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Thread: Human Rights, What Society Owes Us, and Do We Owe Society Anything?

  1. #1

    Human Rights, What Society Owes Us, and Do We Owe Society Anything?

    So this may be a bit of an odd tier'ed-question thread.

    We've yammered here for ages on man y things, and we all (at times) listen to political radio, and we all read many political sources.

    One recurrent theme I have seen over the years from "the left" of american Politics is on human rights and what we, as a society, owe people as basic fundamental rights/services, to be provided by Government.

    The list, best as I can tell is:

    Right to Life/Control of One's Body
    Right to Food
    Right to Shelter
    Right to Healthcare
    Right to Education

    Now, I've heard other things banded about too (Right to Internet Access, for example), but those 5 seem to be the core of Liberalism as it views the things the State/Society owes each individual.

    So my first question is aimed at liberals:

    1. Do you agree with that, or no? Does the State/Society owe us these things (the 5 listed above), or do they owe us less/more, etc. What is yoru view?

    Secondly, assuming society does owe some ro all of those things to the people, I have two questions of follow-up:

    1. Do the people owe society anything in return, and if so, what specificly?

    2. If the answer to #1 above is "yes", what is the solution for people who do not give to society what they owe?

    I'm not looking to debate here (myself, I don't speak for others here). So I don't intend to reply unless you need to ask me somethign specific or get clarity on a question.

    What I want to do here is understand what liberals (our wide assortment of them) think on this, because it's different than what I think. Rather than be critical, I want to hear from you how you see these things and why, and under what basis, and how it should be handled. So I can understand the other side better, and perhaps see some of what you see.

  2. #2
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    I'll take a stab at this, despite not being categorized as a "liberal".

    There are many things (shelter, food, health care) that I believe every man has a right to have the [I]opportunity[/I] to have.

    I believe that it is my personal responsibility to [I]voluntarily[/I] assist in providing those opportunities to my fellow man that does not have the ability to provide them for him/herself.

    That decision is one that I make, and I make alone, as my personal decisions are also an inherent human right, as long as those decisions do not infinge upon the rights of another human being.

    Once the [B]highest level [/B]of government is making those decisions for me, a human right of mine has been violated.

    No surprises there I guess.

  3. #3
    No to Healthcare and Education. Half the young people in the inner city graduate as dumb as a rock. Why pay for something they don't care about!

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=JetPotato;4164520]I'll take a stab at this, despite not being categorized as a "liberal".

    There are many things (shelter, food, health care) that I believe every man has a right to have the [I]opportunity[/I] to have.

    I believe that it is my personal responsibility to [I]voluntarily[/I] assist in providing those opportunities to my fellow man that does not have the ability to provide them for him/herself.

    That decision is one that I make, and I make alone, as my personal decisions are also an inherent human right, as long as those decisions do not infinge upon the rights of another human being.

    Once the [B]highest level [/B]of government is making those decisions for me, a human right of mine has been violated.

    No surprises there I guess.[/QUOTE]

    Also not a liberal by any estimation, but I mostly agree with the above. Solid post, JP.

    My (admittedly) biased opinion with regards to the disabled is where my view diverges, however. As a civilized society, I feel it is our duty to care for those who are incapable of doing so for themselves. This includes providing shelter, food, healthcare, education and rights. The last one I included as it is all too often overlooked (and neglected). All too often, these same people are unable to contribute their "fair share" to society, which in turn tends to make them the first to suffer cuts and abuses, making them what is known as "disposable people". The intellectual part of me recognizes that in nature Darwinism trumps all, but I feel that as human beings we are required to transcend those instincts and provide help and comfort to those who may benefit the most from it, even if they can never express their gratitude for it, much less reciprocate.

    So basically, yes, I feel in that instance the government should set those guidelines and all citizens should be okay with that. Sorry for the syrupy post.:O

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Jetworks;4164725]Also not a liberal by any estimation, but I mostly agree with the above. Solid post, JP.

