TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What is the definition of having a "Right to drive" or other "Rights" as to opposed to having a "Privilege to drive" or other "Privileges"

This question came to me from a comment I made on the TED Talk "Google's Driverless Car". I argued that driving was not a right but a pivilege, but I noticed there were a few arguments against that thought. So it caused me to think a bit deeper on the differences between having a Right or having a Privilege. I found it impossible to truly define it in my mind. As the more I thought about it, I soon discovered my problem was, are there different definitions to this question depending what part of the world you come from or live in? As I have seen TED has an international base of people that enjoy these "Talks" and I thought I would pose this question to you all. So let the debate begin!! I look forward to your thoughts and comments on this. Thank You...


Closing Statement from Robert Sherry

First, Thank You all for your replies, you have all given some Great input!!

As for "Rights" I think John Frum gave the best reply (in my opinion) concerning rights. He seemed to understand the Spirit of my question, which wasn't just about "U.S. Driving Rights", but "Rights" in general and he also included the whole world. His answer is as follows.See Below

"Legal rights are one aspect of rights, but not the only one. Legal rights depend on which country one is a citizen of."

"Legality is based on morality.. in every country. What are moral rights based on? That's very debatable. I have my own ideas on what's moral, but I do not assume that everyone would share my views on that."

"If I were in Malaysia, Indonesia or some Arab country, I'd have no "right" to insult Allah or Mohammed. Left libertarians do not subscribe to the concept of property rights. Some countries, and the UN seem to believe in the "right" to water: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_water"

"The statement "this isn't an opinion, it's a legal fact" is empty without the context of time and place. For most of their history, blacks and women in the US did not have a "right" to vote. For quite a while, only landowners had that right."
"Legal rights are fickle. Moral rights are subjective"

Thank You to Pat Gilbert,This is his reply concernig "Privaliges" Below you will find exerpts from his various replies..

"Rights are generally intangible, privileges are tangible

"Rights are generally seen as natural law or providence. Of the two they are infinitely more important."

"A privilege would be as you state the privilege of driving, the privilege of unemployment benefits, the privilege of healthcare."

"At the end of the day privileges are what get abused by individuals, rights are what get abused by government."

Once again, I would like to Thank You all for some very enlightening responses!!
I have learned much from you all, and you have also given me much to consider!!! R.S.... ((:^)<(

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jan 16 2013: Most rights still have an aspect of privilege. For instance I have the right to freedom, but there's an unspoken caveat that I must conduct myself well with my fellow man. I have the right to drive a car, but there's an unspoken caveat that I must not drive recklessly.
    • Jan 17 2013: Greg, Thanks for the reply, I see you did take my question a bit further to include the Social aspect (which I was hoping this would leed to) But I think most of the replies so far seem to be concentrating on a small population of the US. Here is my reply to Edward Long in his response to my question. (Thank You Edward for the reply, Lets take this a step further. ( I just used diving in the US since thats what started this). How about other Rights of other people living in the U.S or those living outside the U.S, and lets add a few more ingredeints to the mixture,Male vs Female, Gay vs Straight, Elderly vs Young . Do you think that all rights can be taken away, that none are permanent? In other words, do you feel that there any "Rights" that we are all born with that cannot be taken away?) Thanks Greg, and I look forward to your further thoughts on this...
      • thumb
        Jan 20 2013: No, I probably don't think there are any rights that can't be taken away. Every right comes with the condition, either spoken or unspoken, that you use it fairly and properly. You have a right to life, but if you kill someone, then you lose your right to life. (This doesn't mean I believe in the death penalty, as it seems that occasionally innocent people are executed.)
    • Jan 17 2013: Greg, you don't need permission to use a right. Do you need permission to speak or write, to practice your religion, etc...
      Since we don't have total freedom, we are suppose to haveLiberty. Liberty is that you can do whatever, as long as you don't infringe on the rights of others. Other words, your rights can't stop someone else from using their rights and vise versa.
      • thumb
        Jan 18 2013: Well, using some of your rights could be extremely dangerous. Yes, you have a right to drive, but if you let a seven-year-old kid drive it could be extremely dangerous. Thus you have a right to drive but you have to get the proper training first.

        Even with speaking or writing, you have the right as long as you don't say something too out of line. You can't say you're going to kill someone or you will get in trouble. So you don't have a perfect right.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.