Equal Rights

Name a fundamental human right, whichever one you can think of. Don’t worry for now whether it’s a legal or constitutional right; just shoot from the hip and name something broad and basic.

Now ask: does this right apply to you? Do you feel that have this right? Do you feel that this right is protected? If you’re reading this, the answer you’ll probably reach is “yes”.

Now think: Does every other human being in existence also have and share this same fundamental human right? The likely answer is “no”.

Realize: Unless a “right” is universally recognized, upheld, and applied to all, then for those who do enjoy that right, it is not a right right at all, but only a privilege.

Of course, many people would prefer to limit the application of human rights to some particular jurisdiction, such as the citizens of a country. While these rights might be lofty, they are not fundamental; they are legal and constitutional. In a democracy, it is the citizens themselves who (in theory) define their own human rights and the protections thereof. These definitions and protections are subject to change upon the will of the people. Far too frequently, some group will assert a moral prerogative, and move to exclude another group from some legal or constitutional right. Not only does this discriminate against the excluded, but it by extension diminishes the rights of the included. Unless the guarantee applies to all, there is no guarantee!

Privileges may be earned, but they can also be bought and sold. The same cannot -and should not- ever be said of basic fundamental human rights and equalities.


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