Legal concepts are for lawyers. They are boring. Moral philosophy is not concerned with legal matters, the moral philosopher cares not whether rights are enshrined in law, nor even if they are respected.
I don't want to dance around in a ring and suppose. To dodge the practical is fine in many philosophical matters, but in social questions I'm not so sure....
So much silly sh*t gets talked when no one connects it to the real. Armchair generals and all that, griping about the way things should be.
I want a society that protects the exception from the rule. How's that?
If the moral philosopher doesn't care, he or she might as well be building sandcastles. I'm no Marxist. I don't think it's philosophy's job to change the world. But I do think that morals are a field especially suited for the type that gives a d*mn about the application of their ideas.
I think the object of law is to make the victim whole. I call this healing. You call it restoring to honor. Actually, I think I like your words for it a little better but they still have the same general meaning. Ideally the law would also provide the steps that must be taken to restore the honor of the perpetrator though this may require ritual suicide in quite a few cases.
I'm a big fan of bringing back the concepts of honor and virtue especially if we can be smart about it. Let the head rule but let the heart have its place. The head being the seat of intellect and the heart being the seat of honor (also love, courage, in a word virtue). Also, I'm a big fan of Don Quixote. I'm not so sure about Cervantes though.
So I don't know why you called it non-sense. And I take issue with this, My honor is offended and I demand satisfaction. Pistols at dawn!!!
Rights are, for me, a legal concept. They are an invention just like light-bulbs. Sure, I'm well aware that rights are "fictions." So is the self. I like both my self and my rights. I hold these fictions to be most pleasant. That individual humans are dignified and beautiful --- potentially!
We are talking of legal rights. At some point skepticism has to put away its scribbles are secure some food, dodge the arrows of enemies. Laws are necessary because humans are predatory. Hobbes was no slobbe.
Athens was founded as a hide-out for thieves. So "they" say.
No Sir; the object of law is to make society whole...Look at the way the Greeks treated the bodies of their condemned...They would take them to the border and toss them over it... They were a curse which brought the wrath of God down upon them, and they considered it their duty to lift that curse, and that is was just neighborly to lay it on another, like their neighbors...They would actually select some one to be exiled if they could find no one guilty of crime, and such people without their communities had no rights, and were in danger until returned...We have examples of this in our most common sorts of comedies; and no one can deny that every club finds its unity in exclusion, and people think that the exclusion of the bad element is healthy in the same sense that ancients thought ill health was curse from God...
In some senses law as we know it, dispensed by whole comunities used to be the provence of the moot, the doom, or the thing... There the object was both peace, and -making the vicitims whole...Those folks accepted group responsibility, and also they accepted fate...No one could be killed unless it was his fate, but that did not remove the responsibility from those guilty, and I mean those, because the whole group would be held responsible for the actions of their individual...People bargained, blood money was paid; fate was thrown on the table to stand for mercy, and everyone wanted peace...Among the Anglo Saxons, a group might have to pay blood money even if the killing was in self defense, and it worked among all tribal people everywhere who played, and play yet today by the same rules...State imposed law deny the rights of the victims and gives injury in their names...The guilty leave detention with a grudge against society, but it is society, the community which pays because the only group with a right of defense is the state, and the state has police for its own defense... There is not one bit of advantage to being a victim unless the victor has some money, but not enough for a good attorney...Defend yourself... Be not a victim...That is just another word for loser...
If you call the fight, I call the weapons, and I'll take broadswords, and from either ends of a ten foot plank...If you hit me you are going to have to throw something...
Now we have a show of honor...People take oaths of office, and marriage vows; The judges all like to get up in black and carry a mallet, but it is all for show... Does it have any fundmental meaning to those people, us people???War has far surpassed honor as a cause of blood shed... We could not be worse off...People used to get by on their honor, and we see from our literature to what extent people would go to defend their honor...It was their economy, and the perception of honor might save a person's life, and all bargains and all treaties and all marriages rested on it....We pay for our want of honor...
We pay for law to control those honor or community once controlled...We pay an extortionate fee for law, and can feel no more secure for it...Just as primatives thought it lucky to sleep over a piece of iron we must today sleep with our Iron, but just between you and me, it is better to have a dog...I have myself slept with a handle, and I am lucky I did not have some vivid dream and blow my damm head off... But some places, Smith is the security sytem and wesson is the insurance policy...So; if we are reduced to self defense because law has not resulted in justice or peace, isn't it time to start over???Right now we bear all the cost of formal law that does not work only to have every man as his own cop without the benefit of badge or blue suit...
What I should say is that when wearing their moral philosopher hat, moral philosophers don't care about the application of their ideas. Why should they, it isn't relevant to their work as moral philosophers. When they are not indulging in normative ethics it is perfectly acceptable to suggest ways in which their ideas are best applied.
I agree that sometimes moral philosophers forget that morality is about real people, living real lives, and it does cause them to adopt absurd positions. Utilitarianism is notorious for this, but I think it is symptomatic of the 'system-approach' (for lack of a better term) to ethics; the sort of thing Kant and Mill do, reducing morality to one simple premise and building a system around that. They concentrate on the principle, and, forgetting what really constitutes a person, what persons really are and are like, they brush off what should be counterexamples to their systems.
The question for moral philosophy then, is why do you want a government that protects the exception to the rule?
Mr. D; I have read a lot of books and would be inclined to write some if I had any original informaton... As it is, you have to be content with my bringing you up to speed...The German tribes of a thousand years ago were little different from the Native American tribes of five hundred years ago, and neither was far different from the Greek and Roman tribes of days longer past...I cannot so much as apologize for being long with a subject that demands much study...You will never understand what we have become if you do no know what, and where we have been..
So, these rights, everyone seems so anxious to claim, on what basis do you think you have any inherent or inalienable rights at all?
I've read some books too and I think a lot. I can appreciate origins. Are you drawing your definitions of law, rights, honor from this comparative study of ancient societies? Do more modern conceptions of law, rights and honor come into play at all?
Those societies worked, to a point...Once wealth divided them they were done... Before that there was no clock on them, and when they let themselves be divided, the clock was ticking... So no, I would not reproduce failure as our founding fathers did... They envied Rome in the empire, and wanted to get there as quickly as possible... They thought they could avoid the pitfalls that Rome found, but they did not... When the wealthy own government they will own the commonwealth, just as in Rome...
What are the main injustices that rights should empower us against? You mention the problem of the wealthy owning the government. To the extent that this is true (and it is true to some extent) I would call this an injustice. What do we call (or name) the right that would empower us against this injustice?
I don't think in terms of main injustices; because the implication is that there are some injustices we may live with, but there are not...injustice drives a wedge between a person and their society whether they are giving or recieving injustice...If I may repeat some lines attributed to Socrates: When asked; when there would be justice in Athens, he replied, that there will be justice when those not injured by injustice are as indignant and those who are...We should be indignant..
The greatest injustice we face is property rights...People die for the want of rights, but property does not live...It is property owners who own property rights, and it destroyes the equality essential to democracy...Property makes people unequal, and it gives people greater access to governent who have money, because access to government is seen as a right protected by the constitution...
"No one is free until everyone is free."
We are roughly in agreement about this. I'm not sure if I am against all forms of property but obviously some forms of property are injustices (Terminator corn being one extreme example but many many others as well). Property is one of those things I am still struggling to understand.
I might start a "What is Property?" thread. It would be interesting to hear people's different definitions and justifications.
Say yes to rights...
Out of all our rights our happiness grows...
Actually, I'm not convinced that this is true. I think there is obviously some truth to it, but I think that there would be many individuals and societies that would argue that much happiness arises from deference, and giving up of our "rights" to the benefit of others.
I live in "Amish Country", so I have a clear example of a culture that has found meaning and morality in the concept of not demanding personal rights, and they have a strong community and culture in large part because of this. This sense of belonging and meaning-in-community is a form of happiness that I see very little of in the average American life, which has learned from little-on-up to demand their rights.
Some of my people used to live in Pennsylvania... I bought a hat from a place out there called intercourse...The hat said I heart intercourse... I can't imagine saying that...How would you like to be able to introduce yourself, and say: I come from intercourse... And everyone could say: Join the crowd...
The Amish may be a strong community because they make a common sacrifice to the spirit of their community... There community tends to put them at odds with other communities... They hunt all over every bodies land where my brother in law lives... They have to get ugly with them and it still does not do much good...They are a strong community and they do as they wish some times...
I should point out that communites exist to defend rights, so if we are paying to be part of a national community that does not defend our rights, that requires our constant defense of right against, what are we doing it for???
You know Intercourse is not far from Paradise, right?
They aren't perfect, thats for sure. I was just trying to illustrate the point that there are benefits (and happiness) to be had by sacrificing rights. I think we agree on that point. The only reason I bring this up is that it challenges the premise of your OP, that our happiness comes from rights.
Is that true for all communities? Does the Amish community exist to defend rights? That certainly wouldn't be the philosophical grounds on which they would want to base their community. It may function that way in some times/places, but I think the main purpose of it is to create a unity and fellowship among people of like beliefs. In my understanding, their common support for the community is not to guarantee personal rights, but from a desire to belong and to behave appropriately (as they see it). It reminds me of the time I spent in Kyrgyzstan... Communal cultures are just a whole different animal than our Western individualistic cultures.