1 IS ‘RIGHTS TАLK’ BЕNЕFIСIАL FОR АDVАNСING SОСIАL АND РОLITIСАL СHАNGЕ? Name: Institution: Name:
2 The principle of human rights is considered to be the one that serves as a foundation for rights within any society. Rights are morally necessary as backup provisions against things that can happen to individuals in communal settings, whether or not they actually do. It has been argued that without rights there are no grounds pressing strong claims by individuals. The protection of rights may only be a second- best option, to be activated should the communal arrangement fail to provide the conditions of decent human life, but it is not thereby insignificant. Rights talks have their supporters and critics. Scholars, human rights activists, and a wide body of literature have attempted to examine whether rights talks play any role in the advancement of social and political change. For example, Maihofer and Sprenger (2011) have stated that there is no logical necessity for rights-talk to play a role in the political discourse of a society that respects individual rights. Recognition and respect for human rights requires that there not be widespread rights violations, not that they be talked about. These authors continue to argue that rights do not have to be exercised in order to be ascribable; a state of affairs where persons live in harmony within a family or other community and no one feels a need to assert a claim of individual right against the whole is not necessarily a society in which there is no place for the concept of right. According to this argument, absence of explicit claims of right does not imply neither that there is no concept of right within that society, nor does it imply that there are no rights violations. However, there are others that disregard such arguments. Williams (1987) details his discomfort with such arguments and others that reject rights-based theory. He particularly disregards the part of debate and critique that is mounted on the black struggle for civil rights. The source of critique against black’s struggle for civil rights is in the belief that the pursuit of rights can bring social and political change. Most blacks have desisted from turning away from the pursuit of rights premised on helplessness and inequality despite the criticism that has increased in recent years. Williams (1987) further argues that the significance of rights is different for blacks and whites. The rights dialect in many countries is distinguished not only by what is said and how it is said, but also by what is left unsaid. According to Glendon (2013), there have been numerous attests to the current propensity to
3 speak of whatever is most important to most people in regard to rights in radio broadcasts, newspapers, and television programs, and to their predilection for overstating the absoluteness of the rights they claim.
- Winter '16
- Professor Obura Oluoch