Joho the Blog » Rights vs. Dignity
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Rights vs. Dignity

Of course we need to accord people their rights and their dignity. But over time I have come to find dignity to be the more urgent demand.

Rights cover what a society will let people do. Dignity pertains to who a person is.

Rights are granted on the basis of theories. Dignity is enacted in the presence of another.

Rights are mediated by whatever institution grants the rights. Dignity is unmediated, immediate.

Rights are the same for all. Dignity is for the singular person before you.

You can grudgingly grant people their rights. The moment you grant someone their dignity, any resentment you had about doing so turns against yourself.

Grant people their dignity, and rights will follow. Grant people their rights and you may treat them like slaves who have been freed by law.

A world without dignity is not at peace.

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