Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Right Stuff

Barack Obama was just on the TV talking about basic human rights.

Basic.  Human. Rights.

It's something that is considered fundamental to any society; people having rights to certain things:

The Basic Human Rights

The fundamental human rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and adopted by the Human Rights Act include:
  • The right to life, (not an absolute right); prohibition of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; prohibition of slavery, (both absolute rights); abolition of the death penalty.
  • The right to liberty and security, to a fair trial and to no punishment without law.
  • The right to respect for private and family life; the right to marry; the protection of property; the right to education.
  • Freedom of thought and religion; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly; right to free elections.
  • The prohibition on discrimination in the application of these human rights.
What strikes me as  highly ironic though is that all of these rights are only liberties that need to be defended and protected from other humans. It's interesting too, that none of these rights are actually automatic.  In fact all of them are restricted in law.  Everyone has a right to all these things.... unless the law says otherwise.  So, not exactly a right then... more an arbitrary application that can be changed if the law is amended.

There was a billboard recently that said: Children have a right to play.  Do they?  Who is going to enforce that?  Who defines what a child is? Who defines what play is?

What precisely is a 'right'? If we assert that there is a 'right' to something it is saying that there is an assumption of automatic privilege.  That no-one should be impeded in the execution of the right.  But all of the above rights,  and those of other countries, exist only to protect people against other people!

Take, for instance, the United States Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Ignoring for now the fact that rights are endowed by a creator.... it's interesting that the rights are life, liberty and the 'pursuit' of Happiness.  Not happiness itself, just the right to pursue it.  Pretty empty right, I'd say. In fact not really a right, more an endeavour!

You can pursue happiness, but you don't have a right to it?    Stuff that.

I say 'Down with Rights - Rights are Wrong'.  Be happy (or not) regardless of whether a constitution says you do or do not have the right to pursue it. In fact, I'd say that pursuing happiness pretty much precludes it, cos looking for it means you aren't happy. Only when you stop looking can there be happiness (whatever that is).

Oh, and here's the link to the Barack Obama song:


  1. You actually watched a whole speech of his? How pathetic! :)

    What a loon that guy is. Making a big ol' mess of things, and not just here in the States! Gave your Queen an iPod full of his speeches... believe that? What a tool!

    Hey, how ya durn?

  2. No. I didn't watch the WHOLE speech, Mike.

    I gather you're not a fan... ;-)

    I'm durn good. You?

  3. Nope, not a fan.

    I'm wonderful!

  4. Well, that's good to hear!