Rights vs Privileges

Bob Hubbard

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What is the difference between a Right and a Privilege?


Given:
A right is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “a power, privilege, (sic) faculty, or demand, inherent in one person and incident upon another … the powers of free action.” Please note that rights are “inherent” in a person. This means that it is physically impossible for rights to be extracted from a person by any means.

Given:
A right is defined as something you can do without asking for permission.

Given:
The opposite of a right, therefore, is something you cannot do without asking for permission. Any time you need permission to do something it is a
privilege. Black’s Law Dictionary defines this as “a particular and peculiar
benefit or advantage enjoyed by a person, company, or class, beyond the common advantages of other citizens. An exceptional or extraordinary power or exemption.”



The debate floor is open.
 

Empty Hands

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I disagree that rights are inherent. That would imply some sort of overarching authority beyond government that would be able to enforce rights once taken away. Most people think this would be God, but I don't believe in God, so...

A brief look at history will show that removal or restraint of rights is much more common than the granting of them. For most of history, the general population had few to no rights at all. People only have those rights that they can demand and defend for themselves, or that another power is willing to grant.

Most people would find this a frightening position, in that rights can be granted or removed on a "whim." But practically, this is the situation as it exists. It makes more sense to realize this, and set up strong protections to defend the rights we have granted to ourselves. No grand authority is going to give them back once the government has taken them away.

After all, as we have just seen since May in California, rights can be extended and then withdrawn at great speed with the consent of a relatively few.
 

Xue Sheng

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Right - a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral

Privilege -
1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most: the privileges of the very rich.

2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities: the privilege of a senator to speak in Congress without danger of a libel suit.

I do agree with what Empty Hands is saying a right like a privilege can is granted and can be just as easily taken away. And by the definitions I posted it would appear the only difference appears to be the scope it applies to.

A right to all a privilege to few.
 

hpulley

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People have it backward. You have the right to do whatever you want but so does everyone else. Obviously this will lead to conflicts so governments and laws are set out. Hopefully everyone agrees on what they have a right to do, and what they don't but which they can be privileged to do. If they don't agree, there will be conflict and new rules will eventually be hammered out, peacefully or otherwise. We live in societies because the benefit usually outweighs the limitations it imposes upon us all.
 

tshadowchaser

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I sort of look at it this way.
A boss can give you the privilege to be in charge of others on the job. This infers you have the right to give them orders.

The Constitution gave us certain Rights. It is our privilege to live in this country
 

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