Shouldn't Everyone Have Equal Rights?
Do you agree that “all” human adults should have equal rights?
If you answered yes, do you think that means there is something the same about us?
In other words, if we all have an “equal” right to life, then we must have something in common. Something that demands we treat each other equally. It can’t be size or intelligence, as that comes in degrees. Those characteristics wouldn’t explain a need for equal rights.
So what is the same about us?
For lack of a better term, we all have “humanness” in common. That’s something that doesn’t come in degrees. It’s an all-or-nothing kind of thing. We don’t have feathers. We don’t lay eggs. We don’t even share the same beliefs. But we are all human.
And if being human is what gives us intrinsic value—that clarifies a lot. It explains why all adult humans have an equal right to life, even though we have so many differences. It also explains why things like racism and sexism are wrong. Those things focus on a surface difference, but don’t get to the core of our question. It ignores the things we have in common.
You might have an alternative explanation for an adult human’s equal right to life. It might include equal rights for all “living beings” or limiting the rights of non-adult humans. Too many of these explanations have major consequences. For instance, they might require an equal right to life for other beings (such as animals like squirrels who don’t have the same type of “equalness”) or deny the right to life of another human such as a newborn.
So if we all have humanness in common, should humans at all stages have equal rights? Even the child in the womb?
A special thanks to The Equals Rights Institute for their input on this article. Visit: equalrightsinstitute.com