Country to country human rights laws are changing? or Common things are considered as human rights?
Nope. You can understand what natural human rights are. You'll note I say natural human rights and not human rights. The latter is an artificial construct and seems to be getting more and more inclusive, or exclusive, as the case may be.
In order to understand natural human rights, you really must be able to observe the natural world and see how things really work. Cultural relativism is just another way to say "Do as thou wilt". I'll even give you a free pass on one natural human right. Liberty. Surely you can find others.
If you look at things from the perspective of liberty, quite a few things change and probably not in the way you think it would.
Ledefenstech, I'm disappointed. I thought you understood that liberty is artificial. You read my father's article, right?
I'm pretty sure I said I disagreed with him on his dismissal of the findings of natural philosophers. In not, let me clarify that now. I've always been a fan of the natural philosophers because their ideas work. But then again, at heart I'm a utilitarian. If it works, don't screw with it.
If liberty were not a natural human right, then why do societies based on slave labor tend to be prone to uprisings and general discontent than societies based on free labor?
If liberty were natural, there would be no societies with slavery at all! Ever!
Incorrect. Humans have free will, which includes the ability to act against natural law. I'm sure we can all think of situations in which acting against the concept of liberty has had severe consequences.
You can cheat natural law for a time, but things have a habit of returning to the state of natural equilibrium.
If it were natural law, then it couldn't be cheated against at all.
What we have is cycles of relative freedom followed by relative tyranny followed by relative freedom and so on, ad infinitum. What I'm describing is a state of equilibrium. It's the pendulum's equilibrium.
Sure it could be cheated against. Look at paper money. Every time it's been adopted, you get rampant inflation and a destroyed currency. Every time. Yet people are willing to try over and over again to attempt a fiat currency. It's goes against the laws of classical economics, but people are free to go that direction.
What always seems to happen is that gold and silver are adopted as currency after the economic collapse of the fiat money system.
The reason we go back and forth between things like tyranny and freedom (or sound money vs fiat money) is because people forget. We've had a historical record for thousands of years, yet people still forget and attempt various pipe dreams.
Yet those attempts only prove the validity of those laws. If those laws didn't exist, what is the force that keeps pulling things towards equilibrium? Why not a society based on tyranny that lasts forever?
Because each generation starts anew. By their choices they can repeat the mistakes of their forefathers, proving that they have learned nothing or they can learn from the mistakes of the past and forge a new destiny. Even if they choose the latter, their descendants can always backslide. Witness what is going on in the US over the last century or so.
You did not convince me still. I can't say I will bet my life on it, but I do think that total freedom is possible only outside of society. And since homo sapience is a social animal, freedom is not natural to him.
And I honestly can't think of any "human right" that is not a product of agreement within certain community, therefore relative and artificial.
It sounds like you're going all Russian nihilistic on us, Misha. Believe me, I can understand why you feel the way that you do, but there are other traditions out there in the world that show, yes, freedom is the natural state of humanity. We just tend to muck it up because some of us think we know better.
Forgive me for being so un-eductional, but what is an artificial construct?
What a philosophical question!!
Is there a superordinate authority that dictates a universal code of human rights? Juicy!!
I give oodles of respect to cultural relativism and the idea that each act or belief must be considered within the context of the particular culture in which its taking place.
That said, I think waaaay too many crimes against humanity are justified or pushed from our consciousness by the cry of 'it's a cultural thing.'
For instance, mutilation of young girls' sexual parts is no less a human rights violation because its been indoctrinated into the culture and some of these girls have been brainwashed into thinking its okay.
Yet, I think that certain rite-of-passage rituals that Euro-christian cultures might see as barbaric are very much a 'cultural thing' and should be honored as such. (I speak about ceremonies where young men are scarred or put through tests of endurance).
It can be a sticky argument, when you pick and choose which cases are justifiable on the grounds of cultural difference and which are outright violations of that universal standard of how we treat one another.
What is your take?
Well there is a Universal Declaration of Human rights that all countries that are a part of the UN must follow. Whether they do or not...
Roobee, are you saying that mutilating girls' private parts is a human rights violation, but mutilating boys' private parts is not?
No, but that is exactly the conundrum that I was trying to get at.
By rites-of-passage, I mean things like the Sun Dance or Vision Quest that some Native American young people go through at certain points in life. The Maori tattooing. Things like that.
