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Unformatted text preview: o torture people, but it also generates a duty to investigate complaints of torture, a duty to pay one's share for the political and administrative setups that might be necessary to prevent torture and so on. As far as second-generation rights are concerned, they too may be correlated with duties that are positive or negative, depending on the context. If people are actually starving, their rights make a call on our active assistance, but if they are living satisfactorily in a traditional subsistence economy, the right may require we simply refrain from any action that could disturb that state of affairs. We talk sometimes as though it only happens by misfortune that people are starving and that the only issue rights raise in the matter is whether we should put ourselves out and come to their aid. But people often starve as a result of what we do as well as what we don't do. IT IS UNDEMOCRATIC TO HOLD A VIEW AND NOT ACT UPON IT Henry David Thoreau. "Civil Disobedience: an essay," http://eserver.org/thoreau/civil.html (7/21/03), 1849. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing; who even postpone the question of freedom to the question of free-trade, and quietly read the prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico, after dinner, and, it may be, fall asleep over them both. What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot to-day? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man; but it is easier to deal with the...
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- Fall '13