Social aspirations are not human rights

July 7th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Janesa Jeram at the writes:

There is a common saying that are what make us human. But with the modern expansion of beyond its classical origins, are we becoming more human, or less?
 
This week, The New Zealand Initiative hosted Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, who spoke on freedom, “the fundamental human right.” Tim Wilson argued that human rights are supposed to be sacrosanct principles, and criticised the expansion of human rights from their classical liberal origins.
 
The traditional liberal human rights were narrow, confined to freedoms such as freedom of speech, association, movement, worship and property rights. The government’s role was simply to protect those rights.
 
Modern society has deviated from these fundamentals, and human rights can now include everything from the right to education, right to shelter, right to non-discrimination, right to a decent wage, and the latest: the right to be forgotten.
 
The point Tim Wilson makes is that these social aspirations are not the same as human rights. Society may aspire to have equal access to education and shelter, or anonymity and privacy for internet users, but these should not be conflated with human rights.

I think this is a critical point. True human rights are rights that protect us, not rights that the Government gives us.

This is because, often, if not always, these social aspirations come at the cost of freedom. While they may be worthy goals, they should not automatically be given equal status to the classical human rights.
 
Human rights were originally enacted to protect the individual from state tyranny, and necessarily limited the power of the state. Social aspirations masquerading as rights expand the power of the state.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t aspire as a society to make sure everyone has education and shelter. But we should not talk about this as a human right.

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41 Responses to “Social aspirations are not human rights”

  1. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    An excellent article by Theodore Dalrymple on this matter: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2390413/posts

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  2. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    J Key has already said we need to give up some of our freedoms for security.

    Losing our humanity will be the next step.

    Inch by inch until the socialists get the yards and miles.

    Besides, the govt is sposed to run the ecomomy not our lives. Govt has succeeded in running our lives for far too long. The TPP will complete that political frame work.

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  3. Yoza (1,815 comments) says:

    All human rights are a collective recognition of how we should treat one another, there is no such thing as an innate human right.

    The traditional liberal human rights were narrow, confined to freedoms such as freedom of speech, association, movement, worship and property rights …

    Maybe someone could offer an example of a state that historically defended these rights, as I imagine it would not be too difficult to demonstrate how such rights were not universally granted and would more properly be defined as privileges granted to an affluent few.

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  4. labrator (1,847 comments) says:

    It was a mistake to ever coin the phrase “human rights”. They should’ve coined the term “human responsibilities” which had the same net effect. All that’s been endeared now is everyone and their “rights”. The only rights every afforded to anyone are by the responsibilities of others.

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  5. All_on_Red (1,581 comments) says:

    Needless to say, Tim Wilson is absolutely hated by the Left in Australia. He was vilified when appointed to the HRC. If you think our Left are nasty, they have nothing on their compatriots in Oz. It’s just an eye opener to see how vicious they are, especially in the government funded ABC!
    They really don’t like the way he cuts through their bullshit.

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  6. RRM (9,834 comments) says:

    Tim Wilson argued that human rights are supposed to be sacrosanct principles, and criticised the expansion of human rights from their classical liberal origins. The traditional liberal human rights were narrow, confined to freedoms such as freedom of speech, association, movement, worship and property rights. The government’s role was simply to protect those rights.

    DPF:
    True human rights are rights that protect us, not rights that the Government gives us.

    There are no human rights whatsoever in nature. There is only what we as human beings decide we should offer to one another.

    I love how classical liberals come up with a list of what they in their wisdom believe should be human rights, and then immediately start talking about the human rights in THEIR list in terms like “fundamental” and “sacrosanct”. And anything/everything else is mere “social aspirations”.

    The arrogance is gobsmacking! :-)

    E.g. try explaining to a shark or a lion that your right to freedom is a real and meaningful one, but your right to the living wage is just some made-up leftie political talking point…

    He will still eat you just the same. He will probably be thinking “wanker” while he does it…

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  7. Nigel Kearney (984 comments) says:

    Rights are the inverse of force. To say we have a right to free speech is to say that nobody should use force against us because of our speech. Which really means the government shouldn’t do this, because it’s already assault if anyone else does.

