Date: Mon, 09 Oct 1995 14:31:56 -0400
From: "A. Chu" [email protected]
Subject: Rights of Groups
Williams has also, in various postings, referred to certain social groupings as ‘sentient beings’. I’m afraid I’ve no idea what this means- and even as an analogy, it is potentially dangerous. Does it give that ‘being’ a right to destroy part of ‘itself’ if it becomes disruptive? But that would be a classic government excuse for abusing people. -Peter Harvey
Here are some contexts where talk about Rights of a Group may seem natural: 1. Right of a group not to be discriminated against due to their sex or race. (Claim of Group against other, perhaps enclosing Group) 2. In the context of a world government with police power, right of a country to legislate it’s own domestic policy – say polyandry. 3. Right of a specie to survive…
In your example, that would concern the claim of a Group on its Member. It would seemed that they might BE some precedents for this in the Western legal tradition: many Western countries have law prohibiting suicide. Apparently on the grounds that it damages the welfare of the Group. Seat-belts laws also seem to fall into this category. Whether these should be considered rights, I’ll leave to the jurists in the conference who will no doubt correct any errors of mine.
In keeping with the practical emphasis of week 2, how might buddhists answer this question:
Should the Yankee states have allowed the Confederate states to secede and continue their economy of slavery?
PS – I realize that the US civil war was not mostly about slavery, but the moral issues still do exist.