Re: sentient rights (was RE: Battleground God)

From: Damien R. Sullivan (
Date: Mon Feb 25 2002 - 15:05:22 MST

On Sun, Feb 24, 2002 at 04:22:10AM -0800, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> Agreed. It is a strange turn of phrase. To me the argument
> that natural rights grow out of the fact that humans, by virtue
> of their specific nature, require certain conditions in order to
> live and thrive most optimally and a subset of those are
> basically rights to their own person, property and pursuits -
> the so-called "negative rights" - comes closest to a
> justification for natural rights.

I can see some validity here. But it's no panacea. What's living and
thriving most optimally? A society where people seem happy and
individuals immigrate and technology progresses but the population fails
to replace itself through breeding and a lot of the happy people turn
out to be clinically depressed? Or a more traditionaly society which
has survived for 3000 years and co-opted invaders (ancient Egypt,
China)? Or a rather unlibertarian society which was able to
successfully suppress dangerous technology (guns), and then when faced
with a sudden threat was able to rapidly adapt itself to meet the threat
without falling apart, and then got on the tech progress wagon itself?
(Japan.) And how can we separate success of societies from success of

And what about a society which respected rights internally, but not
outside of itself? Such as if the US had conquered the world after
1945. Or if the First World in 2010 decided to deal with environmental
problems by wiping out all humans outside of their countries? Massive
human rights violations happen in invasions, but one can easily argue
the invading society thrives.

We can say totalitarianism hasn't worked well for human beings. We can
say some degree of decentralization and markets does work well. I think
that about sums up the solid conclusions from the evidence so far.

And what works for human beings now doesn't translate into absolute
rights for any form of sentient being. It doesn't tell us whether a
totalitarianism based on Truth Machines, or direct changing of human
nature, might work.

-xx- Damien X-)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:41 MST