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In modern times, the idea of "individual rights" has gained massive popularity as we strive for equality and freedom for everyone.
originally posted by: Dark Ghost
The attempt to balance the rights of the individual with the laws and expectations of the state in which they live has been an issue over which humans have argued for millennia. In modern times, the idea of "individual rights" has gained massive popularity as we strive for equality and freedom for everyone.
A popular motto of those in support of individual rights is something along the lines of: "as long as I don't break any laws, and I am not infringing on the rights of others, I should be able to do as I please..." While the whole statement could be challenged critically using the philosophical method, the part I find most contentious is the "not infringing on the rights of others".
At face value, it appears like a simple message that does not need to be complicated: if you want to do something, make sure it is legal and does not negatively affect anybody else in the process. Pretty simple, hey? Ok, say I want to play guitar. Legal? Check. Does it negatively affect anybody else? Nope. All good. So I hook up my guitar to its amplifier and start playing.
After an hour of playing, I get a knock on my door from my neighbour: "can you tone it down a bit, I have an early start tomorrow and need sleep!". After considering that they are a hard-working people, I unplug my guitar and head outside for a smoke. (Whose rights were infringed upon?)
As I am lighting up outside my house, I notice the foul stench of manure in my other neighbour's garden. The odour is so powerful that I cannot stay outside without getting dizzy and feeling nauseous. I decide to smoke inside instead. After arriving home from work, my room-mate is not impressed and lectures me that smoking is bad and she should not have to tolerate the smell inside. (Whose rights were infringed upon?)
The next day I head to the mall to buy a gift for my friend. While there, I head to the fast food restaurant where I am greeted by activists protesting the poor treatment and killing methods used by companies in the food industry. They do not threaten or intimidate me, but their actions cause a delay in receiving my food. (Whose rights were infringed upon?)
I notice my cousin is at the mall and decide to have a coffee with her. We start to form a deep meaningful conversation, when out of the blue, we both jump at the sound of a loud groan. This sound makes us feel nervous and uneasy and has clearly unsettled us.
The sound came from a young male with a physical or mental disability, whose carer is chatting away, and except for the occasional glance, seems indifferent to his client's behaviour. The sounds continue and my cousin and I simply cannot continue our conversation so we decide to say our goodbyes and talk another time. (Whose rights were infringed upon?)
As I return home, I notice there are roadworks in the street next door and the noise is awful. I speak to one of the workmen, and he informs me that this will continue for the next several days from 6am-4pm, which conveniently I have off work, which means I will not be able to sleep in. (Whose rights were infringed upon?)
The above are every day scenarios that most people should be able to relate to at some level. It seems that not infringing on the rights of others is harder than most people think. Which begs the questions: where do my rights end and where do yours begin?
originally posted by: Woodcarver
In my city, i can be as loud as i want until 10:00pm. Then the ordinance kicks in and makes it a public disturbace charge.
well... The term "rights" is very specific. Especially when you are refering to "rights" being infringed upon and the issue of legality, which you brought up in your OP. If you ask some one to define your rights, you would have to refer to the "BOR" , or local laws. If you are talking about people using their "right" of free speech in public places, and it happens to make your food late, you are just out of luck because that is not protected by the law.
originally posted by: Dark Ghost
a reply to: Woodcarver
This thread was not intended to be a discussion only about the USA and its Bill of Rights (BoR). And I am not basing my arguments on the BoR as guaranteeing individual rights, but rather asking you, the reader, how we determine individual rights and what are their boundaries.
If your argument is that the state determines individual rights and that's how it should be, that's fine. But more specifically, I am talking about situations where the government does not need to get involved.
a reply to: Benevolent Heretic
Why do you say nobody's rights were infringed upon, because the government did not have to get involved? If so, then you are missing the point of this thread. This is not about whether governments have the right to intervene, but rather, in matters where the law is not being broken, how flexible are the boundaries of one individual's rights over another?