Balanced Rights & Responsibilities – Pillar 1

Balancing the rights with responsibilities is the first of the four pillars of Consensual Presidential Democracy (CPD), which applies both to an individual as well as a state. The overwhelming focus on human rights has created an unhealthy imbalance by barely mentioning the importance of responsibilities in maintaining social cohesion. We see it quite often in courts across the EU countries, when an offender seems to have more rights than a victim. It is a clear evidence of how sensible liberal values have led to the so-called political correctness, seriously undermining the political and social stability. The pendulum of liberalism may have shifted too far towards the rights. Therefore, in a new system of democracy, like CPD, the reduction of the imbalance between the rights and responsibilities plays such a prominent role.

We have already looked at human values, from which the rights originate. Values influence people’s attitudes and behaviour. But they are not permanent. They change in line with civilizational progress. And since civilizational change happens now at nearly an exponential pace, no wonder that our values change very rapidly too, as do the rights.

There is a considerable disagreement about what is meant precisely by the term “rights”. For our purpose it is most important to see the difference between ethical fundamental values and ethical rights. In simple terms, values give the context for their application in real life as rights. Looking from another perspective, rights are legal, social, or ethical principles to do something, or an entitlement to something without any restrictions. They are the fundamental normative rules about what people are allowed to do, or what they have the right to expect from others in relationship with them, according to a legal or a social system.

Values are usually associated with cultures or groups within those cultures, as well as with belief systems, e.g. when we speak about religious values or family values. They usually form articles of the nation’s constitution. Rights on the other hand are most often linked to individuals and usually converted into common law. This implies that rights can cross group-boundaries. A typical expression used nowadays, ‘human rights’ is a good illustration of this point. Human rights are thought to relate to individuals regardless of those individuals’ group affiliations. That’s what rights mean in an ethical sense: how a certain value is applied in real life.

Human responsibilities also originate from values but they are not properly reflected either in the UN or EU charters. The constitution of the future HF should embrace all the rights mentioned in the previous section. But rights are not given on a plate. Implementation of rights and their maintenance over time has a price tag attached both in monetary terms as well as in keeping the ethical balance. What I mean by ethical balance is that quite often somebody’s right is my responsibility. For example, my child has the right to be properly fed and clothed and it is my responsibility to make it happen. People have the right for emergency hospital care in case of an accident, and this is my responsibility to pay taxes due, to ensure that such a right can be materialized. Here are some principles of how rights should be balanced with responsibilities:

  • Human rights have to be balanced with citizens’ responsibilities. It is inadequate to have the Human Rights Court, which would be blind to the citizens’ responsibilities. Therefore, there should also be a similar list of Universal Responsibilities of Humanity as there are Universal Values/Rights of Humanity defined earlier
  • Every gender has a responsibility to maintain social cohesion and observe social norms. For example, it is not helpful for the sake of political correctness to promote homosexuality as something seemingly better than heterosexuality, best exemplified by the pink parades. While granting people of homosexual orientation the same rights as everybody else, the reverse should also be the case and at least in the UK this is to become the law very soon. The same goes for racial equality. For example, people of colour have the same responsibility as the white people to treat other races as they themselves would like to be treated. There should not be an exaggerated protection of any race. All races are equal.
  • Governments and global companies must take the responsibility for controlling the impact of globalisation, so that its negative effects are minimized.
  • Large corporations should be held legally responsible if they do not pay tax due in the country where they operate
  • It is the government’s responsibility to introduce tougher control of the market in general by drastically reducing monopolies, and oligopolies, but especially in the media. In the UK, about 40% of all media is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and in the USA similarly 40% of the media market is controlled by one company – Comcast.