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Old 19th May 2017, 07:53 PM   #1
The_Animus
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Is there such a thing as Universal Rights?

A friend and I had a discussion about healthcare as a universal right.

I support a universal healthcare style system because I believe it provides a wide variety of benefits both to individuals and to society as a whole (reduced suffering, increased health and happiness, improved productivity, not being stuck at a job because you need insurance) , but I don't believe it is a universal right because I don't believe in universal rights.

He disagrees and believes it is a universal right in that it is something everyone deserves simply by being born.

It seems to me very much like religion

The Theist says: "Healthcare is a god given right!"

The Atheist/Agnostic/Spiritual says: "Healthcare is a universal right!"

In both cases it's a person taking their own moral viewpoints and attributing/associating them to something of a higher power whether that's god or the universe.
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Old 19th May 2017, 08:22 PM   #2
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I don't even know where to begin with this. Can you focus on one part of your question, and start there?
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Old 19th May 2017, 09:24 PM   #3
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There is no universal right. By that I mean you can only get the right the government enforce and protect. Think about it , if for some unknown reason the executive and judiciary (both branch of the US government) decided to not enforce the first amendment, e.g. start censoring everybody speaking against the president , put them in prison, do you still have that first amendment right ? No. On paper you have it, but the reality is that without judicial and executive enforcement you have nothing.

So that take care of the universal part.

Now do you have the right of health care ? Nope neither. It is just that it makes sense for the society to have such a protection net , as it allows productive member to be more productive, and non productive member to be protected, from what are stochastic elements. Stop completely healthcare and you have people dying literally in the street ("bring out yer dead!"), and due to one random accident being removed from productive society for ever, because they can't pay for a simple operation.

The question that is left is , how much healthcare make sense for a government to pay for, and that is a combination of cultural and economic problem (it has to be taxed, and beyond a certain point it does not bring positive effect to society , e.g. there is no reason to pay for most aesthetic surgery - except some like reconstruction surgery).

Even in that "commie socialistic" paradise of UHC countries, there are difference of value and care given.
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Old 19th May 2017, 10:21 PM   #4
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Is there such a thing as Universal Rights?

Yes.
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Old 19th May 2017, 10:33 PM   #5
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Not this again...

Rights are an incredibly useful fiction that allows people to free themselves of most survival-related anxieties.
As such, including a right to healthcare would be very useful for the functioning of a society.
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Old 20th May 2017, 01:00 AM   #6
The_Animus
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
There is no universal right. By that I mean you can only get the right the government enforce and protect. Think about it , if for some unknown reason the executive and judiciary (both branch of the US government) decided to not enforce the first amendment, e.g. start censoring everybody speaking against the president , put them in prison, do you still have that first amendment right ? No. On paper you have it, but the reality is that without judicial and executive enforcement you have nothing.

So that take care of the universal part.

Now do you have the right of health care ? Nope neither. It is just that it makes sense for the society to have such a protection net , as it allows productive member to be more productive, and non productive member to be protected, from what are stochastic elements. Stop completely healthcare and you have people dying literally in the street ("bring out yer dead!"), and due to one random accident being removed from productive society for ever, because they can't pay for a simple operation.

The question that is left is , how much healthcare make sense for a government to pay for, and that is a combination of cultural and economic problem (it has to be taxed, and beyond a certain point it does not bring positive effect to society , e.g. there is no reason to pay for most aesthetic surgery - except some like reconstruction surgery).

Even in that "commie socialistic" paradise of UHC countries, there are difference of value and care given.
This is pretty much what I said to my friend
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Old 20th May 2017, 01:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Not this again...

Rights are an incredibly useful fiction that allows people to free themselves of most survival-related anxieties.
As such, including a right to healthcare would be very useful for the functioning of a society.
That is a pretty accurate description actually
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Old 20th May 2017, 02:39 AM   #8
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In the UK we apparently no longer have a right to healthcare even if you pay into it all your life. You can spend 50 years paying into the NHS and then, when it comes to needing it later in life you are forced to pay with your own savings and, eventually, your house.
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Old 20th May 2017, 05:36 AM   #9
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I agree that the idea of rights of any kind are a societal construct; but a very useful one that reflects on the society itself.
An ideal situation would be universal healthcare of high quality on demand. However the society has to decide how to fund this as it tends to be very expensive.

