- Charles Hunsinger
- Stanwood, MI
- United States
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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