Topic: ‘Rights’

The World Needs Clarity on Human Rights

A more theoretical piece I wrote on the report pf the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights

 “The reaction to the report of Commission on Unalienable Rights has often been a politicized and shallow one (in our present divided political climate, obviously no surprise) but the notion of human rights is now so confused that it needs clarity….

If any notion of human rights is to be preserved, we must distinguish between politically desirable outcomes and human rights. Otherwise, rights will lose their special cachet, intrinsic importance, and ability to trump or rightfully override mundane, even if vitally important, policy choices. If governments do not make this distinction, human rights will necessarily dissolve into our usual policy fights. If everything properly desired is a human right, the notion of human rights has eroded and disappeared. A right becomes simply a desired political outcome.

I have not sought to state what is and is not a human right, but to show some of the variety and differences between what are called human rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights subjects rights to different limiting conditions; some are non-derogable while others are not. The International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights presents its rights as necessary goals rather than limiting conditions. The rights that stem from government restraints can be enacted by almost any functioning government, whereas there may be legitimate reasons why a government cannot fulfill other rights at a particular time.

Rather than treating the report as another salvo in our culture wars and subjecting it to America’s current culturally contingent proliferation of rights, we need to address the substantive issues it raises.

The important thing is not to get distracted by words such as hierarchy or subordination, but to realize that there are many different types of things in the family of international human rights.”

The State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights: Concerns and Five Recommendations

How a Catholic thinker made human rights universal

I did not write this, but it is largely an interview with me exploring the Catholic roots of much of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Angelus is the magazine of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the country’s largest, with 5 million professing members, and it is a very professional publication. The piece has received strong positive responses and comments, especially from senior Catholics, including Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, and Ambassador Joseph Ghougassian. Jim Haninck, President of the American Maritain Society, forwarded it to his mailing list and posted it on his own website.

“Rights”; “Work”; “Power”; “Theonomy”; “Real Politik”; “Theocracy”; “Grotius”; “Tyrannicide,”

Human Rights

Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Religious Toleration and Human Rights

On the Universality of Human Rights

Rights Talk and Welfare Policy

In The Media

Name of Video
Paul Marshall
Name of Video
Paul Marshall
Name of Video
Paul Marshall