    My (admittedly) biased opinion with regards to the disabled is where my view diverges, however. As a civilized society, I feel it is our duty to care for those who are incapable of doing so for themselves. This includes providing shelter, food, healthcare, education and rights. The last one I included as it is all too often overlooked (and neglected). All too often, these same people are unable to contribute their "fair share" to society, which in turn tends to make them the first to suffer cuts and abuses, making them what is known as "disposable people". The intellectual part of me recognizes that in nature Darwinism trumps all, but I feel that as human beings we are required to transcend those instincts and provide help and comfort to those who may benefit the most from it, even if they can never express their gratitude for it, much less reciprocate.

    So basically, yes, I feel in that instance the government should set those guidelines and all citizens should be okay with that. Sorry for the syrupy post.:O[/QUOTE]

    I agree with JP and with JW's amendment. The only problem with the amendment is where do you draw the line and who is the judge of where someone falls on that line. It is a slippery slope on the one side where someone with Asthema or the guy with the diaper fetish end up on permanent disability when in all reality they can and should be working. On the other side is making the line too harsh and not providing for those that need help.

    This is why I think the Federal government is too far removed to make such decisions. States would be better but then I have to ask why the government needs to be the one providing. Isn't this something that could/should be done at the community level? Charities, churches, families, etc I think could better serve the needy. Of course then we come to the question of will people be served and have to assume someone will fall through the cracks, not that the cracks aren't there with the government either.

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=JetPotato;4164520]I'll take a stab at this, despite not being categorized as a "liberal".

    There are many things (shelter, food, health care) that I believe every man has a right to have the [I]opportunity[/I] to have.

    I believe that it is my personal responsibility to [I]voluntarily[/I] assist in providing those opportunities to my fellow man that does not have the ability to provide them for him/herself.

    That decision is one that I make, and I make alone, as my personal decisions are also an inherent human right, as long as those decisions do not infinge upon the rights of another human being.

    Once the [B]highest level [/B]of government is making those decisions for me, a human right of mine has been violated.

    No surprises there I guess.[/QUOTE]


    You get a bravo for the two magic words: OPPORTUNITY and VOLUNTARILY. Opportunity cannot be denied to anyone.
    The government's responsibility is to provide general security - military and law enforcement, a judicial system, an educational system (locally though) and a monetary system. Plus coordination among the states and international relations.
    As citizens, I believe we currently do far too little for what we are provided. Some from a tax perspective (as in zero taxes). Some with lack of service (either miliatry or volunteer).

  7. #7
    It's dissapointing that not a single one of our left-leaning posters even took a shot at this.:(

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=Trades;4165208]I agree with JP and with JW's amendment. The only problem with the amendment is where do you draw the line and who is the judge of where someone falls on that line. It is a slippery slope on the one side where someone with Asthema or the guy with the diaper fetish end up on permanent disability when in all reality they can and should be working. On the other side is making the line too harsh and not providing for those that need help.[/QUOTE]

    Generally speaking, the government is going to make those determinations based on the advice of the medical professionals serving in the various associated agencies (HHS, NIH, CDC, FDA etc.). Will all the choices be correct? Of course not, science is constantly challenging itself and with that comes new information, not to mention the usual political wrangling that will certainly interfere.

    Level of disability is a pretty straightforward affair. Where you start to see variations is on the local level, and not always for the better.

    AFAIK, asthma is not considered disability. It would not prevent one from being gainfully employed or receiving an education. I'm not talking about some guy that slipped some disks in his back, I'm talking profound disability, both neurological and physical.

