Human Dignity Essay

1582 Words7 Pages
Doris Schroeder, human rights do not derive from human dignity. Schroeder states that human

rights must be separate from human dignity for three reasons: First, the justification paradox

which is the concept that dignity does not solve the justification problem for human rights;

instead it worsens it in secular societies. Second, Kant’s cul-de-sac: the notion that if human

rights are based on Kant’s concept of dignity rather than theist grounds, those rights would lose

their universal validity. Third, hazard by association: human dignity is more controversial than

the concept of human rights, especially between aspirational dignity and inviolable dignity

(Shroeder, 2012).

Schroeder elaborates on the justification paradox by concluding that the concept of

dignity is filled with religion. Schroder dismisses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

reference to human dignity by stating that in the late 1940s, the drafters were backed heavily by

common religious support. That is no longer the case (Schrodeder, 2012). Schroeder then speaks

of Kant’s cul-de-sac and his reference to dignity in the Metaphysics of Morals (1797):

“…a human being regarded as a person, that is, as the subject of a morally practical

reason, is exalted above any price; for as a person… he is not to be valued merely as a

means to the ends of others or even to his own ends, but as an end in himself, that is, he

possesses a dignity (an absolute inner worth) by which he exacts respect for himself from

all other beings in the world. He can measure himself with every other being of this kind

and value himself on a footing equal to them. . . . Humanity in his person is the object of

the respect which he can demand from every oth...

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... it is not a human right or a natural right – it is not a right at all.

(Sixth Mandate)

So, to the pressing question, is welfare a right? No, welfare is not a right. Though

research suggests that there is evidence of separation between human dignity and human rights,

our reasoning and additional counter-research shows that the argument is flawed. We see that

self-reliance is a requirement for human dignity, and human dignity is a requirement for a right.

Thus, if a program, event, or law does not promote self-reliance, it violates human dignity,

meaning it cannot be a right. Self-reliance suggests that one is to stand on self-sufficiency to

allow human dignity- as these are the qualities that are inherent in every person. For this reason,

welfare is not a right, but a benefit, a privilege that is granted on behalf of the nation-state to its

people.
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