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Where do my rights end and where do yours begin?

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posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 02:54 AM
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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?




posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 03:15 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

For the system to work well, people would have to go beyond actions that are legal and don't infringe upon others: consideration of others, being able to swap places and understand how your actions affect others, and temperance. It seems these days of me-me-me, the things I listed have gone by the wayside, or are outdated.

To me it's pretty easy not to infringe on other's rights. The hard part is recognition, cooperation and compromise in an attempt to do the things we want without making our neighbor's lives miserable. Far as I'm concerned, you're free to do whatever you'd like, legally, without infringing on my rights or pushing your beliefs or agenda on me. I'll reciprocate in kind.



posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 03:55 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

It occurs where we site down and listen to each others arguments, why they think as they do and we discuss how can we proceed without either of us loosing any of our rights or freedoms.



posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 08:03 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost


In modern times, the idea of "individual rights" has gained massive popularity as we strive for equality and freedom for everyone.


I'm not sure how you define "modern times," but in terms of the USA, individual rights are the foundation of our nation from its beginning, and is exactly the reason we have a Constitutional Republic as opposed to a Democracy, which Thomas Jefferson described as "Two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch."

Generally speaking, rights are "self-evident;" in other words, if you can do it for yourself by yourself (or with other consenting adults), without hurting others, then it is your right.

In society, we have regulations and zoning ordinances, etc., to facilitate peaceful co-habitation. If you want to play your music inside your home where no one can here it, it's none of anyone else's business what music you play... if you want to play it loud enough it becomes audible to your neighbors, you can do so until 10:00 or whatever, and then must turn it down... construction crews are confined to certain waking hours for the same reasons. In a public situation, like shopping, you have the right to engage in the free market and freedom of association... but you do not have the right to make demands on others, as long as they are not hurting you and you can walk away.

Of course, I've also been told that "individual rights" are a "dog whistle." A bad thing. But I've never heard a good reason why, except a general "individual rights hurt others." I'm hoping to see that argument offered and/or expanded in your thread so maybe I can understand why!



posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:07 AM
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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?


I usually agree with you but i want to point out some glaring faults in your OP.

In all of these scenarios, you ask whose rights were infringed on? Nobody's rights as laid out in the bill of rights, were infringed upon. Your guitar scenario would be covered by your cities sound ordinance, or your HOA agreement, or apartment complex agreement. Not by the bill of rights.

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.

In your scenario with getting your food late? That is also not a question of your rights being infringed on. It sounds like you do not understand the concept of "rights". They do not prevent you from being inconvenienced. They mostly prevent the govt from discriminating against you for the reasons that are laid out in the bill of rights. Nothing more.

Road work??? Also not a question of your rights to sleep in being infringed upon.



posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:20 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

If you try and force me to inject my child with a cocktail of poison, your rights will end right there.



posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:20 AM
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a reply to: Dark Ghost

There's a good PODcast on this subject from several years ago.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

I agree with others here that no one's rights were violated in your scenario. It's a matter of respect, compromise and living in a SOCIETY, where my actions do sometimes affect others, if only in a small way. We have to have patience and realize that we live with other people.



posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:20 AM
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My right to swing my arm around in a circle ends at the tip of your nose.



posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 04:35 PM
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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.



But they have to prove it's over a certain decibel [as set by the city] And for that determination they need a decibel meter operated by a professional. Officers just don't get to make that determination by sound only. If issued a ticket you can fight it. BTDT

Here's an example Washington State Ecology Department on noise pollution

www.ecy.wa.gov...



edit on 12-8-2015 by LeslieD because: word change



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 12:47 AM
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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?


edit on 13/8/2015 by Dark Ghost because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 01:59 PM
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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?

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.
None of the inconveniences you mentioned are protected under law and law is how we define those lines you are otherwise refering to. I cannot stop someone from spinning around with their fists out in a public space, if they are not putting someone else in danger.


"Rights" are protected by law. If it is a situation where the law allows for your actions, then nobody else can stop you. They would then be breaking the law.

So i guess my answer is that the laws are what dictate your rights. If you want to change the boundaries of your rights, you would have to set the language in the law to reflect those new boundaries. I am happy with many of the laws in place, but i would also like some to be changed. To affect the law, you have to be active in politics.



posted on Aug, 15 2015 @ 02:23 PM
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Sounds more like a problem of personal space than individual freedom. If you want quiet and peace, then don't expect that in a busy city where cars are blowing horns and people are walking and talking.

The need for silence and personal space is a personal thing. Now when it comes to loud noises and strange oders affecting the neighbourhood, where people can't even be free from it in their own house (personal space), then it is important to decrease it.




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