Rights discourse has played a predominant ideological role in the western liberal-democratic tradition. From the Greeks through to the social contract theorists and the more contemporary advocates, the positing of individual rights has been regarded as necessary in the protection of fundamental freedoms and liberties. The prevalence of rights discourse is particularly apparent in the modern era where universal and inalienable rights – especially in the form of human rights, are enshrined in international law and feature prominently in culture media and societal consciousness. It is the this prominence that has necessitated an ardent critique of foundations of rights discourse; in particular, theorists have generated claims that ‘although the prevailing consensus about the goodness of rights is widespread,’ it is none the less ‘ thin and brittle.’ Today the idea of rights has developed into a modern political discourse, in the sense that most things are now discussed in terms of rights it is therefore necessary to query whether human rights be genuinely universal, rather than a form of cultural imperialism.
It is also necessary to look at whether rights are applied universally and not merely as western values imposed on the rest of the world. The acceptance of universally binding standards of human rights, as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is essential in today’s shrinking world, as more and more countries collaborate on things. Respect for fundamental human rights should not remain an ideal to be achieved but a requisite for every human society. Whether or not they can be genuinely universal or merely a form of cultural imperialism is yet to be seen.
Throughout centuries humans have attempted to increase their form of living in their society. Influential people such as John Locke, Baron de Montesquieu, and Thomas Hobbes have set a stage for technological advances that made a major impact on how people look at the world. These important theologians have different views on nature as well as the different kinds of government that they proposed. ...
Rights have become necessary in postulating arguments as to how things should and ought to be, and also in allowing one to know and understand what their rights are and what their duties are to others. Theorists over time have done this in many ways. Social Contracts theories of Hobbes, Rousseau and Rawls in some ways found it necessary to argue that humans exist independently of society and on that basis, sought to determine those rights that are universally held by ‘man’ as natural fact. More often than not however, the legitimacy of rights is endorsed by claims of universality, a right that is held by all constitutes a powerful theoretical tool as it carries with it an air of stability and political correctness that often appeals to legislators and judges and features in their deliberations.
Rights talk in actuality has come to pervade everyday life. In particular, it is arguable that rights have extended far beyond the traditional realm of rights to life or rights to liberty, to include rights for individual flourishing. As one theorist Kundera observed, ‘the world has become mans right and everything in it has become a right: the desire to love a right to love… .’ Such an extensive rights base makes the demands on other persons almost ‘unlimited.’ This is especially the case when what some believe are certain fundamental rights are abandoned or diminished due to the extensive rights base that has arisen. In one sense it would seem that Waldron’s beliefs that rights are there as a fall back position do not constitute ones entire relationship simply do not hold.
Today so much is voiced in terms of rights, and this is particularly evident in the context of marriage whereby people are actually insisting on their rights prior to marriage through the creation of pre-nuptial agreements rather than falling back on marital rights if it is the case that the relationships fails to work. For the most part the consensus on the goodness of rights and the pursuit of rights has predominantly emanated from liberal democratic societies that exist primarily in the western world. It is in this arena that many rights, particularly Human rights, are proclaimed to be universal in context. Whilst they may exist and be pursued in the western world many contest they actually apply universally, instead it is often propounded that such ‘ universal’ rights often ignore social and cultural differences and in a vast number of cases simply do not and cannot apply in nations that do not believe in western traditions.
An Overview of Aging and Existing Cultural Differences Society predetermines a specific life course for each person of their community. Missing any stage of this course is detrimental to the development of the human life. But not all societies have these stages of life; ergo different cultures define stages differently. The stages of the life course are childhood, adolescence, adulthood, young ...
