fbpx
NatCon 2 will be in Orlando, Florida on Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Save the date!
The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics
David Goodhart
A robust and timely investigation into the political and moral… Read more
You Will Be Assimilated: China's Plan to Sino-Form the World
David P. Goldman
China’s 5,000 year-old empire has become the world’s largest economy,… Read more
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Jonathan Haidt
Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom… Read more
When Harry Became Sally
Ryan Anderson
Can a boy be “trapped” in a girl’s body? Can… Read more
My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son's Search for Home
Michael Brendan Dougherty
The child of an Irish man and an Irish-American woman… Read more

More Books »

What’s Wrong with Rights? (2020)

Nigel Biggar

Are natural rights ‘nonsense on stilts’, as Jeremy Bentham memorably put it? Must the very notion of a right be individualistic, subverting the common good? Should the right against torture be absolute, even though the heavens fall? Are human rights universal or merely expressions of Western
neo-imperial arrogance? Are rights ethically fundamental, proudly impervious to changing circumstances? Should judges strive to extend the reach of rights from civil Hamburg to anarchical Basra? Should judicial oligarchies, rather than legislatures, decide controversial ethical issues by inventing
novel rights? Ought human rights advocates learn greater sympathy for the dilemmas facing those burdened with government?

These are the questions that What’s Wrong with Rights? addresses. In doing so, it draws upon resources in intellectual history, legal philosophy, moral philosophy, moral theology, human rights literature, and the judgments of courts. It ranges from debates about property in medieval
Christendom, through Confucian rights-scepticism, to contemporary discussions about the remedy for global hunger and the justification of killing. And it straddles assisted dying in Canada, the military occupation of Iraq, and genocide in Rwanda.

What’s Wrong with Rights? concludes that much contemporary rights-talk obscures the importance of fostering civic virtue, corrodes military effectiveness, subverts the democratic legitimacy of law, proliferates publicly onerous rights, and undermines their authority and credibility. The
solution to these problems lies in the abandonment of rights-fundamentalism and the recovery of a richer public discourse about ethics, one that includes talk about the duty and virtue of rights-holders.

Purchase the Book