(L10) Human Rights

1.) Is there a “right of free speech” in the abstract, or is the question of free speech at root a matter of property rights?

Free speech, while being an essential human right, stands only on the basis of property rights. When property and human rights are separated, human rights become inconsistent and imprecise at best. They must instead, for understandings sake, be viewed as two pieces of the same thing, (rather than two different things). For example, if I were to rush into a movie theater shouting “Fire! Run! The theater is on fire!” I would get thrown out. I would not be thrown out because I was exercising my freedom of speech, but because I was on someone else’s property, and I was violating the set rules that they have on their property. I would be thrown out because I yelled (which is against the owner’s rules), not because of what I yelled.

2.) Explain the difference between positive and negative rights, using at least one example.

Negative rights are rights that simply require the absence of interference from others; for example, the rights to life, liberty, and property. More specifically, the right not to be killed, the right to not have my liberties infringed upon, and the right to not have my property stolen. Positive rights on the other hand place burdens on some people to obtain specific benefits for others. Positive rights are things that are all especially desirable, but not technically human rights; the reason for this is that positive rights may only be obtained through plunder and coercion.
Positive rights create conflict (between positive and negative rights) because, one’s negative rights will never infringe upon another’s (negative) rights. Positive rights however (in every case) will infringe upon one’s negative rights not to have their property (money) stolen. Negative rights require only self responsibility and mindfulness of others, whereas positive rights violate people’s negative rights (God given/birth rights) and incite threat-assisted theft.

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Have Your First Amendment Rights Been Violated? (L50)

Should the police be allowed to enforce a politician’s verbal restriction against making a video of him at an open meeting?

The police should not be allowed to enforce a politician’s verbal restriction against videotaping him at an open meeting because it is an unconstitutional act, and it directly violates the rights of those trying to properly document a public event. The first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” (First Amendment Rights). Freedom of (speech and) press, as stated, grant that if one is on public property, they may lawfully photograph (or videotape) anything in plain view. This includes persons within range of sight, whether they be located on private or public property. The only way that a politician could lawfully restrict the use of video cameras or photography during a meeting would be if both the photographer and the politician were located on private property; in this case, the property owner is within their rights to personally set rules and standards for what they will allow on their land (Know Your Rights).

 

Bibliography

“First Amendment Rights.” Ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association. Web. 04 Feb. 2015. <http://www.ushistory.org/gov/10b.asp&gt;.

“Know Your Rights: Photographers.” American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union, July 2014. Web. 04 Feb. 2015. <https://www.aclu.org/kyr-photo&gt;.