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I am agreeing with you that arguments based on rights are inherently messy, not that no such principles are feasible or desirable. I tend to think within a frame of a relative hierarchy of rights, but cannot say that I have a coherent position. I would definitely place the rights of individuals to be free in their persons from arbitrary arrest, imposition, impressment and harassment over the rights of a state to justify such treatment on any but the most fundamental interests the state might claim -- and there we again get into trouble.

The above very limited statement of rights, which could be augmented with everything in the US Bill of Rights, gives us a very partial conception of rights. What rights does or should an individual have against a state that has been captured by a powerful interest group who continually manage to secure practical control of the apparatus of government through electoral means? How do we secure a right to have the policies of our government operate in the interests of 97% of the population instead of 3%? When it becomes obvious that we have lost that struggle what rights do the 97% still have and how are they secured?  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Apr 2nd, 2011 at 03:18:13 PM EST
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