Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 15:37:31 +0100
From: "peter.harvey" [email protected]
Subject: Consent and rights
Michel Clasquin prefers, as a basis for human rights, not ‘some absolute ethical standard’ (Keown) but ‘fixed ethical standard determined by the consent of citizens’ (Clay), himself adding ‘we’d have to realize that it would only be "fixed" until the consent changed’.
It seems we’re back into something like ‘social contract’ territory, but this time with //all// rights resting on agreement/ contract. What if the majority in a society cosily agree to repress the minority? What if 100% of one country agree to oppress an ‘enemy’? I am reminded of the idea of ‘decline of the Dharma’ in Buddhism. This is not that the Dharma itself declines: it consists of timeless truths and moral norms (I know I’m going to be picked up on that, but too bad) but the extent to which people -both individually and in groups- understand and follow them declines over time. Perhaps human rights talk can be seen as one attempt to arrest that decline.
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 20:57:10 -0400
From: "Sally Clay" [email protected]
Subject: Re: Consent and rights
Of course, one classic argument for a just society, and for implementing rights in an imperfect society, is precisely because equal rights for all will protect the rights of the minority. (Perhaps, again, the key word here is "equal.")
Zangmo Blue Thundercloud