The Sun Dance -for instance -is brutal, painful, and could be looked at as quite horrid by outsiders. However, the men choose to participate in it (yes, it could be argued that they only do so because they have been essentially brainwashed by their own leaders).
As for the genital mutilation, it is not okay by me for that to occur to a male OR a female. These are cases where cultural relativism is a (poor) excuse to commit acts of abuse. The lack of education provided such victims serves only to perpetuate the farce that it is somehow a matter of culture.
I don't think I'm being clear because there is no clear-cut answer to this question. But in direct answer to your question: A resounding NO!!!
Edit: Are you referring to circumcision as performed in developed countries (which is very different than the female genital mutilation I'm thinking of)?
Okay, I'm glad we agree that it doesn't matter if you're a girl or a boy.
Now, you seem to be bringing up another issue: does it matter whether it is done under medical supervision and/or anesthetic in a clean and hygienic manner?
No, I don't think that matters, either.
Would you support female circumcision in a hospital by a surgeon?
Sorry - had to exit for a while, just getting back.
The form of circumcision practiced by surgeons today does not inhibit the boy's sexual function or ability to feel pleasure once he does become sexually active whereas removal of a girl's clitoris - well, not much elaboration is needed there.
So, no - I would not support female circumcision even if it were performed in sanitary conditions unless there were some very very compelling hygenic reasoning behind it that I'm as yet unaware of.
On the subject, while I did decide to have my son circumcised it was only after much soul-searching and consulting with other males (both 'cut' and 'uncut' ones). A good friend of mine opted not to have it done on his boy and I very much respect his decision & I really don't think either of us is 'right or wrong.' I also, of course, collaborated with my son's father since he had some good insights that I as a woman hadn't even considered.
On another note, I'm all intrigued by this talk of your father's writing. I'll have to check it out!!!
I believe FGM was labeled as a human rights violation. It has to do more with the process and its effects. Completely different than circumscision. But thats a whole different conversation.
LOL Aya, I'm afraid you opened a can. It is really a holy cow here.
Roobee, I appreciate your clarification. While I would never have any child of mine, of either sex, circumcised, I respect the right of other parents to make different decisions.
The article by my father that deals with the fact that liberty is a delicate artificial construct is called "Liberty and Justice: Why, How and for Whom." It's kind of dry and not to everybody's taste, but it explores what conditions are necessary for us to have freedom.
I posted a thread on natural law in this forum...check it out for what this guy has to say...it is a basis for this conversation.
Here's the link by Tom Mullen on a Ron Paul site
I can't talk scholarly about it, but I know when I read something what it means to me or doesn't mean.
It is exactly what the problem is now with the TEA partiers and the democrats that don't seem to understand what the basis of the TEA stuff is all about...which is getting back to the constitutional perspective on rights as natural laws and what our government has twisted out of those laws.
Rights and freedoms...mans laws and natural(God's) laws..its what everyone is not talking about except in this forum...it's exactly what needs to be talked about and sorted out for everyone to get on the same page...or at least on the same chapter
here;s another one tdarby put out in the same thread
We may get back to it later LDT, when I get a better grip on it, so far my thoughts on the matter are quite cursory.
And you know, it's not like there's a whole lot of "rights" floating around out there. I can winnow them down to three. The right to live where you choose to live, the right to associate with whom you want to associate with and the right to do the work you want to do. The only limitation in exercising your rights is that you do not,by force, prevent another from exercising their three rights.
It's pretty simple and pat, not as at all complicated as some would have us believe.
This answer depends on what race of people you're talking about.Rights to live where you want to live is not granted to everyone.You might want to associate with others and you get excluded from that group.You might want a certain job and the people could still exclude you from the position.So it seems pointless when the majority fight for freedom to choice.
Ledfensetech, those are odd rights. We don't have the right to live where we choose. For instance, we have no right to live on someone else's property. We don't have the right to choose whom we associate with. If people don't want to associate with us, they don't have to. We don't get to choose the work we do -- because if we do not have the material resources to do the work, we can't do it. We can't chop wood if we don't own it and the person who does won't let us. We can't sweep floors, if the person who owns the floors won't hire us. We can't be a pilot if we don't own a plane and no one hires us to fly theirs.
