Just in case you ever wondered what a "human right" is, look no further. The Ministry of Social Development's Social Policy Journal spells it out;
What Is A “Human Right”?
In essence, a rights-based approach to policy is one that ensures that policy is formulated within the parameters set by New Zealand’s human rights obligations, as found in domestic and international law. Before examining that body of law, however, it is helpful to think more generally about what is meant by a “human right” and, in particular, how a focus on “rights” might differ conceptually from, for example, the focus on “needs” that is invited by the yardstick of “wellbeing”.
Needs-based and rights-based approaches inevitably have much in common. However, the language of “rights” emphasises particular dimensions of the interests, entitlements and duties that are at stake. Thus we say that “John needs food” if we believe that in the absence of food, John’s wellbeing will suffer in some way that we regard as fundamental. We are identifying the predicament (neediness) that John will face if deprived of food (Waldron 1996:105). A similar assessment of John’s neediness may well also underlie the statement “John has a right to food”. The idea of rights, however, complements the idea of neediness in a number of respects.
First, the language of “rights” is the language of demand or entitlement. To say that “John needs food” tells us nothing about the moral or legal obligations of others in relation to John’s need. In contrast, the statement “John has a right to food” means that someone else (in the case of international human rights law, the state) has a duty to ensure that John’s right is protected (White and Ladley 2005:6, Waldron 1996:94).
This also has implications for how we view the rights-bearer. To say that John “needs” food is to present John as a passive victim and potential recipient of charity. To say that John has a “right” to food is to conceptualise John as a holder of entitlements. The language of rights is thus the language of empowerment. John is cast as a self-sufficient and independent rights-bearer whose assertion of rights amounts to a vindication of his autonomy, personhood and dignity (Waldron 1996:96 and 104). Further, John the autonomous rights-bearer does not have to “earn” his right to food. As a “human right” it is owed to him by virtue of his humanity. The concept of “deserving” and “undeserving” poor is largely absent from human rights thinking.
If John was "self-sufficient and independent" he would be "earning" his own blasted food. He is not made "self-sufficient and independent" by law that says other people have an obligation to buy food for him. Or clothes or cars or Ipods.
Is it any wonder this country is replete with whingers and moaners who think they are owed a living when we fill their heads with this sort of garbage.
Sunday General Debate
3 minutes ago