    [QUOTE=Trades;4165208]This is why I think the Federal government is too far removed to make such decisions. States would be better but then I have to ask why the government needs to be the one providing. Isn't this something that could/should be done at the community level? Charities, churches, families, etc I think could better serve the needy. Of course then we come to the question of will people be served and have to assume someone will fall through the cracks, not that the cracks aren't there with the government either.[/QUOTE]

    Many states have shown that they are not capable (or willing) to do anything beyond what is required of them by law when it comes to serving the disabled. Some states are better than others, but there is usually a lack of services or someone being under-served all too often. The thing is, it's very expensive to care for a disabled person. For instance, a Harvard study concluded that the societal cost for caring for one child with autism will be approximately $3.2 million in medical and non-medical costs over the course of their life. When one considers that there are over 1 million people currently diagnosed with autism in this country, that number is, quite frankly, frightening. It is certainly out of the reach of any charity or family.

    Clearly the federal government (and by proxy, the states) is the only entity capable of taking this on. As to whether or not they will do an adequate job is for the individual to determine. For now, it's the best we have. If we are to "pass the buck", on the disabled, the days of mass institutionalization and mercy killings will return.
    Last edited by Jetworks; 09-29-2011 at 10:16 AM.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=Warfish;4165228]It's dissapointing that not a single one of our left-leaning posters even took a shot at this.:([/QUOTE]

    believe it or not Warfish, I have been thinking about this thread before I respond.

    my short answer is it depends on what kind of society you want to run

    do we want a no-frills society with Hyundai level services or do we want a deluxe society with Lexus level services?

    this is not a rhetorical question. not all societies are equal. for some back woods place it's probably not feasible to be all things to all people and have a robust safety net, free healthcare, free education and oh yeah the best military in the world. Something usually has to give and for most places it's the military. The USA has a Navy 14x larger than the next biggest Navy, that's not typical. Meanwhile in Uruguay there is free education K-12, college and masters. But they are not a military power. Guns vs Butter is Macro economics 101.

    So that question comes with choices and for the most part we have chosen to invest in guns instead of butter. But make no mistake for the price of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we could have free healthcare, free education and money to spare. we are building an f35 fighter jet for use against no obvious enemy. it's about choices, we can't do it all and each society will have different priorities. We have chosen to have a 5 star military and a 3 star safety net that's the choice our leaders made over the years.

    You didn't include right to defense in that list but it's certainly on there. For the USA it's priority #1.
    Last edited by bitonti; 09-29-2011 at 10:19 AM.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=bitonti;4165256]believe it or not Warfish, I have been thinking about this thread before I respond.

    my short answer is it depends on what kind of society you want to run

    do we want a no-frills society with Hyundai level services or do we want a deluxe society with Lexus level services?

    this is not a rhetorical question. not all societies are equal. for some back woods place it's probably not feasible to be all things to all people and have a robust safety net, free healthcare, free education and oh yeah the best military in the world. Something usually has to give and for most places it's the military. The USA has a Navy 14x larger than the next biggest Navy, that's not typical. Meanwhile in Uruguay there is free education K-12, college and masters. But they are not a military power. Guns vs Butter is Macro economics 101.

    So that question comes with choices and for the most part we have chosen to invest in guns instead of butter. But make no mistake for the price of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we could have free healthcare, free education and money to spare. we are building an f35 fighter jet for use against no obvious enemy. it's about choices, we can't do it all and each society will have different priorities. We have chosen to have a 5 star military and a 3 star safety net that's the choice our leaders made over the years.

    You didn't include right to defense in that list but it's certainly on there. For the USA it's priority #1.[/QUOTE]

    I don't want to be rude Bit, but while I'm pleased you replied and I thank you, I would have preferred you actually answer the questions posed on the issue. Your post is fine, but it didn't address any of what I asked and wanted to find out.

    Are the listed rights human rights or not?
    If they are, do the people owe society anything in exchange?
    If they do, what if the individuals don't live up to their side?

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4165281]I don't want to be rude Bit, but while I'm pleased you replied and I thank you, I would have preferred you actually answer the questions posed on the issue. Your post is fine, but it didn't address any of what I asked and wanted to find out.

    Are the listed rights human rights or not?
    If they are, do the people owe society anything in exchange?
    If they do, what if the individuals don't live up to their side?[/QUOTE]

    Not to mention that Bit is totally wrong about Hyundai! Have you seen the Equus? $65k and loaded with ammenities!

