Rights In Conflict – A Thought And Some Resources

In The Wrath of Khan (1982), Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.” This sets up a pivotal scene near the end of the film.*

*Spock’s Illogic: “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few”. This article vigorously disputes Spock’s saying as do all conservatives [who generally are simply spokespersons for the interests of the super rich inheritors].

But it seems to me that Spock is clearly correct. However, all right-wingers [For example, [almost] all Republican politicians currently in Congress, all right wing media, and all right-wing “think tanks”] strongly dispute Spock’s view.

For example, if the United States doesn’t have enough money to both support our global military presence and to feed poor people, then the right wing argues that we need to cut aid to the poor [the many] to protect the world-wide property rights of the super-rich inheritors who own and control our international corporations [the few – the 1%].

Thus arguments about Rights In Conflict are arguments about what’s fair, about what is the right thing to do.

Of course, in practice, when the rights of the few conflict with the rights of the many, the few impose their views and interests* by subverting the intellectual debate, the political process, the judiciary, or by removing an unhelpful government by military coup [Chile and perhaps soon Venezuela].

*For detailed information on how the few [the super-rich inheritors] accomplish their purpose, see the excellent book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right Paperback – January 24, 2017 by Jane Mayer

So Resource (1) is a musing on Conflict Of Rights theory although, clearly in practice, these conflicts are settled by power imposition [economic, political, or military].

Here is the abstract of Resource (1) below:


[Excerpt] “This article supports Gewirth’s* view: that is, the reason why utilitarian values such as national
security, public safety, public order, public health, and public morality may outweigh human rights is that they
contain human rights elements. Thus, as a rule, whenever human rights clash with nonrights value
considerations, we should analyze whether they contain human rights elements. If they do, they may override
human rights that conflict with them. If they do not, they cannot.”

*Alan Gewirth [link is to the Wikipedia article] was an American philosopher who is known for his ethical rationalism [Link is to the Wikipedia article].


(1) On Conflict of Human Rights [Full Text PDF]. 2006, University of New Hampshire Law Review Volume 5 Number 1 Pierce Law Review

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