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In Search of a Solid Foundation for Universally Binding Legal Human Rights

Objections to the views set out above

Inability to relate to reality
Some practitioners would like to say that our account is fine in theory but that it does not help them in their practice. This is a problem for our theory since we wanted to find a solid foundation for Universal legal human rights and a standard of solidity is applicability. Therefore, we will attempt to show practitioners that our theory can account for group rights and for the multiplicity and variability of different laws in different political communities. We will do so by looking at two rights protected by the UDRF : family rights and cultural rights.

Family rights
"The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State" (UDRF, article 16 (3)) How can we account for the existence of such a Universally defended legal human right that actually defends a group rather than an individual? We have to show two things : first, that this right is consistent with the economic nature of a rational political community ; second, that this right is consistent with an individual moral right. First, there is nothing in the protection of family that is inherently economically disadvantageous ; on the contrary, it is very likely that the protection of this right will turn out to be advantageous in the long run for any given political community. Second, the maxim of action "respect social entities in which individuals are brought up, like families, in as much as these entities are not the locations of immoral actions" comes out to be moral although not general. Consequently, this right will hold in societies which are built with and value families as a social entity ; but, even in societies which do not value families per se, or in fact, these societies will have to (as a moral obligation) respect families because of the morality of respecting families, but they will not be bound to offer a great protection to families. Therefore, family rights come out to be a possible expression of Universal legal human rights, but they are not the only possible expression of the right to the protection of a developmental setting for individuals ; consequently, the fact that it is families that are protected in the UDRF is a fact that shows the preference of "humanity" towards families. This means that family rights are an overspecification of the moral right of an individual to have a milieu in which he can properly develop himself.

Cultural rights

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. (UDRF, article 22)

What status can cultural rights have? Are they Universal legal human rights? Again these rights have to be economically sound and moral. The protection of cultures is not inherently disadvantageous even though protecting entire cultures sometimes becomes expensive. The morality of cultural rights comes in the same way as that of family rights and is liable to the same limitations. What is to be noticed here is the necessity of coordination of different rational political communities in order to defend cultural rights. Consequently, our account puts the burden on individuals to ensure that coordination and cannot tell them all the specifics of how to ensure that coordination and what results should come out of that coordination.

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