You really can’t make a distinction between “rights” enumerated by a group of people and things that are “right” based on moral criteria?
Ok, see, you recognize the distinction right here.
The government, which has been given authority by (some of) the people have defined peoples rights. You claim that the government has violated this right and then go on to say that it’s not right.
See what you did there? Exactly the same distinction I’m making. “rights” and what is “right” are not always the same. However, if the group wants to define something as a right they can, even if it’s wrong.
That’s a good question. Here is where people need to try to convince others to do the right thing.
A Christian might say that god says that murdering other people is wrong.
A Humanist might say that Hitler was wrong because his actions lead to the pain and suffering and death of millions of people.
The Christian has to convince others that god exists and that god values human life. The Humanist has to convince others to value freedom from pain and suffering and that pain and suffering is bad and it’s better when we agree that we have the right to be free from those states.
In either case, if you convince someone that they shouldn’t harm others because a god says so or you convince someone that they shouldn’t harm someone because causing pain and suffering is wrong, other peoples belief that causing you harm comes from the number of people that believe either idea.
Hitler didn’t believe in a god (or he believed that god saw his actions as just) and he didn’t care if he caused pain or suffering.
Hitler convinced a lot of people that he was right and lots of Jews died for it.
Let’s say that a society believes that it is “good” for society if each family plucks out the eyes of it’s first born child. Maybe they believe that because they do this because they believe the sacrifice leads to more rain and makes healthy crops.
Now, I’m sure you and I would agree that’s horrible, so when deciding what is “good” for society and what is “bad” we need to ground those ideas in something more concrete.
We know that pulling the eyes out of children has no effect on the rain. The task would be to convince that society that eye plucking and rain aren’t correlated. In this case education about how rain works might be the way to help end needless suffering.
Thus, I think your statement is true, but we’d need to see if we can agree what makes a “healthy society” (see this is where we get back to trying to convince each other of what is right). I would give examples backed by evidence. For example, a society where 1 out of every 4 people is blind won’t be as capable, or productive (all other things being equal), as a society where people aren’t blinded on purpose.
Do you really believe that? I don’t.
So was what Hitler did right?
Do Chimps have rights? They exist.
Sure, and none of that changes or contradicts anything I’ve said.
If you can convince a plurality of others that the statement you made is something they should believe, then they will extend you rights based on that belief.
Yep, declaring rights are intrinsic is a way to change people’s perceptions about how they feel about rights. If people believe that then they are more likely to believe that you have rights.
Still comes down to how many people believe these concepts. Let’s say you are right, and “rights” are intrinsic. What difference would it make if no one else believed it?
So if you want to claim that rights are intrinsic, knock yourself out. Practically speaking, the rights you enjoy come from others around you who believe in rights for others beyond themselves.