Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rights, Postive And Negative

Anti-Climacus responds to yours truly with a post that FLG will have to think about.

Especially this part:
It is commonly argued that one cannot maintain the positive/negative right distinction because negative rights usually have a positive component. For example, the right to physical integrity of the person cannot simply be the right to not have other people beat me up when I walk down the street. If that right were purely negative, I could have no certain enjoyment of it; enjoyment requires the positive action of (forming) a police force. This, of course, presupposes a government that will provide goods of some kind, but that's hardly a radical assumption given the world as it is.

But...off the top of FLG's head, he's not sure that the existence of a police force provides certain enjoyment of anything. People get their asses kicked and murdered and whathaveyou everyday. But he does see the point in a sort of Lockean sense -- that we have rights and to secure them conveniently, we submit to a government. However, FLG isn't sure that's what is meant, and he'll keep thinking about it.

1 comment:

Hilarius Bookbinder said...

Well, there's no law, institution, or what have you, that's 100% effective. But the presence of a minimally effective police force does effectively reverse expectations.

No certain enjoyment means, in this context, that one's experience will be arbitrarily determined. In areas with a minimally effective police force, one can probabilistically assume certain enjoyment of that right, and probably never confront a contrary case. And if one does, it's recognized as a strange event and a violation, the kind which requires some solution (and the solution to street crime is never going to be more lax enforcement of the law).

 
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