Human Rights?

Is this a human right?

[Cross-posted at City of God.]

“Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women…” ~ From the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Here is something that I wonder: does Western civilization have a coherent argument for the existence of human rights?

How do we determine what is a right?

An article on the Mises.org blog from a while back raised this question in a vivid manner:

Every once in a while, something comes along that perfectly encapsulates the idea of so-called “social justice” in action. For all the wonderful critiques that have been written about this wretched concept by its many detractors, none quite match the elegant simplicity of a recent work by some of its advocates. I am referring here to a recent video made for the World Day of Social Justice in which students and teachers complete this sentence:

Everyone has the right to _____. Continue reading

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While helping the poor, remember to be human

[Originally posted here: While helping the poor, remember to be human]

Steve Hays recently wrote a post analyzing Peter Singer’s (the infamous advocate for infanticide) arguments about poverty. To briefly sum it up: Singer argues on a strictly utilitarian principle that every dollar earned beyond what someone absolutely needs should be given to the poor. No doubt, even if we haven’t read Singer’s arguments, many readers of this blog will have heard this logic expressed by a well-intentioned person at some point in their travels.

Now, Steve already replied along some lines, focusing partly on biblical principles and partly on ones of common sense, that would problematise Singer’s argument. But I wanted to suggest another possible line of response.

Stuart Brown (M.D.) and Christopher Vaughan have written a book about the function of play in the life of human beings (with some mention of its presence in other species as well), arguing about how important it is for human flourishing. They even spend time showing that some business managers have recognized this fact of human nature and have incorporated it into their businesses in some way or another, to good benefit for productivity.

These facts about human nature, then, would seem to suggest another problem with Singer’s position. For, if as all business-people know, “time is money”, by Singer’s logic, we should never spend any time playing. Yet, Brown and Vaughan have shown that play is necessary and beneficial for psychological flourishing and for productivity. The unavoidable conclusion from their work is that, in some sense, human beings need to spend some of their resources on play, rather than only charity, to be the best people they can be. Thus, Singer’s logic will inadvertently, if obeyed, lead to people being less helpful for the poor than they would be if they behaved more like human beings, and less like machines for helping the poor.

And in case the true darkness of such a Singerian ethically pure world escapes anyone, consider what Brown and Vaughan say:

The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.

If that seems to be a big claim, consider what the world would be like without play. It’s not just an absence of games or sports. Life without play is a life without books, without movies, without art, music, jokes, dramatic stories. Imagine a world with no flirting, no day-dreaming, no comedy, no irony. Such a world would be a pretty grim place to live.

Cervical cancer and the lies of Sexual Revolution (Updated)

This morning I read from the AP about Jade Goody, British reality star, who at the tender age of 27 years is dying of cervical cancer.    Now my point here is not to criticize the dying woman.  Not at all.  But I want to criticize the “mainstream” media.  In its shameless promotion of the lax morals of the Sexual Revolution, it has killed millions of people around the world.  Cervical cancer is caused in nearly all cases by sexual promiscuity–not necessarily on the part of the woman dying, but it could be her partner who transmits it to her.  The sexually transmitted Human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a root factor in cervical cancer.  True monogamy, thus, eliminates the risk.
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Double Standard AND Tax Evasion and Stealing (updated)

Elisee Ouoba wrote:

Obama and tax evaders:

It’s kind of funny and ironic that Obama’s secret revenue plan would be to appoint people who have failed to pay their taxes and then have them pay their outstanding bill. Funny because this would be, indeed, a way to help some rich people return what they have “stolen,” and ironic because that would mean that the non-payment of taxes is the reason for the economic/financial crisis and thus turn a problem into a solution.

I will respond to this in a new post as a opposed to the commentary section.

First, the approvals of Daschle and Geitner prove that there is a higher standard for Republicans than for Democrats.  Linda Chavez was forced to withdraw her nomination for far less serious grounds which the media and the Democrats played to the hilt.  The media even made numerous excuses for Geithner, because they feel it is their responsibility to support Obama’s presidency.  They are after all the reason he is president.

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