The Wikipedia article also goes on to say
I think claim rights is an anti-concept. From the Lexicon:
What is a liberty right? According to Wikipedia, it is
The question I would ask is, freedom or permission from whom? Under the traditional meaning of rights, the answer is freedom and permission from other people. If person B stops A from speaking, then B is violating A's rights. The proper role of government is then strictly the defense of rights. It is not necessary to create the additional concept of liberty and claim rights.
The claim rights concept brings into the picture concepts such as responsibility, duty, and obligation. It says that rights, as a concept, is incomplete and two new concepts must be used: liberty rights and claim rights. And that the role of government is to enforce claim rights in order to protect liberty rights. In other words, the role of government is to enforce responsibility, duty, and obligation on others. Yet concepts such as responsibility, duty, and obligation are requirements on the other party to do something, not to not do something. For example, the definition of duty is
I think the argument of the Wikipedia's article equivocates the differences between doing and non-doing. Under the traditional definition of rights, for A's rights to be protected, the government's role is to prevent B from DOING something. If B isn't DOING something, then there is no violation of rights. Under the new dual concepts model, it is the government's role to enforce claim rights aka (responsibility, duty, obligations). It's not hard at this point to shift the argument from the government preventing B from doing something to the government requiring B to do something given that the definition of responsibility/duty/obligations is to DO something, not to NOT DO something. For example, B has an obligation to provide sustenance to A to protect A's right to life.
What's your take on this?
According to the Wikipedia article linked in the question ("Claim rights and liberty rights"), the distinction arose in the thinking of Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld, an American professor of law (1879-1918). Another Wikipedia article on him provides further explanation of his terminology and motivation:
Hohfeld noticed that even respected jurists conflate various meanings of the term right, sometimes switching senses of the word several times in a single sentence. He wrote that such imprecision of language indicated a concomitant imprecision of thought, and thus also of the resulting legal conclusions. In order to both facilitate reasoning and clarify rulings, he attempted to disambiguate the term rights by breaking it into eight distinct concepts. To eliminate ambiguity, he defined these terms relative to one another, grouping them into four pairs of Jural Opposites and four pairs of Jural Correlatives. [For clarity, I am omitting the 8 terms, which I find confusing.]
In other words, Hohfeld seems to be referring to the distinction between the freedom to do something (or not to do it), and an obligation of some kind to do something (or not to do it). A "liberty right" is a freedom, while a "claim right" is an obligation (affirmative or negative) imposed on a person by another person or society. On this view, every valid freedom is accompanied by an obligation on others not to interfere with that freedom, and every alleged obligation on a person (to act or to refrain from a certain action) constitutes a limitation on his freedom of action.
Objectivism holds that man, by his nature, possesses broad freedom of action in a social context, but not the "freedom" to initiate physical force against others. Man also possesses the right of self-defense against those who would infringe his proper freedoms. Objectivism does not directly recognize or endorse the idea of "claim rights," especially if Hohfeld classifies freedom from initiation of physical force by others as a "claim right." In Objectivism, that freedom (and right of self-defense) is just a corollary of the individual rights (freedom rights) which man possesses, by his nature. Today, of course," claim rights" might be viewed as including "entitlements," which Objectivism rejects and opposes.
Assuming that my understanding of Hohfeld's terminology is correct, I would not classify "claim right" as an anti-concept. The way it is described in Wikipedia (and perhaps in Hohfeld's own works) is certainly confusing and poorly integrated, but I don't see it as incapable of being essentialized more precisely and integrated more fully, with a little further effort, as I have attempted to do in reducing the issue to freedoms versus obligations. Still, the idea of "claim rights" can all too easily have the effect of confounding the essential nature of individual rights as freedoms, not obligations, thereby reinforcing the contemporary tendency to regard altruistic "obligations" as "rights" of the beneficiaries.
answered Dec 16 '13 at 21:46
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