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    Joseph Ratzinger observes that in many erstwhile democratic systems, there are key, central antidemocratic elements, often referred to as rights. Now it may be that the majority of a society agrees on all the rights it legally recognises at certain instances of time, but the point of these rights - or at least one point of them - is to restrict the power of the majority, whether directly exerted through referendums or indirectly through elected representatives to change the law; vox populi is not vox Dei.

    I believe that this observation is uncontroversial. The issue that it raises, however, is: what should these rights be? Are they merely subjective, decided by whoever is in power, or are they normative, at least in part? If normative, that is, grounded in some real objective moral standards, how are they to be determined in pluralistic contexts where there are differing norms?

  • #2
    I do not agree with Joseph Ratzinger's statement concerning 'central antidemocratic elements,' because of the foundation of 'Constitutional Government Principles' that protect the rights of individual and minorities takes precedence over democratic majority rule. Yes, the principle of Democratic systems is the rule of the majority, but under the restraints of Constitutional Principles. Constitutional Principles such as 'separation of Powers' allow for the role and voice of minority groups in government.

    I have never been a fan of Joseph Ratzinger.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 04-23-2014, 07:50 AM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
      I do not agree with Joseph Ratzinger's statement concerning 'central antidemocratic elements,' because of the foundation of 'Constitutional Government Principles' that protect the rights of individual and minorities takes precedence over democratic majority rule. Yes, the principle of Democratic systems is the rule of the majority, but under the restraints of Constitutional Principles. Constitutional Principles such as 'separation of Powers' allow for the role and voice of minority groups in government.

      I have never been a fan of Joseph Ratzinger.
      You claim to disagree while simultaneously stating the exact same thing. By stipulating the rights as foundational and giving them precedence over democratic majority rule, you're proving that they are in essence antidemocratic.
      I'm not here anymore.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Paprika View Post
        Joseph Ratzinger observes that in many erstwhile democratic systems, there are key, central antidemocratic elements, often referred to as rights. Now it may be that the majority of a society agrees on all the rights it legally recognises at certain instances of time, but the point of these rights - or at least one point of them - is to restrict the power of the majority, whether directly exerted through referendums or indirectly through elected representatives to change the law; vox populi is not vox Dei.

        I believe that this observation is uncontroversial. The issue that it raises, however, is: what should these rights be? Are they merely subjective, decided by whoever is in power, or are they normative, at least in part? If normative, that is, grounded in some real objective moral standards, how are they to be determined in pluralistic contexts where there are differing norms?
        I agree that the observation is uncontroversial. I'd suggest that these rights are not purely objective or subjective in nature. To correct a minor point, though, either case can be normative. Normative is contrasted with positive, not with subjective. For all of that, I find the usage of objective and subjective to be more problematic than anything, especially in these kinds of discussions.

        Regardless, pluralistic societies are still capable of describing a concept of universal rights, but it must be done carefully. The right to life is something all people desire. The right to non-interference is another. These two alone are sufficient, in my opinion.

        The U.S. attempted to codify these concepts via "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". I think that last is misguided, as 'happiness' is too culture-specific. Many people would attempt to add other universal rights, and again the U.S. discussion (if not intent) has turned the so-called Bill of Rights into presumed universal standards.
        I'm not here anymore.

        Comment


        • #5
          In the tradition of social thought within Catholicism, every right can be understood as not only balanced by a corresponding responsibility or obligation, but directed toward it: a right to free speech exists not for its own sake, but for the sake of the pursuit of the truth. The right to private property is not absolute, but rather intended to protect and promote the goods involved in labor. Rights don't exist on their own or for their own sake; their foundation is always in a particular idea of the nature of human happiness.
          Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
            ...
            The U.S. attempted to codify these concepts via "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". I think that last is misguided, as 'happiness' is too culture-specific. ...
            Happiness isn't the operative, however. 'Pursuit' is - leaving happiness to the definition of the individual.