    Obviously there is a right to education in this sense. For example, if the government made it illegal to educate any child younger than seven, that would be a violation of this right. But it’s not a violation of rights if the government refuses to pay for education, any more than it is a violation of free speech for the government not to provide me with personal TV broadcasting time.

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  8. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “This is not to say that we shouldn’t aspire as a society to make sure everyone has education and shelter. But we should not talk about this as a human right.”

    Then what is a human right in a democracy ?

    To be unimpeded in the right to security, food, relationships, livlihood, finances.

    Yet all these are impeded by the state and Reserve Banks more and more.

    A woman couldn’t even walk on the road without being assaulted by a police officer ‘for her own safety’ in the US.

    I’m surprised it didn’t produce another race riot as she was black. Certainly seems the system is trying to provoke rioting when you get a police dept stating violent assault is proper for individual safety.

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  9. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    There are no human rights whatsoever in nature.

    That is not true. There is the innate desire to protect the species by taking care of the young, and the elderly are frequently offered food, before others. Even in the animal kingdom, many species go to special effort to protect their sick, weak and vulnerable. Therefore there is an accepted ‘right’ to life.

    As we don’t actually have any humans on the planet that aren’t socialised we don’t actually have examples of the natural human existence, but we can determine a large amount from archaeology to know that humans also had similar rules, in their natural environment before civilisation.

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  10. JC (949 comments) says:

    “I think this is a critical point. True human rights are rights that protect us, not rights that the Government gives us.”

    Thats not quite right. Every human is born with innate rights.. these aren’t granted or guaranteed by anyone, they are simply something that are a part of our being. The Declaration of Independence says it beautifully in this part:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

    You can substitute “Creator” with “Flying Spaghetti Monster” if you like just so long as you accept that no man, animal or government confers these rights.. indeed government is created by humans for the explicit purpose of protecting these rights.. no more and no less.

    JC

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  11. Kimble (4,434 comments) says:
    There are no human rights whatsoever in nature.

    That is not true. There is the innate desire to protect the species by taking care of the young, and the elderly are frequently offered food, before others. Even in the animal kingdom, many species go to special effort to protect their sick, weak and vulnerable. Therefore there is an accepted ‘right’ to life.

    No, Yoza is right. There are no human rights in nature.

    Animals will more often kill the young of others of their own species, than protect them. Any “right to life” would only exist for their own young.

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  12. Yoza (1,815 comments) says:

    JC (888 comments) says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    “I think this is a critical point. True human rights are rights that protect us, not rights that the Government gives us.”

    Thats not quite right. Every human is born with innate rights.. these aren’t granted or guaranteed by anyone, they are simply something that are a part of our being. The Declaration of Independence says it beautifully in this part:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

    I do not think the Africans working on their owner’s plantations were aware of their ‘unalienable rights’.

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  13. Fisiani (1,032 comments) says:

    I reckon the Americans got close in their Declaration of Independence that we are entitled to the fundamentals of life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Note NOT happiness but simply the pursuit of happiness. We are not entitled and have no right to a job, an education, a house or a garden. We have no right to internet access or free ice cream.

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  14. Miritu (29 comments) says:

    Too many rights come at someone else’s expense. Any right that forces somebody else to pay (e.g. via tax), takes away another’s right to his own property.

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  15. Fentex (937 comments) says:

    There is a common saying that human rights are what make us human

    That seems arse-backwards. Surely being human is what gives us rights. Otherwise the oppressed people of dictators denied human rights aren’t human, so why care about them?

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  16. adze (2,105 comments) says:

    Yoza is right for once… rights are what we make them. That is not to say that all systems work as well as any other, under all circumstances.

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  17. Harriet (4,855 comments) says:

    Hetros had the right to a very important millenia old hetrosexual label – Marriage – then Key said:

    “Not anymore you don’t, I’m going to get rid of the ‘hetro marriage label’ and turn it into a ‘homo/hetro marriage label’ – and you are now going to live under a hetro/homo label if you decide to get Married.”

    Hetros had their right to a label stolen from them by Key & Co.

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  18. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Human rights are fictions, Natural rights are real.

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  19. Fletch (6,295 comments) says:

    It should be noted that the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2012 that gay marriage is also not a human right.

    Same-sex marriages are not a human right, European judges have ruled.

