questioning one based on claimed inherent rights. I think our concept of rights was unknown to ancient thinkers like Cicero and the Stoics and said as much in the OP. I remain a Ciceronian.Ciceronianus the White

    You skipped my Greek example of our rights being well understood in ancient times. Perhaps not Rome, but surely by Greeks. Think back to that ancient civilization and many gods. Democracy is an imitation of the gods. Each one of us has the freedom of a god because there is no god over us rewarding and punishing us. Now we can not violate laws of nature, which even the gods must obey, but there is no authority higher than our own. There is no god or king over us, only logos.

    The restrictions to what we do other than logos, is human customs. In Rome do as the Romans do. All social animals have social agreements, and getting along means falling in line with those agreements. But even before kings sisters buried there brothers. There is an authority higher then human authority and this is the source of our freedom.

    If we are belligerent enough to go against all other human authority two things can happen. We will face rejection or we will convince others we are right. This seems to me crucial to our concept of freedom. In short, if you think you know "God's truth" and have the right to impose that on others, you are wrong!!!! You might win the war and destroy my people, but that still does not make you right. Only though reason and consensus can we determine what is right. The law above us is logos (reason), not human authority. Humans have social agreements and customs, but not the ultimate authority and our liberty depends on this understanding.
  • Athena
    947
    Presumably, everyone has the "right to property." The problem is some people don't have any. The right is used in justification of an essentially selfish position, though it is a right to which supposedly all are entitled.Ciceronianus the White


    Animals are territorial and they have to fight to claim their territory and keep it. I would say this is in our nature. It is a survival need. But what gives us an unquestioned right to land and resources cut out of the mother? The God Abraham gave only a small part of the earth to Hebrews, but I don't think this means unquestioned property rights for everyone. Native Americans held the notion that we don't have the right to claim pieces of earth for our selves. Violating the earth and taking her coal, gold, oil, and covering the land with concrete and blacktop, may be as much our right as raping a woman?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k


    Yes. I'm addressing what I think we can fairly call the modern view of rights, as something we're all entitled to regardless of the law. While I think it's possible to construe ancient law as including what may be called "rights" in some circumstances (like the fact a Roman citizen could appeal to the Emperor) to the extent it's based on consideration of what is due to a person under the law, legal rights are something I accept as "real" (there's not much choice after all).

    I think the notion that we're all entitled to rights regardless of the law wasn't an emphasis of natural law as it was considered by the ancient jurists and philosophers. Natural law to them established, and provided guidance in determining, right conduct. It didn't provide a basis on which various entitlements could be claimed and demanded by each individual.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k
    Rightfully so in my opinion. To me, refusing to interfere in such a manner is good conduct, and defending their rights even better. Censure and objection are not infringements on another’s right, however. An infringement would be some sort of unjust reprisal, like imprisonment.

    It is difficult to defend the rights of those who engage in objectionable conduct. But with practice it can be done and those who do so are moral and decent.
    NOS4A2

    On what basis is their conduct objectionable, if it doesn't involve infringing the rights of others?
  • Ciceronianus the White
    1.4k
    You skipped my Greek example of our rights being well understood in ancient times.Athena
    I don't understand how your example establishes the ancient Greeks believed in natural rights as distinguished from natural law.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment