Alway's World

Patrick patrick at howard.genetics.utah.edu
Tue May 28 16:51:17 EST 1996


On Sun, 26 May 1996, Bert Gold wrote:

> Bert Gold> 1) Health care is a right not a privilege.
> 
> 	John Alway>  It's not a right.  You have no right to _force_
> 	John Alway>  another individual to serve you.  That's slavery,
[...]

I tend to agree that in a developed society, at least a certain level of 
health care should be considered a right.  The more affluent the society, 
the greater the baseline level of health care.  Health care is expensive 
so it simply cannot be given out to all in equal measure lest we suffer 
what communist societies do...sub par health care for everyone.  To 
afford health care for everyone at a proscribed equal level, by necessity 
the quality of care must be brought down to the lowest common denominator.

> Friends, in Mr. Alway's world, air, water, food and medicine are
> privileges which must be earned; they are not resources that as beings,
> we have rights to.  

I haven't seen the entire interposting but from the brief you offer, I do 
not see how his above statement translates into "air, water, food..." are 
privileges to be earned.  To some extent, however, they are.  If one is 
able bodied, then as a citizen they have the responsibility to society to 
do SOMETHING for the resources provided by others (aka, water and food).  
This doesn't mean that those who refuse to serve society in some capacity 
be allowed to starve or dehydrate until death, but it DOES mean that they 
get the minimal resources necessary to survive.

> Mr. Alway suggests that there are no such things as human 'rights'.
> 
> Insofar as he advocates for this position, Mr. Alway
> does not accept that he himself is an animal, suceptible to certain
> rights and privileges which derive therefrom.

There are no such things as _objective_ human rights.  All rights are 
simply those that people in a society agree are basic privileges to be 
afforded to everyone.  There is no objective right to anything.  

> Of course, it goes without saying that Mr. Alway must be an athiest,
> because no believer would ever hold that human beings are not
> eligible, by virtue of their humanity, to certain rights and privileges on
> god's green earth.

I don't think that bringing religion into the discussion is proper or 
relevant.  Being religious in no way automatically makes a person moral 
(or more moral than one who is non-religious).  I am not religious but 
that doesn't make me immoral, nor a bad person generally.  I would wager 
that, by and large, I would agree with most of what you deem are human 
rights...religion is not necessary for such agreement nor for 
determination of what should be a "right".  A better method of 
determination would be self-consistency and logic, serving the overall 
good of society as a whole.  From this alone, you can derive essentially 
all the non-contested "human rights".  Yet they lack self consistency in 
one regard: it is not consistent nor logical to afford special rights to 
humans and not give the same rights to non-humans.  In such cases, 
religion is used AS AN EXCUSE and as a RATIONALIZATION for giving certain 
rights to human animals but not to other animals.  Of course, some 
religions DO make allowances for non-human rights.  This has drifted a 
little off the prime track but in the discussion, which you invite with 
the nature of your attack on Alway's position, it is fair.


Your final statement essentially sets up a religion-based conflict: "My
religious beliefs make me better than you", or "my position is somehow
superior and more moral than yours because I hold to THIS religion's
tenants and you don't". 

This is unwise, untrue, unhelpful, and unnecessary. 

patrick



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