Tuesday, April 05, 2005

What Does the Herald Know About Rights?

I have to say I'm stunned. The Herald this morning made me fall off my chair.

I had always thought one of the most difficult concepts of which we have to convince people is that rights cannot be multiplied beyond necessity.

I tried to make the point myself in a 1997 article, but this morning I find a Herald editorial making the point for me:
Human rights are typically rights that everyone can enjoy equally at no cost to others. Society can recognise and uphold certain rights and freedoms because they can be applied equally to everyone; they do not require some people to be awarded rights at the expense of others. Social rights are quite the opposite. They can be awarded only at the expense of others.
So I 'm stunned. I'd always thought that when it comes to fighting for a constitution that the most difficult job will be to fight for the exclusion of certain so-called 'rights.' Now I'm not so sure. After all, if the Herald understands the point...

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