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Thread: There's no such thing as a "legal right"

  1. #1
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    There's no such thing as a "legal right"

    Thomas Paine (17311809) further elaborated on natural rights in his influential work Rights of Man (1791), emphasizing that rights cannot be granted by any charter because this would legally imply they can also be revoked and under such circumstances they would be reduced to privileges:


    It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few. ... They...consequently are instruments of injustice. The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.

  2. #2
    While I'm a natural law type and do think we have inherrent rights based on our humanity, I have some sympathy for positivists who point out that rights are only as good as your ability to enforce and keep them. Or, put another way, it doesn't seem like getting governments or people in general to respect one another's rights is an easy task, ever.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDB View Post
    While I'm a natural law type and do think we have inherrent rights based on our humanity, I have some sympathy for positivists who point out that rights are only as good as your ability to enforce and keep them. Or, put another way, it doesn't seem like getting governments or people in general to respect one another's rights is an easy task, ever.
    Correct, we have the rights and need to defend them.

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