            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

            My Personal Blog

            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
              In the tradition of social thought within Catholicism, every right can be understood as not only balanced by a corresponding responsibility or obligation, but directed toward it: a right to free speech exists not for its own sake, but for the sake of the pursuit of the truth. The right to private property is not absolute, but rather intended to protect and promote the goods involved in labor. Rights don't exist on their own or for their own sake; their foundation is always in a particular idea of the nature of human happiness.
              I don't believe in rights so much as duty. Duty first to God, then our fellow man. Even if we have to set aside personal rights in the process.
              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                Happiness isn't the operative, however. 'Pursuit' is - leaving happiness to the definition of the individual.
                I consider pursuit to be part of liberty. The specific phrase "pursuit of happiness" then becomes either redundant or focused on happiness.
                I'm not here anymore.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seer View Post
                  I don't believe in rights so much as duty. Duty first to God, then our fellow man. Even if we have to set aside personal rights in the process.
                  Heh, duty is probably more nebulous than rights.
                  I'm not here anymore.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by seer View Post
                    I don't believe in rights so much as duty. Duty first to God, then our fellow man. Even if we have to set aside personal rights in the process.
                    The way I see it, you don't set aside rights to pursue duties so much as you recognize that the purpose of rights is to allow us to pursue those duties, which is itself the way in which we attain human happiness.
                    Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                      Joseph Ratzinger observes that in many erstwhile democratic systems, there are key, central antidemocratic elements, often referred to as rights. Now it may be that the majority of a society agrees on all the rights it legally recognises at certain instances of time, but the point of these rights - or at least one point of them - is to restrict the power of the majority, whether directly exerted through referendums or indirectly through elected representatives to change the law; vox populi is not vox Dei.

                      I believe that this observation is uncontroversial. The issue that it raises, however, is: what should these rights be? Are they merely subjective, decided by whoever is in power, or are they normative, at least in part? If normative, that is, grounded in some real objective moral standards, how are they to be determined in pluralistic contexts where there are differing norms?
                      The philosophy behind the American government was that the rights of people were innumerable: the right to breathe the air around you, the right to live, the right to travel freely, the right to keep the money you earn, the right to eat (the food that is yours), the full powers over your own property. Then it seems that people can go into certain pursuits so as to yield some of these rights. If you borrow money, then your property or earnings may have a limited claim by others. If you agree to a limited government, you are allowing some powers to be used by that government. In some agreement with Spart, the freedom was assumed to be viable only if the people were religious (or Christian) so as to have a proper perspective on duty and morality. In such a philosophic understanding, the government then is not to be the designator of those rights -- but rather is to be restricted to certain behaviors so as to avoid trampling on the rights of the people.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
                        Heh, duty is probably more nebulous than rights.
                        No, not if you read the New Testament. Start with the Love of God then the love of your fellow man. I think we instinctively understand what love is and isn't.
                        Last edited by seer; 04-23-2014, 12:34 PM.
                        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
                          The way I see it, you don't set aside rights to pursue duties so much as you recognize that the purpose of rights is to allow us to pursue those duties, which is itself the way in which we attain human happiness.
                          I buy that...
                          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
                            I consider pursuit to be part of liberty. The specific phrase "pursuit of happiness" then becomes either redundant or focused on happiness.
                            I think the modern conception of liberty includes the freedom to pursue goals for the purpose of making oneself happy - but that was not necessarily the conception of liberty that the Founding Fathers were using. As such, the phrase isn't redundant and happiness is left to the individual to define.

                            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                            My Personal Blog

                            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by seer View Post
                              No, not if you read the New Testament. Start with the Love of God then the love of your fellow man. I think we instinctively understand what love is and isn't.
                              Love is as specific to each person as happiness is. A person may understand instinctively what they themselves consider love, but that doesn't mean anyone else understands it as love. Books like the The Five Love Languages illustrate that nicely.


                              Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                              I think the modern conception of liberty includes the freedom to pursue goals for the purpose of making oneself happy - but that was not necessarily the conception of liberty that the Founding Fathers were using. As such, the phrase isn't redundant and happiness is left to the individual to define.
                              I'd be interested in hearing what conception of liberty you think the Founding Fathers were using. For the sake of clarity, I think we agree that happiness is left to the individual to define for all that I consider it a futile and misguided goal.
                              I'm not here anymore.

                              Comment

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