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Lecture 11

HUMR 1001 Lecture 11: HUMR 1001 A – November 29th

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Carleton University
Human Rights
HUMR 1001

HUMR 1001 A November 29 th What is Societys Authority Over the Individual? The Importance of Freedom Rights come before ones duties and obligations Considered fundamental because one of the duties of society is to protect our rights as individuals As a result of this freedom of an individual, politicians must ask: how can we maximize the freedom of the individual within the limits of society? Can be justified to limit individual freedoms and rights Human rights violations are obvious it is difficult to argue whether or not something is a human rights violation Even perpetrators of violations dont deny that human rights violations are wrong Human rights may be limited to a certain extent Limits of Society Over the Individual John Stewart Mill: On Freedom (1859) Speaks of the problems of the future (modern day society) 2 points: 1. Freedom is the precondition for the growth of individuals, morally and intellectually the greater the scope of freedom, the greater the potential of individuals may be realized 2. Freedom promotes social development (development of the society) Progress tends to depend on new ideas, unpopular ideas, challenging ideas, etc. Important to question certain ideas and beliefs Freedom of thought is fundamental for Mill Virtually no limitation on freedom of thought and freedom of expression The only legitimate way to test the legitimacy of any opinion is to allow it to be publically debated Societies always lose more than they gain by trying to limit freedom of thought and freedom of expression Losses on all sides: those who debate, those who do not debate One needs to be able to think for themselves, cannot simply adopt the opinions of others just because it is the popular opinion One must argue for what they believe within the marketplace for ideas Individuals have to be able to live as they see fit Actions cannot ever be as free as opinions and thoughts One must respect their fellow citizens What are the limits of the individual? Mill: The only justification for interfering with the liberty of action of anyone is self-protection. The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised
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