the profseitz blog

getting students to engage the news…

Are We Right About “Rights?”

Are There Natural Human Rights? –


This is a really interesting piece from the NY Times looking at the origins of human rights.  It poses some deep questions that are directly applicable to the first week or so of our class: What are “human” or “natural” rights?  Are they enduring or simply cultural creations that came into fashion with the philosophy of Hobbes and Locke?

If “rights” are cultural constructs, how does this affect your view of the rights we choose to deem important?  What of the rights to speak you mind and to associate with whomever you choose?  What about the “right of privacy,” which is not found in the Constitution, but has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to be a somewhat protected right?  What about the right to health care that has been used as a justification for universal health care?  Please share your thoughts!



This entry was posted on May 30, 2011 by in constitution, Democracy, rights and tagged , , .
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