Can Social Rights be Defended?

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The phrase ‘Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ lies at the core of the United States of America. It implies a list of unalienable rights that were declared in the Deceleration of Independence. These rights are social, economic, political and civil rights. Western societies are characterized by the fact that they provide all of these rights to their citizens. Many philosophical thinkers have argued for and against social rights. It is necessary to examine both aspects of the issue. Some thinkers believe that you can have civil and political rights without social rights and economic rights and others disagree. Throughout this essay we will examine Raymond Plant’s defense for social rights and Lawrence Meads critique of social rights, along with other theories that have been involved in the discussion. According to Raymond Plant social rights are justified because they protect liberty (Plant, 2003). He argues that social and economic rights need to be protected as equally as civil and political rights. Examples of social rights are the right to education, right to work, right to social security, and the right to access services of general economic interests. Social rights are genuine human rights. The United Nations declared that social rights be protected (Fives, 2008). Neo-Liberal and Conservative thinkers dispute social rights. Plant accepts that Social rights should protect freedom but he rejects the new right critique of social rights (Fives, 2008). He rejects that there is a difference between civil/ political liberties and social/economic rights (Plant and Barry, 1990). The concepts of positive freedom and negative freedom play a large role in the debate. Negative freedom is the freedom from compulsion, coercion ... ... middle of paper ... ... will provide welfare to the deserving people while also decreasing the laziness of the poor. Instilling programs that will help the poor achieve jobs and supporting them, is an excellent program. It protects individual’s social rights by providing them with finances while also requiring them to work. With this program it becomes an even exchange and does not make the society inefficient. Works Cited Barry, N. 1991. Conservative Thought and The Welfare State. Political Studies. Fives, A. and Campling, J. 2008. Political and Philosophical Debates in Welfare. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Mead, L.1993. The Logic of Welfare. In W.J. Wilson (ed.) The Ghetto Underclass. Plant, R. 2003. Social and Economic Rights Revisited. King’s College Law Journal Plant, R. and Barry, N. 1990. Citizenship and rights in Thatcher's Britain. London: IEA Health and Welfare Unit.

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