Are human rights natural—or a social construct?

Either way, universal human rights are essential for human flourishing. The Declaration of Independence says “all men are created equal”—“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”—because of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Trees exist whether human societies exist or not. But money doesn’t exist outside of human societies. Money is aContinue reading “Are human rights natural—or a social construct?”

Maybe we can’t get past our pain, but we can get past our tunnel vision

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona © Dave DuBay I just finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary series on the Roosevelts. Eleanor Roosevelt is known to history as a kindhearted person, a woman of character who treated others with human dignity. She was the primary mover behind the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And there’s Mr. Rogers who taughtContinue reading “Maybe we can’t get past our pain, but we can get past our tunnel vision”

Where do human rights come from?

Are human rights government creations? Or do human rights pre-exist government – being derived from nature – with government tasked with protecting those rights? These are important questions because the answers weigh heavily on what rights we have and whether they can legitimately be taken away. If we have free speech only because the governmentContinue reading “Where do human rights come from?”

We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.

Us vs. them is human nature. Human rights, equality & democracy are the answers. – Us versus them is one of the most common themes in politics, history, sports, business, music – in human nature in general. But people also can be amazingly generous, compassionate, and cooperative. In the 1970s E.O. Wilson proposed sociobiology to explain this contradiction.Continue reading “We are a tribal species. But it doesn’t have to be our downfall.”

Religion, Secularism, & Atrocity

Religious atrocities are central to the atheist critique of religion. Christians often respond with a litany of atheist atrocities such as mass murder by communist regimes.  Even when religion or anti-religiousness is directly to blame, we must ask: What does this prove? That one is better than the other? If both sides are guilty of atrocities,Continue reading “Religion, Secularism, & Atrocity”