Learn and discuss the kinds of human rights. In modern societies the phrase ‘human rights’ is one used every day and for all kinds of reasons. You turn on your tv and you hear people talking about the freedom of speech. Newspapers advertising the freedom of belief. Colleges and universities claiming to be the symbol of our right to education. Protestors on the street combining their voices to stand up for their right to rest and to participate in government. There are, in fact, many kinds of human rights and the bill of rights is definitely an achievement on the part of the people. Nevertheless, I believe that, nowadays, the notions behind certain kinds of human rights are being abused and exploited by various interest groups, or even ordinary people, for personal gain or as a means to justify one’s indifference; one’s lack of motif to change the way he views and treats life, as well as the people around him.
Among such kinds of human rights, the one that is abused on a daily basis is the freedom of speech. I do not mean to say that someone should not be allowed to speak. But this does not mean that he has the right to subject his fellow man to hearing a load of c@$p, simply because one has the right to speak. One should not just speak, but talk; something which implies effective and reciprocal communication. What good is the freedom of speech, if you have nothing to bring to the table?
As mentioned above, people are used to protesting about two specific kinds of human rights: the right to rest and the right to participate in goverment. People simply never get tired of complaining about work. The less they work, they less the want to work. Of course, in the event that someone is given a less demanding job and is rewarded with a disproportionately high wage, one would stop complaining and mind his own business with careless disregard for his up-until-recently-co-worker that, at the same time, is being trapped in a reverse situation (a more demanding job with a lower wage than he deserves). Again, this does not mean that an employee should be anyone’s slave, or that he should not be treated and paid a fair amount of money with respect to his labor; quite the contrary! The point is, that people should truly be vested in a cause; not only for personal gain, but for the common good. As for the right to participate in government, it is certainly a very misinterpreted one. It is supposed to promote the idea that government should not be controlled just by a few people who climb up a sociopolitical ladder through favoritism and wealth. Anyone could participate in government, despite one’s sex, race, economical status, educational background, as long as he is skilled. This does not mean, however, that every body is skilled; not everybody is cut out to be a politician; and when one exercises his freedom of speech, he does so as a simple citizen, and should be humble as such.
I have also mentioned the right to education, which from all kinds of human rights, it is the one that the academia has abused in the most uneducated way possible. They have been selling for years the idea that one needs to have academic titles in order to be educated, and their marketing techniques have become more aggressive than ever in modern developed countries. They have misconstrued the true meaning of education, and have trade it away in exchange for economical profit. Education is not measured against the number of things one can learn by heart, or against the money one spent to earn his degree. Education means open-mindedness, it means purity and kindness of the soul, and it is such kinds of human right one should root for.
The last of those misinterpreted kinds of human rights that I would like to draw one’s attention to, is the right to liberty, and it is precisely the one right that conceptually encloses all the kinds of human rights that are mentioned above. When you claim your right to liberty, in essence you claim your right to moral responsibility. The right to liberty tells you to man up! To stand up for what you believe, and say to yourself and to the world, that you are a rational and responsible moral agent, capable of deciding and acting in good faith in a world with others. After all, there is no point in making claims to certain kinds of human rights, and especially the right to liberty, if it is done without commitment, determination, and direction.