Magazine article The Spectator

Are Rights Right?

Magazine article The Spectator

Are Rights Right?

Article excerpt

Sir: Douglas Murray is right: 'Decades of intense structural relativism and designer tribalism have made us terrified of passing judgment' ('Don't be afraid to say it', 6 October). It is indeed 'time we spoke up'.

But for what?

Sadly, his article epitomises the muddled thinking which brought us here. He notes in passing that 'it is no coincidence that equality before the law arose out of Judaeo-Christian ethics', but goes on to portray Western values in terms of the culture of 'rights' which his article repeatedly refers to, not Judaeo-Christian values.

For Murray, Western values are epitomised by Thomas Jefferson's concept of being 'free. . . to pursue happiness'.

Jefferson's pursuit of happiness included enslaving his own illegitimate children by his black mistress.

The rights culture began with Rousseau (the philosopher who abandoned his children at a public orphanage) as a way of replacing God with the state. …

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