Inalienable Rights -- a different question

It occurred to me that a parallel (or consequent?) discussion might also be held on the question of what difference it makes whether persons have inalienable rights. Which, though obviously related, is different from the question of how (or whether) we can or do have inalienable rights assuming for purposes of argument that this-or-that worldview is true concerning fundamental realities.

So I decided to create a discussion thread for that topic, too. {s!}



Jason Pratt said…
Just a comment-tracking comment.

adude said…
I don't think it matters unless people are willing to observe that you have those rights. This is how it works in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote to George III and Parliament not because they could not but grant those unalienable rights, but because they became "destructive of these ends".

The chief unalienable right he is citing is the right of the people to throw off an unjust government that becomes destructive to these other goals of prudent government by consent of the governed.

But they knew that they were in for a receptive audience. That why TJ ends it with "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

"Divine Providence" would be on their side if they made their case in accordance with "Divine Providence". Since for reasons in accord with it: "Governments are instituted among Men". It has to do with the whole intended design of the Creator, ultimately enforced by the powers of Divinity.

But until they won that victory, at a dear cost, they were not assured any such thing, other than it was Divine.

It might matter in the long run, the enduring nature/needs of man will reset the balance given enough time. But as Keynes said, in the long run, we're all dead.
Jason Pratt said…
{{I don't think it matters unless people are willing to observe that you have those rights.}}

This, btw, reminded me of a statement from George MacDonald about rights: "It is a very small matter to you whether the man give you your rights or not; it is life or death to you whether or not you give him his." (This was in answer to the imagined question, "I want nothing but my rights! What can matter to me more than my rights?" The immediate answer leading into the quote was, "Your duties--your debts.")

Comparison comment? (Keeping in mind that GMacD was a theist who didn't actually believe that we are the source of each others' rights, despite his wording. But I thought even his wording might be relevant to your position, especially as stated elsewhere. {s})


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