The real rights are all negative:
1) to refuse to live where we don't wish to
2) to refuse to associate with others
3) to refuse to work at something if we don't want to
The reason you don't have the right to live on someone else's property is because that would violate their right to live where they wanted. If they both want to live on the same plot of land, they'll have to work it out between themselves. Why do you think we have land auctions?
All of your examples are really examples of people violating the rights of others, so they aren't really rights. I wonder why it is we both see the same thing, but come to it from opposite directions?
Ledefensetech, you ask: "I wonder why it is we both see the same thing, but come to it from opposite directions?"
Well, I think we both share much of the same values, but I insist on stating things logically. You can't logically say that someone has the right to do something that involves someone else's rights. That's what you were doing.
This is important, because then liberals can come and twist your words about having the right to decide where you live and turn it into the right to free housing. They can twist your idea of the right to decide what work you will do and turn it into the right to have a job. They can take your idea about free association and turn it into forced desegregation of private clubs....
It's important to say exactly what you mean.
I'm pretty sure that's what I said when I stated that your rights end where another person's begin. And let's be honest. A progressive will twist things however they will because they believe the ends justify the means. No amount of logic or stating things a certain way is going to change that. The only thing we can do is call them on their stupidity.
I'm also pretty sure I said something about you do not, by force, keep someone else from exercising their rights. So no forced desegregation there.
It all still does not in any way prove that those are natural rights.
What a question Aya katz. I hopw tranquility in a society governed by rules and regulation. Whether it is protecting the individual human rights ? That is the question?
Depends on how much you align your society with natural rights. Look at the North vs South in the antebellum US. The north was pretty tranquil until Kansas-Nebraska. The south always had a great fear of servitor insurrection. That's why slavery here became so brutal. Indeed in any slavery situation where the owners fear insurrection, they will become more brutal in order to cow the populace, but that will only have the effect of inciting further subversive behavior.
I'm not a sociologist and haven't studied the subject, but I find this all very interesting, and everyone's comments very interesting. I don't think societies and cultures that are widely separated geographically and environmentally have all that much in common when it comes to what consists of human rights.
Western thinking is more towards individual rights and freedoms in a society; that the individuals in the society should be protected from bodily harm and free from the tyranny of physical intimidation, that children should be educated; that the individual adults have the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", in any way they see fit so long as it doesn't interfere with someone else's way.
Other societies are more communal. There is an established hierarchy inside a small, tribal community. Individual freedom is not so important as the well-being of the community as a whole, and there are positions with more privileges in the village hierarchy and positions with much fewer privileges, where individual rights and freedoms are practically non-existent. A person from that culture and environment would think we all here are joking. The whole community's survival depends on everyone fulfilling their function in it, whether that individual likes it or not. And no individual can survive at all outside the community.
So yes, I think (though my opinion doesn't qualify for much as I haven't studied the subject) that human rights are culture-based and aren't inherent in human nature.
Have you ever considered the fact that because we respect the rights of the individual, this explains our great wealth vis a vis the societies which are more communal?
Umm, that's a slippery one LDT. Your great wealth is owned by Chinese nowadays, a nation which is much more communal. And this is in addition to their own not-too-small wealth.
The reason they have so much wealth is because they've been moving to more free markets. Look at the US, we've been moving along to more controlled markets for decades now and how rich are we?
Are we talking human rights or free markets? Not exactly the same
Liberty is the essential human right. You can't have liberty without free markets. Let's say that they are associated with each other. Liberty being the right and free markets being an example of liberty.
As far as I know, Chinese have zero liberty. Or close to zero.
I'd say they're about where the Eastern Block was in the early 1980's. Too many people are making too much money and communications tech is starting to make inroads in China. It was communications tech which really brought down the USSR. Heck Misha, you were taught by the Soviets, when did you find out that what you were taught was not exactly the truth?
I think it did not look right from the very beginning. I was asking tough questions in middle school already I believe. Lucky me my teachers were decent people
That's why I said "as far as I know". Are you Chinese? Or did you visit them recently? Bring some light in. Judging by communist party still in power, their liberties likely are still very limited - but again, this is just my educated guess.
I am not a Chinese. After Soviet Union collapse, really there is a big change in china, regarding freedom for fashion dressing like Europe.And I came to know, they too adopt the other cultures. Even By interacting with Chinese , I do not feel they are suppressed. May be percentage of liberty is varies. It cannot be Zero at all.
