The origin and nature of human rights

This is a most excellent video from StopAndLook which explores the origin and nature of our rights.

The author expresses the concepts eloquently and clearly:  human rights, at any given time, are what people agree they are.  Reaching a concensus is difficult. 

The origin of rights determines their nature.  This video explores the difference between the position that ‘rights’ originate with each individual versus the position that rights originate with the social group.


Though it is phrased differently, it is very simlar to the different attitudes captured in ‘Common Law’ versus ‘Civil Law’ legal codes:  very roughly, the ‘Common Law’ would be more closely aligned with the position that ‘rights’ originate with the individual whild ‘Civil Law’ is more congruent with the point of view that ‘rights’ originate from ‘the state’.

What is really important here is the difference in attitude between the citizen and the State.  A little bit of this difference in attitude is described in my post about the difference between a ‘tax cut’ and a ‘tax rebate’:  in a tax cut, the attitude is that the money is yours, and the government is able to accomplis the necessary ‘common goals’ using less of your money while in a tax rebate, the attitude is that the money is the government’s and that they have decided to give you a raise in your allowance.

This attitude, in my never-humble-opinion, is key in how the society evolves because it forms the expectations of the citizens towards the government, and vice versa. 

And this attitude is one of the ‘threads’ in this great big ‘knot’…