    Their decision shreds the claim by ministers that gay marriage is a universal human right and that same-sex couples have a right to marry because their mutual commitment is just as strong as that of husbands and wives.

    The ruling was made by judges of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg following a case involving a lesbian couple in a civil partnership who complained the French courts would not allow them to adopt a child as a couple.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2117920/Gay-marriage-human-right-European-ruling-torpedoes-Coalition-stance.html#ixzz1qNwioohn

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  20. Harriet (4,855 comments) says:

    Fletch#

    “…..Same-sex marriages are not a human right, European judges have ruled….”

    Quite so.

    A US Supreme Court Justice [Keannelly I think] is of the view that —– ” if gays are not born gay, then there are just homosexual sex acts, which the government can and does legislate against, age being an example. ”

    The London School of Phsyciatry has come out recently and said that gays arn’t born gay, and that they can change.

    Gays reject the natural order of things, and in doing so reject half the world’s population – and Key thinks that should be publicly celebrated!

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  21. hj (6,918 comments) says:

    NATURAL RESOURCE LAW PROPERTY RIGHTS AND TAKINGS
    NEW ZEALAND BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE
    SEPTEMBER 1999
    http://nzinitiative.org.nz/site/nzbr/files/publications/publications-1999/natural_resource_law.pdf

    Argues laissez faire and corporate lawyer versus citizen (something the well healed citizens of Portland are finding doesn’t work).
    As Realtor Doris says:

    For 14 years, I have had to listen to the frustration and disbelief of professionals with major companies who are transferring to Houston ask me, “What do you mean you don’t have zoning?” Incoming homebuyers have become increasingly cautious about their purchases because our regulations are weak. To suggest that Houston is in danger of overregulation in development is laughable if not an outright lie.
    When potential buyers see three- and four-story town-homes and four- to five-story midrises adjacent to and crowding one- and two-story single-family homes, they take a pass. It then becomes a challenge to find a relatively “safe” neighborhood with deed restrictions, or a separate city such as West University or Southside with a property that meets my customers’ needs.
    Unregulated residential construction on top of active railroads, freeways and busy commercial streets is the norm at this time, not the exception.
    Excessive regulation is an economic danger? If I may quote the great poet, John Milton, “License they mean when they cry liberty!”
    DORIS MURDOCK
    Realtor, Houston

    Amen Doris
    http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Letters-Lanier-s-push-for-builders-1781173.php

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  22. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    Are you not familiar with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948?

    http://www.ohchr.org/en/udhr/pages/introduction.aspx

    “Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights.

    Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) (French) (Spanish) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.

    It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. ”

    I particularly like this – from the Preamble:

    “Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,”

    Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
    ____________________________________________________

    Penny Bright

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  23. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the right to education:

    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

    Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

    (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright

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  24. publicwatchdog (2,516 comments) says:

    http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Foreign-Relations/1-Global-Issues/Human-Rights/0-overview.php#International Obligations

    Human Rights

    New Zealand and Human Rights

    International Obligations and Treaties

    New Zealand is strongly committed to the protection and promotion of international human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and in the key human rights treaties.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright

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  25. RichardX (325 comments) says:

    Harriet (4,435 comments) says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 7:29 pm
    The London School of Phsyciatry has come out recently and said that gays arn’t born gay, and that they can change.

    Any citation or evidence in support of this claim?

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  26. Odakyu-sen (600 comments) says:

    What use is your right unless you can enforce it or have someone else enforce it on your behalf?

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  27. Kimble (4,434 comments) says:

    Well, if the UN and Government says so…

    And I assume that is the language in the original text, right Penny?

    That Charter hasnt changed over time by any chance, has it?

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  28. Kimble (4,434 comments) says:

    In any case, the point is that a Right to an education requires that there be others providing that education.

    Can someone alone in a desert exercise their Right to an education as described by the UN?

    If there is no one to provide the education is there a breach of human rights?

    What if no one wanted to educate?

    Would someone be forced to provide education?

    The Right to education is in actual fact a Right to compel association, restrict movement and compel speech.

    It doesn’t matter what the government says, or what the UN says, or that people will always be found who are willing to educate.

    This is the bankruptcy of the idea of “Rights” that Wilson and DPF were talking about.

