Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Right to Paradise

Planet Ark has a Reuters news story by Ajay Makan titled:"Climate Change Threatens Human Rights - Small Island States" (h/t Junkscience.com of Nov 14th) In it Mr. Makan writes:
MALE - Representatives of 26 of the world's small island states met in the Maldives capital Male on Tuesday to draft a resolution identifying climate change as a threat to human rights.
That's right! Rising seas and other natural forcings can be guilty of violating your rights. This isn't a misunderstanding. Mr. Makan removes all fog with this clarification:
Delegates are expected to agree a declaration that climate change threatens the fundamental right to a safe, secure and sustainable environment, forcing developed countries to view rising seas through the prism of human rights.
Have you ever heard more unthinking drivel before? If these delegates sign this declaration they will be displaying a total ignorance of the concept rights, its source, its purpose and its nature.

In her essay 'Man's Rights' Novelist/Philosopher Ayn Rand pointed out that:
The concept of a "right" pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.
It does not mean freedom from the requirements of nature including one's own. It does not mean freedom from the responsibility of using one's mind to provide for one's survival. It does not mean that one can call on governments to force someone to somehow provide one with a "safe, secure and sustainable environment."

The intellectual deterioration of our age is really getting bad. People like these delagates can look at the phrase "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (our Constitution is not a secret) and not have a clue as to its meaning. This is the age of whim worship. Like our Supreme Court, if you wish to declare a life-giving gas like carbon dioxide a pollutant, go ahead and it shall be so. If you want to stamp your feet like a 12 year old spoiled brat because no one has provided you with a safe, secure and sustainable environment, have at it. It's standard procedure nowadays.

I don't know how much attention the world will pay to these delegates but if past performance is any indication, they'll get all the press they want and then some. The only way to combat this kind of ignorance is with a clear understanding of the concept of rights which can be gained by reading Ms. Rand's essay Man's Rights in her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, or in the book Virtue of Selfishness. A collection of her quotes on 'rights' can be viewed here.

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