Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I came into this class with a very clear idea of what I thought was a right, but many of my preconceptions about those rights have been challenged throughout the semester. While I feel that the definition that I began with is not incorrect, I have come to recognize that it was insufficient to cover the full range of possible discourse on the matter. Class discussions along with the making of the documentaries has lead me to the realization that it is not enough to simply know what a right is. Even within the realm of rights, there appears to be a built in distinction between rights that are labeled as either or human or civil. Although equality and fairness is the focus of many of the civil rights that I have come to appreciate as an American, these rights are not extended to all human beings; thus, a divide is created. On the other hand, human rights are intended to extend far beyond the borders of a single government. However, as we often discussed, even those recognized human rights are not necessarily obeyed or endorsed uniformly by those nations that recognize them. As we have seemed to highlight in our discussions, it is not the right that is necessarily in question so much as the corresponding responsibility to respect/protect that right that is not consistently recognized. On the state level, it has become questionable whether or not there is a responsibility to consistently respect and honor these rights even when dealing with non-citizens. One of my main questions in the examination of this point is what exactly is it that potentially removes moral agency from the state and how does that differ from any other gathering of self-interested people? Of course, I expect no answer to this question, and I have not intention of proposing my own at the moment; however, I thought that this would be a good example of some of the many issues that this course has made me begin to consider. Perhaps on a more personal note, questions such as these have forced me to reconsider the ethical standards that I place upon myself and how they may differ from the standards that I have for other people.