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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.... ((:^)<(

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    Jan 16 2013: Every able-bodied, legally qualified citizen of the US has the right to take all required driver's qualification tests. Upon passing those tests they have a right to pay the necessary fees to be issued a driver's license. That license can be suspended, or revoked for various illegal actions. You may be thinking a right is not subject to testing and qualification. That is not so. Driving is a right, but it is not a permanent right. It can be lost.
    • Jan 17 2013: 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? I look forward to your thoughts. Thank You!!
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        Jan 17 2013: The inalienable rights of every American citizen can be lost temporarily, or permanently, as a result of certain criminal acts. The right to life can be lost if sentenced to death for a capital crime. The right to liberty can be lost if sentenced to imprisonment, or probation for a crime. The right to the pursuit of happiness will be lost along with either of the other two. Place of residence, gender, age, or lawful alternate sexual behavior cannot be the basis for loss of rights for any US citizen. In a governed social construct there cannot be permanent rights. All rights and/or privileges are dependent upon lawful conduct. I cannot, however, refute the idea that no one can take away a person's right to die. Perhaps that is the one permanent right/privilege.
        • Jan 17 2013: Edward,Thank You for the follow up, The part of your thought that struck me the most was " In a governed social construct there cannot be permanent rights". Great explaination, although due to my ever curious nature I can't help but wonder if there are exceptions to this rule. Getting a bit off topic (though I think it's related is) I recently read (Though not sure of the exact number), that the US was in 10th place concerning freedoms. I thought we were number one, which now makes me feel a bit ignorant. Do you know anyother places that rate higher on this "list"? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks again for your contributions to my original question on Rights vs Privileges. R.S...
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        Jan 17 2013: As I said Robert, in a social environment the natural occurrence of Death is the only event/right that cannot be controlled by law. As to the comparative freedom of the US to other nations, I see that as a non-quantifiable characteristic of a nation. An Anarchist will tell you that freedom is the absence of government imposed regulation, while the Socialist will claim it is the abundance of government control which brings freedom. Kristopherson said freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose (-Me and Bobby McGee). Eric Hoffer, the philosopher, said, "The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do."
        • Jan 19 2013: Thank You Edward, All your replies have given me many things to consider. In laymens terms what I feel you are explaining to me is, that Social freedoms, Rights and Privileges are determined by the governments (or the people that have control over a population) and they will dictate what those Rights, Freedoms and Privileges are and who gets them and also how much of each they will get depending on the individuals standing in that population(i.e. wealth,education,ancestry, religion etc..).To be clear,I am not just focusing on the U.S. and what is practiced here, but all the different societies (large and small) in world.Do you agree with that, or am I missing something deeper? Thanks Again! R.S...
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        Jan 19 2013: I can only speak based on my experience in the US. If a person is unable, or unwilling to take a driver's test that person has no legal right to drive. That does not make driving a right based on "wealth, education, ancestry, or religion" as you say. One does not need to be a wealthy, educated, anglo-Saxon Protestant to drive legally in the US. As I said in my first comment, "Every able-bodied, legally qualified citizen of the US has the right to take all required driver's qualification tests. Upon passing those tests they have a right to pay the necessary fees to be issued a driver's license." You are wrongly implying elitism, or prejudice in the right to drive.
        • Jan 19 2013: Thanks Edward, I should have never used the example of driving in the Title, but the video that started this and the comments written about that video concerned driving, and the Title of any question posed can only be so many characters long, therefore the title of my question could not convey all I wished it could.. I agree with your original statement concerning driving "Rights"! But at this point in the discussion, I had thought we had moved beyond drivings "Rights vs Privileges" and to looking at "Rights vs Privileges" on a more all inclusive social level,and to not only include the US but also all other populations of the world. Sorry if I was not clear on that in my earlier replies to you. Thank You for the follow-up. R.S...
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        Jan 20 2013: All right sir, if not the right to drive, to which right are you implying that a person's "wealth,education,ancestry, religion etc." apply?

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