Let 'common sense' be the great decider on human rights
The China Post news staffMost 10-year-olds understand that the question of right and wrong often depends on context. Oftentimes, it also comes down to the perceiving subject, or as George the Second liked to say: “the decider.” When we decide whether something is good or bad, we are necessarily relying on some sort of standard as a means of measurement. In academic circles, these ideas may be called the basic assumptions of postmodernism. Among members of the public, these are generally termed “common sense.”
January 18, 2013, 12:23 am TWN
As a community of people, we can agree upon a set of principles that acts as a standard with which we decide whether something is good or bad, right or wrong, e.g. the Golden Rule or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Needless to say, actual instances that warrant careful judgments are often complicated, and it usually comes down to the soundness of one's rationality, as well as to how tight one's argument is; the fact of which is easily observed in court.
In addition to general principles, most countries have something called “laws.”
“I have inquired about (ex-President Chen Shui-bian's) status and his health,” U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski said Tuesday, during her visit in Taipei. “I think it's important that, as a former president, he is treated with a level of respect and care.”
All inmates should be treated with “a level of respect and care,” because we are a civilized people, because we believe in decency, and perhaps because we believe that prison should not only be a place for punishment, but also of rehabilitation.
When we say that, as a former president, a person should be treated with a level of respect and care, are we saying that that person should be treated with a “lower” level of respect and care than the average inmate or “higher”?
The answer seems to be obvious.