How do liberals perceive natural rights? (10 marks)

I'm using this as revision, if anyone noticed anything I missed out or have anything I could add, it'd be grately appreciated! :)

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  • Created by: Dulcimer
  • Created on: 31-12-14 13:05
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  • How do liberals perceive natural rights? (10 marks)
    • today’s terminology, ‘natural rights’ are also referred to as ‘human rights’
      • Such rights are held by people as part of their very humanity
      • seen as God-given or derived from nature itself
      • The concept of natural rights is important in general political theory
        • Because it assumes that humans are innately rational and good
          • That they carry into political society those rights that they enjoyed in earlier stages of history
            • Central to liberalism is the debate about whether rights occur ‘naturally'
              • OR
                • flow from membership of a specific policy
    • Liberals who believe in ‘natural rights’
      • would contend that respect for individuals’ rights is the foundation of political morality
        • Indeed, in this sense such rights, to use ananalogy, operate as ‘trumps’
          • which override competing considerations
        • This prevents collective goals from being used to
          • Justify denying individuals the right to do what they wish
          • Imposing some laws
          • Injury on individuals
        • Furthermore, governments are obliged to uphold these rights
          • if a government does not, it acts immorally
    • How such a position conflicts with the views held by Legal Positivists
      • who maintain that individuals have rights only in so far as these are recognised and codified within legal systems
        • this view is closer to the reality of modern societies
    • Locke
      • Two Treatise of Government (1690)
        • which he advanced his theory of natural rights
    • Locke believed that natural rights amounted to “life, liberty and property”
      • founding father Thomas Jefferson extended this to mean “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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