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 Topic: Human Rights and Wrongs

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  • Human Rights and Wrongs
     OP - August 14, 2019, 04:14 PM

    An interesting discussion about human rights which many understand to be fundamental despite changes through time.

    Quote from:
    Jonathan Sumption argues that judges - especially those of the European Court of Human Rights - have usurped power by expanding the interpretation of human rights law. Lord Sumption argues that concepts of human rights have a long history in the common law. But by contrast, the European Convention on Human Rights has become a dynamic treaty, taking on new interpretations and powers. Article 8 – the right to private and family life – is the most striking example. Should these decisions be made by judges or parliament? The lecture is recorded before an audience in the old Parliament House in Edinburgh.


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005msd
  • Human Rights and Wrongs
     Reply #1 - August 14, 2019, 04:47 PM

    The transcript is available at the same link - as well as the rest of the Reith Lecture series.

    The below sums up my bugbear with those who appeal to human rights when their values are challenged.

    Quote from:
    Democracy, in its traditional sense, is a fragile construct. It is extremely vulnerable to the idea that one’s own values are so obviously urgent and right that the means by which one gets them adopted don’t matter. That is one reason why it exists in only a minority of states. Even in those states it is of relatively recent origin and its basic premises are under challenge by the advocates of various value-based systems. One of these is a system of law-based  decision  making  which  would  entrench  a  broad  range  of  liberal principles  as  the constitutional  basis  of  the  state. Democratic  choice  would  be  impotent  to  remove  or  limit them without the authority of courts of law.   

    Now,  this  is  a  model  in  which  many  lawyers  ardently  believe.  The  essential objection to it is that it is conceptually no different from the claim of communism, fascism, monarchism,  Catholicism,  Islamism  and  all  the  other  great  isms  that  have  historically claimed  a  monopoly  of  legitimate  political  discourse  on  the  ground  that  its advocates considered themselves to be obviously right. But other models are possible. One can believe in rights without wanting to remove them from the democratic arena by placing them under the exclusive  jurisdiction  of  a  priestly  caste  of judges. One  can  believe  that  one’s  fellow citizens ought to choose liberal values without wanting to impose them.

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