    [URL]http://www.hyundaiusa.com/equus/[/URL]

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=Warfish;4165281]
    Are the listed rights human rights or not?
    If they are, do the people owe society anything in exchange?
    If they do, what if the individuals don't live up to their side?[/QUOTE]

    You talk in generalities like society and humanity and I'm telling you, that despite the preamble to the Declaration there are no fundamental and unalienable basic human rights that are guaranteed for all people all the time.

    there are only rights, in specific, as set up by each government, and paid for by the taxes of the people.

    different situations call for different policies.

    for example:
    [LIST][*]we have the right to free speech, except when it's a national security issue. [*]We have the right to live, except when a criminal grand jury decides we don't. [*]We have the right to food, except when we run out of food. [*]We have the right to own people as slaves, until we decide that's wrong.[/LIST]

    The contract between any gov't and it's people is open to negotiation and exception and in the case of constitutional republic like the USA, it's a constant conversation.

    I am not going to sit here and say there are absolute rights that are non-negotiable, everything is negotiable. it depends on the circumstances.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=Trades;4165295]Not to mention that Bit is totally wrong about Hyundai! Have you seen the Equus? $65k and loaded with ammenities!

    [URL]http://www.hyundaiusa.com/equus/[/URL][/QUOTE]

    lol fair enough I was thinking like 1984 excel but the new ones i've heard are very nice

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=bitonti;4165309]I am not going to....say there are absolute rights that are non-negotiable, everything is negotiable.[/QUOTE]

    Then that was your answer. Question #1 (Are they human rights?) your opinion is no, they're not, there are no inalianable human rights, all rights are negotiable and stem from the Government at any given time.

    I wasn't trying to trip you or fool you Bit, but your penchant for not simply answering a direct question directly makes any understanding of how you think difficult. Not every question is a trap.

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=Warfish;4165328] Not every question is a trap.[/QUOTE]

    [IMG]http://ecdn3.hark.com/images/000/001/085/1085/original.jpg[/IMG]

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=bitonti;4165404][IMG]http://ecdn3.hark.com/images/000/001/085/1085/original.jpg[/IMG][/QUOTE]

    [IMG]http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSwSKOqdOyrozYxbj1y5wA5FeLqy843hUTmELkHKWqXtTtfSZad3b2-9UjT[/IMG]

  17. #17
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    Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man, and he was correct on the most fundamental level:

    Life
    Liberty
    Pursuit of Happiness

    Everything else is icing on the cake.

  18. #18
    [QUOTE=parafly;4165508]Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man, and he was correct on the most fundamental level:

    Life
    Liberty
    Pursuit of Happiness

    Everything else is icing on the cake.[/QUOTE]

    Except best of luck getting a mutually societally agreed upon definition of vague terms such as "life" or "persuit of happiness".

    Hence why the OP was very specific.

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;4165529]Except best of luck getting a mutually societally agreed upon definition of vague terms such as "life" or "persuit of happiness".

    Hence why the OP was very specific.[/QUOTE]

    Life seems fairly cut and dry to me, and you have it as your #1 right in the OP as well.

    Of course, pursuit of happiness is much more difficult to define in concrete terms, but in my mind that's the beauty of it.

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=parafly;4165536]Life seems fairly cut and dry to me, and you have it as your #1 right in the OP as well.[/quote]

    Tell that to the crowd debating abortion and assisted suicide.

    Life means the State cannot kill you without cause. End of story.

    [quote]Of course, pursuit of happiness is much more difficult to define in concrete terms, but in my mind that's the beauty of it.[/QUOTE]

    Of course it is, vague terms mean they can be twisted to suit whatever cause or policy one is persuing.

    For example, 100% taxation and Redistribution is mandatory, so all citizens can be provided with an equal chance to persue their happiness! How could anyone disagree with providing the baisc human right?

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