The current attitude of some of our august political leaders is pretty callous; just shut up and go die somewhere. "No one dies in the USA for lack of health care." Right....
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by The_Animus View Post
In both cases it's a person taking their own moral viewpoints and attributing/associating them to something of a higher power whether that's god or the universe.
That is what moral viewpoints are for.

(See Kantian Ethics and the Categorical ImperativeWP.)
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:42 AM   #11
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It's very simple. Inherent rights are those you are born with, and nobody else has any right to take away. In this way, the concept of kings and man-gods with metaphysical (as opposed to merely physical brute) authority to lord over you disappears as a concept.

Statutory rights are those created by legislation (where the legislature is created by the people and granted certain listed powers and no others) that anybody may take advantage of. However, they are not inherent in you. The fact someone squoze you out and you have a heartbeat doesn't mean others must serve you to keep you alive by dint of them having a heartbeat, too.


"Universal" doesn't enter into it except as a concept that everyone is equal under the law and thus said statutory rights would apply to them.
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Old 20th May 2017, 08:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by The_Animus View Post
A friend and I had a discussion about healthcare as a universal right.

I support a universal healthcare style system because I believe it provides a wide variety of benefits both to individuals and to society as a whole (reduced suffering, increased health and happiness, improved productivity, not being stuck at a job because you need insurance)...
Why does the result matter? Isn't appeal to consequences a fallacy?

Quote:
... , but I don't believe it is a universal right because I don't believe in universal rights.

He disagrees and believes it is a universal right in that it is something everyone deserves simply by being born.
What does it mean for something "to be there"?

Are there rights at all? In what way are property rights different from universal rights, if at all?

Are there numbers, like the number 2?

Are there atoms or photons?


Quote:
It seems to me very much like religion

The Theist says: "Healthcare is a god given right!"

The Atheist/Agnostic/Spiritual says: "Healthcare is a universal right!"

In both cases it's a person taking their own moral viewpoints and attributing/associating them to something of a higher power whether that's god or the universe.
Metaphysically, there is a deep difference. There is lots of variety among theists but I'll just write with only the euro-american variety in mind.
They believe that disrespecting god's wishes has negative consequences which are not at first obvious (ie you go to hell for your sins). That means sinning is like smoking. At first it feels good but bad things eventually happen to you.
Since they believe god is almighty and has designed the universe, god is as much responsible for the consequences of smoking as he is for punishing sinners. The only difference is wether the consequences is before or after death.

This dimension is not implied by the universal right concept.

Socially there are obvious parallels. In both cases, the declaration serves to assure others that one will behave in a certain way. If you convince people that you sincerely believe then they will trust you.
It's a much more credible way of saying: "I wouldn't kill you even if it were to my advantage," than actually saying it.
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Old 23rd May 2017, 12:37 PM   #13
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I don't think the idea of human rights really stands up to scrutiny.

Let us consider two possible worlds: A and B. There is a version of Jack and Jill in both worlds. World A has universal rights (life, liberty, etc.), and World B does not. In both worlds, Jack shoots Jill to death for no particular reason.

What is the practical difference between the two, either in terms of what has actually occurred, or what will likely occur as a result? For example, in World B, would the local police officer say to Jack, "Well, I was going to arrest you, but then I realized that I would only be enforcing man-made laws, not universal rights, so I guess I'll just let you go."
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Old 23rd May 2017, 12:55 PM   #14
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Without a shared belief in Human Rights, no one could make any important deals with people they haven't build extensive trust with.
Human Rights form a norm for how we treat others and can expect to be treated by them regardless of differences in hierarchy between us.
Innovation would crumble if we couldn't bring our bosses bad news fro fear of them literally shooting the messenger.
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Old 24th May 2017, 04:53 AM   #15
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Human rights are a legal fiction established generally through a mix of tradition and legislation for a particular society. As a result they are not fixed across different societies and cultures, and are only as real as society's willingness to enforce them.
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Old 24th May 2017, 05:37 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
In the UK we apparently no longer have a right to healthcare even if you pay into it all your life. You can spend 50 years paying into the NHS and then, when it comes to needing it later in life you are forced to pay with your own savings and, eventually, your house.
In England & Wales. (not sure about Northern Ireland)

In Scotland, Personal Care is free (for those aged 65+). One could argue where you draw the line between healthcare and other care, but regardless of that, Scotland decided to make it free.

