Saturday, August 03, 2013

The confusion of 'rights' with 'needs'.

There was a blog post the other day about an elected official chiding a catholic nun who'd had the temerity to ask the government for more assistance in helping to feed hungry people. She responded in part by stating that people had 'a right to eat'.
I applaud her efforts on the behalf of those who need food [while reserving the right to criticize her chosen religion for it's role in fighting against birth control in all it's forms, thereby helping to ensure more generations of needy children]; but I question her statement.
Humans have a need to eat. All living being do. We eat or we die. But 'need' and 'right' are not equivalent terms. Needs are determined by the very mechanics of life. Rights are concepts. Created by the minds of humans; and quite often subject to the whims of whichever powers that be in charge at the moment. A society can decide that it's members have certain rights. But a working society must also decide that those rights be 'earned' by the tender of obligations of the members to that society.
I hear and read an awful lot on the news and blogs about the rights of people. Not so much about responsibilities. To tilt a society in either direction must end in disaster.

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