Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rights of Communities

So, I haven't read the Sagoff article yet but I wanted to take issue with the premise that rights accrue only to individuals. Better I think to allow for this, obviously, but also to acknowledge that hierarchies exist and that there should be no logical fault in assigning rights to communities of individuals. To the extent that we as individuals rely on support of other individuals, then we should care about the rights of others as well as ourselves. Further, to the extent that communities of individuals rely on the support of other communities of individuals (and I don't think this is an unreasonable assumption), then we should also care about the rights of communities (access to markets, modes of education, etc.) because this will affect how our societies interact. Sure, there is a difficulty extending this to future generations. But if we care about the human traditions and cultural institutions currently in place and care about the human condition, assuming it is in some way affected by the environments we live in, then we should also care, I think, about making sure our actions in the present foster and preserve these things we find important, allowing for the right of later communities of individuals to extend and elaborate upon them. Every generation has an anguished group of soul searchers that think differently or are somehow uncomfortable with the status quo. We should at least care about those individuals in future generations and make sure they still have the option to work toward some resolution, if only for themselves. Anyway, ill formed thoughts.

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