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Inalienable right

  1. Sep 10, 2009 #1
    What constitutes an inalienable right? Also, every citizen can attend public school from age K-12. Is that considered an inalienable right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2009 #2
    Life, liberty, and the purfuit of happinefs.
  4. Sep 10, 2009 #3


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    Don't type when your mouth is full.
  5. Sep 10, 2009 #4
    Ok, we accept that. But what makes those things inalienably right compared to something else?
  6. Sep 10, 2009 #5
    It's self-evident.
  7. Sep 10, 2009 #6


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    It pretty much comes down to mutual consent.

    Of course, some might belief and state that inalienable rights are granted by a higher (supernatural) authority or perhaps by Nature itself.

    Some discussion here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_and_legal_rights (disclaimer: article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.)
  8. Sep 10, 2009 #7


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    Someone should have said that to the guy who wrote the manuscript.

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  9. Sep 10, 2009 #8
    This particular right is not inalienable in the US. Your parents can take it away from you by sending you to a private school, or by home-schooling.
  10. Sep 10, 2009 #9
    Sorry for not being a little clearer js. What I was trying to say was that as a society we have determined that no one needs to be deprived of an eduction through the primary and secondary school system because of lack of funds. This is not the case in some parts of the world.
  11. Sep 10, 2009 #10


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    "Inalienable right?" You have the right to be dead. Everything else can be taken away by nature or man (law, religion, government).
  12. Sep 10, 2009 #11

    Edit: If other countries don't order their societies the way we do, that's their business. We shouldn't go invading them. However, if we do invade them, we are bound to say we are protecting someone's inalienable rights. Are you just concerned about the fact that other countries don't order their societies the way we do, or are you looking for an excuse to invade?
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  13. Sep 10, 2009 #12
    Huh??? I don't understand where you are going with the comments in your edit. I asked a simple question about what is an inalienable right, and whether the fact that education is available to all makes that in itself an inalienable right or maybe it's some other kind of a legal right. It's obvious I'm not a scholar of the constitution, and I'm just trying to understand what is meant by the phrase. :smile:

    To all: Are there any other inalienable rights other than what is spelled out in the constitution, or is that pretty much it, by definition? I have to agree with Astronuc that this phrase is probably best seen as something left to mutual consent. I also read a blog today by someone that had the opinion that an inalienable right is one with no cost associated with it. He was talking about it in reference to the national health care program proposed, and that was an attribute (the no cost thing) he was assigning to it.
  14. Sep 10, 2009 #13


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    See Locke. He's the man. Jefferson appears to have actually grabbed the phrase http://www.jstor.org/stable/2130435?seq=2" from George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, but the idea and foundation is all Locke by my reading; he use's 'born to'.

    http://history.wisc.edu/sommerville/367/Locke%20DecIndep.htm" [Broken]
    This description self evidently includes life, liberty, pursuit ..., and it also rules out anything upon which we must be dependent on others to supply (e.g. education, health care).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  15. Sep 10, 2009 #14


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    Because an oppressive government or group might intervene and enforce some deprivation does not make the right any less of one. Inalienable, as it was used by the US founders, I believe refers to those rights which we all have on day one, without dependence on any other. They are few, fundamental, and sufficient.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2009
  16. Sep 10, 2009 #15
    I wrote what I wrote since there is such a large gap between the universal concept of inalienable rights, and the narrow concept of public school attendance, a right which so obviously is not inalienable.

    The constitution says:
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    The phrasing (among these) makes it clear that the author felt there were or could be other inalienable rights. However, this is not the definition of inalienable rights. The phrasing (We hold) makes it clear that this is an expression of the author's belief.
  17. Sep 10, 2009 #16
    Thanks. Just wondering where or how you would categorize those other things (e.g. education, health care). Are they some other form of legal rights?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Sep 10, 2009 #17


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    I say no. I believe they are responsibilities on the part of those that are able to provide to those that are not able.
  19. Sep 10, 2009 #18


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
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