Hi Sarovai. Sorry, I missed on your response.
Of course I did not mean literally zero, it was a metaphor. But in relation to Western countries, and even Russia, they seem to have much less freedom over there, even though it is definitely better than it was last in the half of the last century.
Funny enough, China seems to do much better economically then Russia, and that did puzzle me a lot until I got rid of assumption that free market assumes other freedoms. It does not. China has freer market than Russia does.
Some extent, Chinese are restricted in enjoying freedom in the homeland because of the communism. But they are not fully bounded.
It's a continuum, Misha. If freedom is on the right and totalitarianism on the left, the Chinese are moving to the right and the US is moving towards the left. Unless things change, sooner or later, we'll pass each other. Kind of ironic when you think about it. The reason the Chinese are doing better economically is because they're shedding their state owned enterprises. Didn't Putin start nationalizing certain industries after he took power? If so, there's your answer.
Freedom is neither on the right nor on the left. The right takes personal liberty away, but allows economic freedom. The left takes economic liberty away, but allows personal freedom in some areas.
China is very, very corrupt. They are wallowing in economic freedom without the ethics that can make it work.
My example was just that, an example. A way to visualize how people can drift from freedom to slavery, if you will. Left and Right have certain connotations that are useful in describing this phenomenon, nothing more.
You're correct that the political left and right in this country want to control certain aspects of national life, but I'd say they both take away freedoms. The freedoms you say they "give" are areas that don't concern them, so they don't create laws addressing those areas. I'd not even say the right allows economic freedom, it allows the economy to move along according to their whim, not what people would freely choose. Same thing goes for the left. They allow only "their" type of economic life to occur. I'd even go so far as to say that without true economic freedom, you cannot have personal freedom.
The political right and left in this country are both based on control. Neither allows any true freedom, personal or economic.
The Chinese people have 'ethics' as much as any people.
Ethics develops over time. You can't set someone free one day and expect him to know how to handle the freedom the very next day. "A servant when he reigneth..."
China may surprise us in the future. If they can avoid going the route of Russia, they may have a society based on genuine freedom. Confucianism notwithstanding there's no real philosophical barriers that keep them from setting up a society based on liberty. By all accounts they've had that before. It almost allowed them to colonize the New World, before the succeeding dynasty cut off all contact with the outside world.
I know people who have relatives in China. There's corruption even in the free trade. There are kick-backs. There's reward for immediate results without quality control. It's a big market, and the work ethic isn't in place. People who are damaged can't spread the news by word of mouth, because they don't know one another. A free market develops better in a small, intimate society where dishonest people are shunned and nobody can ever live anything down.
These are all symptoms of a newly free market. Market forces need time to get rid of bad actors on the stage. It will be telling to see if some Chinese entrepreneur sets up some sort of standards evaluation company like UL or Consumer Reports. Companies like those are how you keep quality up in a free market. That's how you get around the whole, "small, intimate village" thinking. Besides, how do you explain the antebellum North being free market and not having the problems that China has?
Ledefensetech, the antebellum North had just recently stepped outside the small village scenario.
BTW, real ethics are internal. They are internalized because of the village mentality, but once internalized, they are self-enforcing and do not require external monitoring.
External monitoring is to get rid of the bad apples -- not to reform them.
So when I was describing the village mentality, I was describing the way ethics evolves in a community. It's not how an individual acquires ethics, though.
Ledefensetech, now I'm confused. You think people settled the wilderness one by one with no contact between settlers?
No they created communities, but many of them had no shared history, culture, even language in some cases. Ethics are based on the individual. Now communities can have standards, but most of that is based on market forces too. The market looks for what works for the greatest number of people. Those bits of cultural baggage that are useless in your new home, you get rid of and you adapt what you can to the community.
Community and individual standards are not always congruent.
Ledefensetech, of course, individual variation happens in every community. But the ethics we learn as children are usually what we observe in our families and communities.
My point was that ethical deterioration takes several generations, so that when somebody from the village first moves to the city, he's likely to more honest. It's the country bumpkin effect.
Likewise, for somebody who has lived all his life in a corrupt environment to learn to live in a situation that is more free requires time.
In Taiwan, even though they have a free market, there's no toilet paper in the public restrooms. The bank will not allow you to deposit a cashier's check into your savings account without a surety. Why do you suppose that is?