In particular human rights are often argued to be ‘manifestations of a particular tradition,’ more often than not, the liberal tradition whose ideals and opinions are regularly voiced on the rest of the worlds cultural practices in some cases there even being strong insistence that such practices violate human rights. This may seem in some ways imperialistic to generations of people who have lived with certain practices and adhered to their societies social values. The universality of all rights is also seemingly artificial. Philosophically, we may empirically identify an inter- subjective area of overlap in opinion as to what is ‘right’ or ‘just’, however this in no way means that there exists a natural law of rights. The subjective values of citizens are often preconditioned by the cultural values of society to which they belong. Thus what we call ‘rights’ is inherently subjective; what we claim as our prerogative is often determined by our personal beliefs and value assessments, which are themselves conditioned by sociological factors rather than an innate intuition of a true world order, and seeing as no two nations share exactly the same societal values or cultural values then rights could not be universally applied.
Modernisation also plays a large part in the talk of universal human rights. Many third world countries cannot even start to think about their human rights because it is often the case that the economy of a country is more important than it’s human rights. Australia and much of the western world are lucky because we do live in an age where the western countries give rise to the opportunity for its people to attain technology and we have grown up in an age where political freedom and freedom of speech are simply taken for granted, it is these things that have allowed our human rights to develop, these freedoms and many others that have created the basis for our human rights. Universally binding agreements are hard to impose on countries, especially because everyone has a different notion and view on the topic at hand.
Executive Summary International marketing has become more important to companies as the world shifts from distinct national markets to global markets. Globalization brings homogenization of consumer needs, liberalization of trade, and competitive advantages of operating in international markets. Companies are now forced to think and act globally in order to survive in such a dynamic environment. ...
As Forsythe points out, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is mostly a western idea containing western values, indeed, Forsythe acknowledges that these values might not be universal at all, something which is an obvious dilemma. ‘Asian governments have also contended that the standard of human rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are those advocated by the West and cannot be applied to Asia and other parts of the Third World because of differences in culture and differences in social and economic development.’ Whether or not the majority of Asia agrees with its government lies in dispute. People yearn for a sense of freedom and it is an inherent nature of humans to do so. The rich diversity of cultures and religions should help strengthen the universality of rights, not tear it down even more.
Diversity and traditions, namely within cultures, can and should never justify the violation of human rights, therefore there should be some universal laws that apply to all human beings whether in America or Iraq. Within the universality of human rights, principles of equality of all human beings must take precedence. Those against human rights only seem to involve countries led by authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. Such country’s leaders should conform to the universally accepted principles in the larger and long term interests of their own peoples. Most human rights issues are generally governed by the states themselves, besides this there is the other large problem of the west imposing values onto countries of other cultural backgrounds. In the short run one should not focus on achieving universal rights quickly and swiftly but do more to work on a regional rights system that could work, that later on could be applied universally.
Are humans rational The human species has well developed cognitive abilities compared to animals. These can be remarkable like language and many other communication systems. Our visual system provides us with excellent vital information for the environment. Besides, through thinking and problem solving, we have adapted the environment to suit us and developed science and technology. Surely, these ...
Europe has tried something similar in creating regions that have similar values but also there is the benefit of making enforcement easier by possibly instituting regional courts that could enforce the applicable human rights laws. We should endeavor for rights whether it is possible for them to be universally applied or not and not simply give up on this important task because many people need the hope or a way in which they may overthrow a tyrant or a dictator, or simply end the poverty that holds their country and escape their form of cultural imprisonment. Bibliography CW Morris (ed), The Social Contract Theorists, Rowman: London, 1999, ch. 4, 6, 9. Dalai Lama of Tibet, ‘Non-Governmental Organizations and The United Nations World Conference on Human Rights’, June 15 th, 1993, Vienna. D.
Forsythe ‘Cultural Relativism and International Human Rights Law’, in Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 6, 1984, pp 400 M. Freeman, ‘Are There Collective Human Rights?’ , in Politics and Human Rights, Blackwell Publishers, USA, 1995, pp 35 M. A. Glendon, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse, Reading Brick, 1991, pp. 339 M.
Kundera, Immortality, London, Faber, 1991, pp 153. P. Williams, ‘The Pain of Word Bondage’, in The Alchemy of Race and Rights, pp 49 S. Mend us, ‘Human Rights in Political Theory’, in Politics and Human Rights, Blackwell Publishers, USA, 1995, pp 19.