The Basis for Human Rights

Posted: May 15, 2016 in Philosophy
Tags: ,

Think about it. Is there really a basis for a “universal declaration of human rights”? No. There isn’t. Sadly, there isn’t.

Authoritarians of all stripes would agree. That seems to justify their wholesale brutishness and violence.

But they’re wrong.

“Human rights” is a social construct, and there’s a very good reason for that social construct: it leads to human happiness.  In other words, it’s utilitarian.

In the utilitarian universe, the only good is that which leads to human happiness. Again, an assertion, but a happy one. Anything beyond that also lies in the realm of assertion. Universal human rights? Prove it. No inherent human rights? Prove it.

Let’s act “as if.”

Does acting as if there are universal human rights prove that there are? No. Of course not. But in societies that maintain the fiction that there are? There’s more happiness than in those that pretend that human rights don’t exist. Compare Iran and Iceland, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

In other words, fighting to establish the entirely (naturalistically) baseless concept of “human rights” leads to happiness.

So, let’s work for the establishment of free speech, free association, etc.  There’s no naturalistic basis for human rights– nature is entirely neutral — but we’ll all be a hell of a lot happier if we’re free.

  1. pauladkin says:

    Or perhaps the concept of human rights has to exist, quite simply in order to remind us that we all belong to the same common denominator (e.g: humanity, our species) and that we do have things in common with each other. The underlying problem is not a lack of human rights, but a lack of our recognition that we are all human beings (rather than Americans or Chinese or Parisians or those from the south side of the river or at the top of the street or the guy who always smokes Camel or the woman in red).


  2. If we have to assert human rights that’s sad. Isn’t it the assertion of freedoms in a thoughtless or reckless manner that necessitates declaring our human pain? It is early in the morn so my head my not be very sharp.


  3. xaphans says:

    In a fantasy world where we all grow up with same social structure, education model, religious beliefs or no religious beliefs you can do that.

    However, the difference in core beliefs is for example what gets you hanged in Saudi Arabia for being gay or no one even cares in Sweden.

    You cannot make Universal Freedoms without stepping on toes.

    Some areas accept one thing others not.

    Rape isn’t seen as a big deal in africa, pedophilia is common in most mooslim countries, in the heat of passion murder exists in most of central and south america…Disdain for having a female child is common in Asian countries etc.

    Who’s idea of freedom do we support?

    The western world’s?

    That’s why immigration into white countries doesn’t work with cultures that don’t like to assimilate.

    Being you brought up the subject…Name 3 things you think are Universal Human Rights?

    Nothing too vague like health, happiness and freedom…Be specific please.


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