What Are Human Rights?

College of Political Knowledge

Subject:  Political Philosophy/Political Theory

Paper #35

Recently, Quin of Quintessential Havoc (an insightful thoughts that can be accessed from the blogroll) were having an exchange on the subject of human rights and as usual it got me thinking of the subject from a political philosophical point of view….the subject is one of those subjective things that normally means what the person talking wants it to mean…and yes…that would also pertain to me….for I do NOT have the secret knowledge that some of the others claim to possess.

Some claim that a welfare payment is a human right…while others think that democracy is a human right or…..well pick a thingy and someone will believe that it is a human right…..so, what is a human right?

A generic definition would be…..rights to which people are entitled by virtue of being human….universal and fundamental rights…..how is that?

Actually the term ‘human rights’ did not mean much until the 18th century and the “Age of Enlightenment” up until then it was discussed under the umbrella of  ‘natural rights’, if discussed at all.

So what rights can be called ‘human rights’?  to begin with….the right to life…basically, the right to receive the material necessary and essential for life (now this can be debated as to what is meant by ‘essential’…and it is already).  Second, FREEDOM….freedom in a generalized way…the freedom of thought, religion, association and movement are the ones that come quickly to mind.  And thirdly, PROPERTY….(this one is self-explanatory).  Fourth, are laws that concern the individual’s status as a citizen…these would include democratic rights (voting, etc).  The fifth in the series, RULE of LAW…..this would be the equal administration of the laws of the land…no arbitrary arrest and the right to a fair trail……there you go…..these are the rights that come to my mind when I hear the term used.

And yes, there are a few of them that can be debated on their precise meaning and that is for those above my pay grade…..but simply put…if a person understands the concepts then their rights cannot be taken from them…..