The Pen is mightier than the sword, but the Pen must sometimes move the sword against corruption if the corrupt are not moved by the pen.. An idea without an implementer is useless. "The Rulers do not carry the sword in vain"Rom 13:4

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Which comes first, Rights or..."the Good"?

The whole discussion about "Human Rights" presupposes an idea of "Good" and also, "Bad".  If we didn't have an idea of 'good', then rights are meaningless, because my 'right' to practice my religion free from the interference of others assumes that my religion and the practice of it are..."good".

Directly following on from the idea of "rights" is.. "good"...and this leads directly  a number of branches.
i) Are all religions equally good?
ii) If Religion "A" is practiced in the context of Non A followers, will the Non A's be harmed?
iii) If we resort to 'Utilitarianism' we might consider that the greatest 'good' for the greatest number is  the way to go. But if the greatest number derive happiness by watching a person cruelly stoned to death? hmmmm

But this comes back to the idea of..."Good".

One man cleans up his backyard from overgrowing treets, shrubs and plants and mows his lawn.
His neighbor looks on in horror at the 'environmental devastation'.
Which one is right?

What about cultural practices? Imagine a Japanese visitor to Australia comes along and bows low to the Aussie trying to shake his hand..."whammo" a slap in the face. (if the bow and extended hand meet at the same time). How about if one person in Australia greets a traditional Maori with an extended hand for shaking, and finds the Maori man coming very very close to his face and rubbing his nose on the Aussie... Are all cultures equal?  Difference in Culture does not mean a deficiency in 'goodness' but it does mean an obligation to use basic manners when visiting another person's culture. Clearly, or self evidently, the visitor should refrain from imposing his culture on the host.

Philosophical ideas of 'good' are many. It was 'good' to the likes of Plato and Aristotle for some men (Barbarians= Non Greeks) to be natural slaves.  That worked well for the Greeks but not so well for the Barbarians. One mans good is another mans evil.

It seems bleedingly obvious that we are in desperate need of a code of both rights and responsibilities or obligations. Rights do not 'belong' to anyone, they are simply a means of trying to ensure social harmony.

36 ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’
37 Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’  (Matt 22)

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