Individual Rights and Freedoms

Detail from Corrupt Legislation. Mural by Elih...
Detail from Corrupt Legislation. Mural by Elihu Vedder. Lobby to Main Reading Room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. via Wikipedia

Individual Rights and Freedoms is an admirable political ideal that aims to defend the fundamental rights of an individual within society. However, once put into political practice, defining and upholding the idea of individual rights and freedoms usually presents an ongoing challenge.

For sociologists like Zygmunt Baumann, modern democracies exhibit an uneasy tension between individual rights on the one hand, and individual freedoms on the other hand.

The problems is this: How can individuals be perfectly free while belonging to a society which by definition requires some kind of functional interdependence? What if, for example, your neighbors’ freedom to have a party interferes with your right to sleep at night or, if you work the night shift, during the daytime?

Due to potential conflicts like these we have laws that are continually being created or modified to try to protect and promote individual rights, as well as the ideals upheld by a certain social body.

This sounds great. But some like Scott Turrow suggest that laws do not necessarily solve problems because justice systems often favor high status groups at the expense of lower status groups. And in unduly corrupt societies, legal systems tend to go lightly on some offenders while slamming others.

The following outlines some of the issues about rights and freedoms as experienced in Canada: “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

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One comment

  1. I love this and I’d like to post a link to you on my blog, if you don’t mind? I think this is a discussion that has been avoided and neglected for far too long by mainstream society. In my own view the topic seems to be regarded with apathy. Thanks for stopping by…


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