That's not to say that care charges aren't high. They definitely are. Care is expensive.

Also, the amount of care we are now providing is constantly rising. People are living longer and have higher expectations of the care they expect to get. in previous years, when families and communities would support people, state provided care provision was seen as a last resort. Now it is seen as almost inevitable.

I don't have any answers, but it's not easy. Care costs.
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Old 24th May 2017, 07:10 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
I don't think the idea of human rights really stands up to scrutiny.

Let us consider two possible worlds: A and B. There is a version of Jack and Jill in both worlds. World A has universal rights (life, liberty, etc.), and World B does not. In both worlds, Jack shoots Jill to death for no particular reason.

What is the practical difference between the two, either in terms of what has actually occurred, or what will likely occur as a result? For example, in World B, would the local police officer say to Jack, "Well, I was going to arrest you, but then I realized that I would only be enforcing man-made laws, not universal rights, so I guess I'll just let you go."
It seems to me that one possible conclusion would be that a world without universal rights is simply not a possible world...

Suppose we do the same with numbers: There's two possible worlds, one where things can be numbered and one where they cannot be. In both worlds, Jack and Jill go to fetch two buckets of water, except in the world without numbers they can't fetch two so... uh... a bucket for each? Or would that imply the number one?

Eventually, I think that both thought experiments fail because they make an implicit category error.
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Old 24th May 2017, 07:18 AM   #18
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Rights are human inventions. If they're built into law so that everyone has them automatically, then they are called universal.
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Old 24th May 2017, 04:04 PM   #19
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A right that you have to depend on anyone else providing for you, is no right at all..
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Old 24th May 2017, 11:59 PM   #20
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A parable.

Human rights are like ten spirits that were in the Ideal World while waiting to be sent to the Earth of Senses. These spirits didn’t know what kind of life was reserved for them. They could be a woman, a man, a king, a slave, soldier, a priest… Suddenly a big ideal screen opened and the spirits could see a lot of scenes of the life in the towns of the earth. Some were awful. Other not. Then the Demiurge came and asked them: What are the things that you don’t want for you in any case when you will be in the Earth of Senses?

We can imagine what things would be chosen. Nobody want to be a homeless old man in a cold night of winter, a woman that has not money to pay a doctor to her sick child, a slave, a poor girl in Ethiopia, a soldier burned alive, etc., etc.,

The total set of these wishes are the Human Rights. They are not universal in the sense that were written in some Tables of the Law; they are not similar to the law of gravity; but they are universal in the sense that we can suppose that they would be chosen by every rational men and women in these specific circumstances.
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Old 25th May 2017, 02:54 AM   #21
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If you mean "God given" rights then that depends on what your religious views are. Otherwise, it is just what others say your rights are.

The closest there is to a universal right might be in commerce where everybody has an equal right to enforce a contract that they may have entered into. Even then, that is not a guaranteed right.
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Old 25th May 2017, 07:05 PM   #22
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Having a right to enforce it, doesn't mean it will be enforced.

That puts us back to a ' right ' being something you have the power to enforce..
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Old 25th May 2017, 10:55 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
If you mean "God given" rights then that depends on what your religious views are. Otherwise, it is just what others say your rights are.
“My” proposal is independent of any particular belief, gods included. Of course, some particular beliefs –political, religious, moral, etc.‒ can obstacle the compliance of a right. For example: some fundamentalist religions are against gender equality. But my proposal avoids this point by supposing that the “spirits” know neither their sex nor social position, nor cultural background. They are supposed to be under a “veil of ignorance” and their decision will be only sustained by natural disgust or fear to affliction.
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
The closest there is to a universal right might be in commerce where everybody has an equal right to enforce a contract that they may have entered into.
Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Having a right to enforce it, doesn't mean it will be enforced.
That puts us back to a ' right ' being something you have the power to enforce.
I agree with Skeptical Greg. A human right is independent of any fair play, trade, etc. It is something that you cannot put at stake, win or loss. You have this right, whatever you do. For example: if you are playing tennis and you win the first set you cannot take the racquet from your opponent. He has the right to have a racquet under any circumstances. This is how Human Rights work. You cannot lose the right to a fair trial, even if you are a killer.

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