Probably prudent measures due to experience. I don't know about country bumpkin. I know some pretty shady farmboys around here. They're as corrupt as the worst of humanity I saw on the north side of St. Louis.
The degree to which we trust others is partially cultural. In some cultures theft of articles in public places is more common. In those countries, the slots for the toilet paper roll to hang on, the the dispenser for soap to be dispensed, and the spot for paper towels to be pulled out are present, but the toilet paper, soap and towels are absent.
Culture dictates human rights. There was a time in the US and other countries where slavery was culturally ignored or outright accepted. There was a time in the US where certain Humans did not have the right to fully participate in society. In some cases by Law. There have been some cases in US history where humans could not even determine who they associated with, where they lived or where they worked. Human rights are established by society. Each society is influenced by culture, tradition and resources. Just my opinion.
i agree, cultural norms are one of the the basis of political laws
That's not quite correct. By embracing slavery, the South ignored human rights. The North came to hate slavery because of the inconsistency between the supreme value of liberty enshrined in the Revolution and began agitating for abolition. The main problem wasn't even economic, as post-Civil War history shows. The main problem was the 3/5 rule that gave the South much more political power than they would have had otherwise.
To be fair, most of the Founders though slavery was on its way out. Indeed Washington went so far as to manumit his slaves. Nobody at the time of the Convention could have foreseen the cotton gin and the effects it would have on slavery.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_sl … #Abolition
Note especially the part where the Arabs continued the slave trade long after it was abolished in the West. Indeed by the time of the Civil War it was only the US and Brazil, among the Western powers who still had slaves. It doesn't include the Arabic states or, indeed, even China and the rest of the Far East.
What your describing is how society defines and redefines human rights. They are dynamic not static. Therefore proving that society defines human rights based on culture, traditions and resources. When any of these three aspects of a society are changed the definitions of human rights are changed. Your reply speaks directly to resources, i.e. the cotton gin. The south by the way was not the only part of the union that embraced slavery or ignored human rights(as we know them today), but thats another topic.
If human rights are dynamic, then why have all slaveholding cultures around the world had to guard against slave insurrection? The Spartans weren't natural warriors, they had to be in order to keep the helots in line. How many servitor wars did Rome have? How many whites survived the slave uprising in Haiti? Why did South Carolina become so draconian in regards to educating slaves? (Hint: Haiti, that's why John Brown was so vilified in the South).
If human rights are dynamic, why can you not set up a society that uses the opposite of some of the Ten Commandments like "Thou shalt not steal" or "Thou shalt not murder" or even "Thou shalt not covet your neighbors goods". How long will a society which condones thievery, murder or covetousness last?
Now if you said that our understanding of human rights changes over time, you'd be correct, and I think that, really, is what you mean. It's not fashionable to state a belief in natural law, but if you look at our long term cultural beliefs: individualism, compassion, etc. all of those fall into categories that society needs in order to function well.
I don't think that's a majority of Americans, after all three quarters of the population had nothing to do with electing Obama. His support is more slender than he supposes. When "the other half" wakes up, well I suppose the Progressives will feel much like Japan did after they awoke the "sleeping giant".
we can avoid ethnocentrism by looking at other culture and not imposing our values to them, I see that killing is universally acknowledged as wrong while female circumcision? (we should respect them for their set of values). what about piercing, wrestling etc????
I think there is a much simpler answer to this question:
Survival dictates our human rights. Perhaps that is obvious, but it seems like an important foundation to then build up the rest of the answer.
Survival is the most important thing to a human (or indeed any animal). It is completely inherent and natural. We don't need to be told to survive our body does it for us completely sub-consciously.
The biggest threat to our survival (that we have any control over) is other people. This is why we have laws and rights. If you don't want threats on your life then you mustn't threaten others.
I think at this point rights become culture based. Different cultures have different ideas of how to protect life. Like someone said earlier, in the west we are more individual, capitalist. We want to look after ourselves, rely on ourselves. Whereas in other parts of the world, tribes and communities believe that working together and depending on each other is the way to go.
I think the problem now (certainly in England) is that the government is pushing the boundaries of freedom and safety. Things like ID cards are supposed to keep us safer from the threat of terrorism, and CCTV cameras too. But people feel like they are losing their freedom. The more important question now is how to find the balance of protecting our rights to life and protecting our rights to freedom!!
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