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What are 'Rights'? Are the 'Rights of an individual less than those of a collective? Do 'Rights' limit the State or the citizen

Documented rights, obligations of citizens and powers of government date to around 3100 BCE, with the unification of Egypt under Menes/Narmer. The latest addition to the 'Rights' club of note is the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948 in conjunction with the UN Charter. Codes and or commandments relating to theistic belief date to around 2000 BCE and are known as the Pyramid Texts from Egypt.
Of all such attempts, with too many to mention, from the earliest civil and religious codes to the latest; most all have one thing in common; control over people for the benefit of a few. Such is consistent with the human mind in its desire to create order where nature appears chaotic or fails to accommodate human needs and to build such order as to benefit the engineers.
Most civil codes acknowledged the power of the State, as predominate over the people with ‘rights, as an issuance from the State, whereby the State was the ultimate authority. This was also true of theistic belief systems, as in the Biblical or Koran sense of ‘Commands’ of conduct under threat of physical and spiritual harm..
Arguably, it was John Locke, a British philosopher, who first articulated the rights of the individual, as an entity on to himself. Locke’s writings served to influence the move away from dictatorial rule in Europe to include The American Revolution and The French Revolution.
It was the American Bill of Rights however, that greatly limited the power of the State over the people by inserting the words, “Congress shall make no law---” No other document places the individual before the State and a collective. And in The Declaration of Independence, “When in the course of human events---“ places the existence of a government in the hands of the governed.
Opposition to such freedom is, "These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." Art. #29, sec. #3

  • May 6 2014: Mr. Hunsinger.
    No comments. Hmmmm. Do people even care? Me thinks not to a large degree.

    I choose the individual in answer to your ?.

    I was thinking the other day about how the vast majority of American'ts no longer have any
    kind of emotional connection to those of them who fought against Stalin, Hitler and Hirohito to
    stop their encroachment on the liberties of other humans.

    But there are some American's who know what is involved in that kind of fight and they are those
    who have had to fight for their freedom, i.e. blacks, gays and women.

    White men in American't know nothing about that sort of thing. They haven't been fighting one
    justified war on any level that truly involves protecting freedom and liberty.

    But humans are still fighting and what they fight for are "Rights", rights to exist, to be, to live, to eat, to play,
    to learn and so on.
    I see Rights as Needs. Human Needs, and I believe that the most important of Human Needs
    all should be free. They are what we all work for (slave for), and for anyone to go without them is wrong,
    immoral, abusive and where intentional, evil. Those needs are water, food, shelter, clothing, education,
    travel, medical and leisure. We work for the resources of the earth, not for money as people falsely believe
    they do. The resources of the earth were here first, were or are for every single form of life on the planet,
    and they are free and they need to be free for all. Not a free-for-all, but free.

    Our world needs some form of moral balance but not necessarily the kind of morality you might easily
    fall into thinking I mean. For people to become moral people towards one another, they first need to be free.
    Otherwise, what we call moral is only oppression, slavery, and submission.

    If we see becoming moral as a form of healing, then the same applies to the resources of the earth.
    They cannot be managed morally for all, until and unless they are free. Currently they are mismanaged,
    intentionally and immorally for profit
    • May 6 2014: Random

      For whatever reason TED decided to place this conversation twice. The first version has received more, but still inadequate response. If I titled something, "How can we get more free stuff", I am sure the response would be overwhelming. We use to have a proud people, now it seems they are much more equipped to panhandle and grovel. It would also seem that those who do stand up for America are being labeled as terrorists.
      Are you sure you have thought through your position, as it seems to mimic the sentiments of an addict I once met. If you receive all this stuff free simply because you are alive; who than is required to supply it for you?
      I have yet to receive an intelligent comment from those who refuse to identify themselves.
      • May 7 2014: Sigh!
        I'm just about fed up with Ted.

        People in American't, can't think anymore. They come up with sound bites,
        which are the things they've been told to believe, think, say and do and not
        believe, think, say or do. It's all worked out for them.
        "What was I supposed to think?" Well, one IS supposed to think not just jump to suicidal
        conclusions about what another means. I'm as guilty as the next person.

        Anyway, when you say free you are forgetting that nothing costs money. Everything costs people.
        You must envision one group giving it away and another group just taking. That's too simple, not accurate, misleading (you've been misled by those kinds of opinions from others) but worst of all it usually stops a person from attempting to truly think critically and to do so in the realm of solving the problems, not simply saying they can't be done or only lead to scenarios no one wants.

        Do you believe, as many do, that we humans are a higher being? If so, then why do you probably believe and agree to our living like wild animals for our survival, especially since there is no need for that at all?

        WE supply it to US. We are the ones doing all the work anyway, or already. But there are enough of us to train, learn, teach and bear the burden of labor so that it is minor, takes less time from each individual and creates for everyone. No job is more important than any other. Please don't fool yourself there. No person is more important than any other. Let surgeons eat from dirty, filthy dishes at their favorite restaurant, get sick and die, because that dishwasher is not as important as they are.
        All human needs are jobs. All jobs are human needs. This will not change until your thinking (and now I mean you), changes. You and I and all of us are all internally related to the whole - of everything. What you do to another you do to yourself. Your consciousness is where it all happens. We share that, thus we are internally related, not externally. Evolution is of the mind
        • May 7 2014: Random

          Spent some time in Hamburg in the early 60's, although I was in the US military I was looking for relatives who had, I was told live there. No luck however. They may have not made through the bombings.
          Random I am not quite sure what you are saying. Your English is much better than my German however. As I understand, you are saying that all humans are equal--I disagree. That we are all related--I agree. That we are an evolved species of life---I agree. That we are the most achieved species on the planet---I agree. That all jobs are equally important---I disagree.
          I identify myself (preferably), although I am enormously proud of my German/Irish blood lines, as a Sapien, as in Sapient, Homo sapien-sapien, a reasoning being (wise Man). We, I, cannot be greater than a reasoning being, but we can be less.As we all possess the capacity to reason, as in the talent to draw a picture, we are not equal in that talent. Some of us draw stick figures, few are Rembrandt or Bach, Van Braun or Einstein. These are special people deserving of special treatment. The surgeon can wash dishes, but the dishwasher cannot save the life of the surgeon.
          Every human has value, but not all humans advance the species. If we fail to recognize and reward achievement we do not achieve, we do not invent or create or better human life. We become stagnant and decay.
          As you say, the human mind is everything. We are reasoning beings and I do not know what the universe holds, but I would bet that there is nothing greater than a reasoning being and so are we.