Re: SOC: Rights (Was: Is rational patriotism anti-extropian? I don't think s...

Date: Sun Apr 23 2000 - 07:39:32 MDT

<< oops -- sucked too much text off my word processor -- not enough coffee
yet this morning ... >>

In a message dated 4/18/00 4:33:30 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> One other thing weirds people over here out about the US; it's the
> that natural rights exist. But that's another matter. (In general, there
> are two concepts of rights. One is that 'nature' somehow assigns certain
> rights to human beings, and those rights exist almost in a platonic sense;
> they're real things and you can't abolish or add to them. Another
> of rights is that rights are an emergent phenomenon, that comes from people
> behaving towards each other as they themselves would like to be dealt with;
> your right to life is the corollary of my refraining from killing you. This
> view of rights is that they're all essentially social constructs, and while
> they're desirable and necessary they're in no way automatic.)

My (emerging and evolving) view of rights might be seen as a third
alternative, synthesized from these two. I don't see rights as having some
platonic or supernatural "reality", but I think they are by no means
arbitrary social constructs and therefore may well be seen to be "automatic"
in the sense you seem to use the word above. In my view, rights ARE an
emergent phenomenon, but they are inherent in the fabric of social
interaction. Thus certain fundamental principles of liberty and autonomy, as
well as some aspects of "fairness" and "transparency" are aspects of any
creative and satisfying social order. It's obviously possible to create
human social orders which thwart these rights, just as its possible to design
and build an engine that has high friction and low energy efficiency. But a
study of society will INEVITABLY lead to such a high valuation of liberty,
individual autonomy, fairness and transparency that we will come to value
them as "rights", just as a study of mechanics will cause us to value low
friction and energy efficiency as fundamental design values.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:44 MDT