pjbogart wrote:I'm sorry, are you suggesting that your right to bear arms is bestowed by some higher power? Clearly all legal rights are human constructs and subject to societal whims.
I like to get down to the core beliefs to see what people used to support other beliefs they express. In my experience people believe all sorts of things that they cannot support upon closer inspection. To borrow a phrase from Jeremy Bentham, "nonsense on stilts."
You seem to be operating under the assumption that all rights are "legal" rights and that there aren't any other kind of rights, e.g., extralegal or moral rights. That's an unsupported assumption, it is the very question at issue here. Assuming your conclusion as one of your premises is what's called "begging the question" (petitio principii).
As Wagstaff pointed out, the founders did in fact believe that there were rights every human being had by virtue of something outside the rights granted or created by law. I'm simply trying to get jman to explain what he believes to be the nature of rights. He gave a fairly clear statement of principles that could be regarded as a form "moral subjectivism or relativism" but then he denied that's what it was. But if it "walks like a duck...." I have nothing against people who believe in ethical relativism, but they ought to be prepared to accept the consequences.
I still laugh to this day about when I was in grad school and taking a political philosophy course and one day an undergrad expressed his belief in ethical relativism to the TA saying, "there's no objective right or wrong, what's right for you is only right for you and what's right for me maybe something different." The TA slammed down a book and shouted "You get an F!" The look of shock on the student's face was absolutely priceless. He stammered "What did I do? That's not fair!" The TA smiled and said something like "Hey, giving you an F is what's "right for me" and if it's not "right for you, that's too bad. I'm just going by what you said." I laughed my ass off. But the moral of the story is, if jman wants to embrace the ethical relativism he described, he better be willing to embrace all the logical consequences of it. I think that's the problem with his response. He made a relativistic description of the nature of rights, but then he denies that that's what it is because he's unwilling to accept the consequences of what he espoused.
I could be wrong about this but I get the impression that most of you would say that when you maintain something is right or wrong, or fair or unfair, just or unjust, that you feel that you are saying something more than "I like this, and I don't like that." Correct me if I'm wrong.
Here's an example: If you state "Slavery is absolutely wrong!" Are you saying nothing more than "I dislike slavery?" Or is there something about slavery that makes it "wrong" regardless if you dislike it or like it? If most people liked the concept of slavery, would that mean slavery is good?
Just some simple questions. I await your reply.