    Notice how the “Right to education” makes elementary education COMPULSORY? Does the right to practice religion make the belief in at least one God compulsory? Which of the traditional Rights have such a ridiculous compulsion?

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  29. IC5000 (107 comments) says:

    “All_on_Red (1,279 comments) says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 3:29 pm
    Needless to say, Tim Wilson is absolutely hated by the Left in Australia. He was vilified when appointed to the HRC. If you think our Left are nasty, they have nothing on their compatriots in Oz. It’s just an eye opener to see how vicious they are, especially in the government funded ABC!”

    Yep the right are as clean as the driven snow, well maybe the snow in Beijing.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/gillards-father-died-of-shame-alan-jones-20120929-26soa.html

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  30. All_on_Red (1,581 comments) says:

    IC
    So? Nice to see you don’t rebut my view.

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  31. IC5000 (107 comments) says:

    So, your stupidity is kinda cute in a gimpish way.

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  32. All_on_Red (1,581 comments) says:

    Petty retort. Is that the extent of your argument? No wonder all the left have is insult. Thanks for proving my point.

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  33. Kimble (4,434 comments) says:

    Wilson was vilified because he doesnt join in on the “human rights” groupthink.

    You should hear some of the shit the HRC comes out with. A huge report on asylum seekers, and what reference does it make to the hundreds who died thanks to Labors inhuman policy? “Oh, this is a complex issue”.

    Fuck off. It’s a simple issue. You tempt people into shitty boats in bad seas, people will die. Thats on you.

    Where the fuck was the HRC when the Gillard government was trying to hamstring the free speech of media? Fucking cheering them on!

    Their own failings in standing up for human rights makes the HRC irrelevant. There lack of action when Gillard was killing a hundred people a month makes them culpable.

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  34. All_on_Red (1,581 comments) says:

    Kimble
    And the stooges in the ABC were their enablers. It’s a farce that these hypocrites try to take the high moral ground. They supported Gillard whose policies saw hundreds drown.

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  35. IC5000 (107 comments) says:

    “All_on_Red (1,284 comments) says:
    July 7th, 2014 at 10:57 pm
    Petty retort. Is that the extent of your argument? No wonder all the left have is insult. Thanks for proving my point.”

    I’m not a leftist, I just enjoy ridiculing the ideologically blind and morally crippled of which there is no short supply here and I’ve done the same at the standard.

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  36. Kimble (4,434 comments) says:

    The fact that you bring up Allan Jones as a “right winger” shows that it is YOU that is blinded by ideology. You cant see past it.

    Someone said that Lefties vilified Tim Wilson, and you thought that All_on_Red was saying that the nobody on the Right ever said anything mean.

    What does Allan Jones being a dick have to do with Tim Wilson? Abso-fucking-lutely nothing.

    Except of course, that Tim Wilson is the Free Speech commissioner, and Allan Jones was using his right to free speech to be a dick.

    So are you going to blame Tim Wilson for every bit of free speech that you think is mean to shitty politicians? Or just shitty Left wing politicians?

    Fuck off back to The Standard. You aren’t ready for this game. Bitch.

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  37. IC5000 (107 comments) says:

    LOL my work here is done.

    BTW your post seem incoherent with rage and you mention ‘dick’ twice. Seems like someone has issues with repressing their true self.

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  38. ShawnLH (4,605 comments) says:

    “(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.”

    NZ actually signed this drivel?

    No education of any kind is ever free.

    No wonder Penny likes it, it’s as delusional as she is.

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  39. radvad (755 comments) says:

    Miritu
    “many rights come at someone else’s expense. Any right that forces somebody else to pay (e.g. via tax), takes away another’s right to his own property.”

    Well said that person. A right can only be a right if it does not take anything from anyone else.

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  40. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    New Zealand is strongly committed to the protection and promotion of international human rights.

    Rights have correlative duties, eg the right to education implies the duty to provide education. The provision of education obviously has a cost to it, especially when the right is interpreted as meaning that education is compulsory.

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  41. All_on_Red (1,581 comments) says:

    Actually IC the jokes on you. You were the one who bit and became the (decidedly average) troll. You’ve made no pertinent point and have ridiculed nothing. If anything you’ve exposed yourself as having nothing to say and being just a fool.

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