[话语]上学期的这门课(二)

‘If equality of rights is so self-evident, then why idid this assertion have to made and why was it only made in specific times and places?’

‘如果是天赋人权、人生而平等,那么为什么这样显而易见的事实只有在某些特定时候被发现呢?’

——Lynn Hunt, Inventing Human Rights

紧接上一篇文章,当把人权放在特定的时间,社会以及政治主体下的时候,就可以很清晰的问出几个问题。

首先,改善人权未来的发展方向是什么,有没有一个终极的目标?如果说人权是有一个终极的目标,那必然意味着人权有着明确的解释,是一个贯穿始终的定义。然而,当把人权放在特定的时间,社会以及政治主体下讨论的时候,人权就已经失去了这种贯穿始终的定义。它不是贯穿始终的真理,而只是某一特定时间点,这个社会与政治主体下人们或者是思想家所怀揣的这一时代的对于一个群体人的生存状态的向往。从以前的Stamp Act Protest开始,到Civil Right Movement, 普通白人开始有了基本公民权利,黑人有了基本公民权利,女人有了投票权利等等。在每一个事件背后,都有着一群人,可能是群情激昂的大众,也可能是冷静的思想家,他们依据过去,思考人所应有的基本生存状态,也就是人权。也许那些Founding Fathers正是出于无法准确定义人权,所以才写下了空间很宽泛的宪法。

如果暂且假定从这些事件以来,人们的基本人权开始得到逐渐的改善,那这个人权向好的方向发展的趋势是以什么来作为准则的呢?人人平等?人人生而自由?那平等和自由又该如何定义。这些词都非常宽泛,听起来很好很棒,但其实却缺乏一个准确的概念。这里我对于自由和民主缺乏更深的思考,暂时不做讨论了。

第三个问题,是不是更好的人权只能通过强制以及通过政策改变法律条文的改变才能够实现?所谓更好的人权,先由思想家们拟构出来,然后只能通过政治的手段才能够真正的实现。比如,因为American Revolution, 对于大部分白人来说,基本人权有了法律明文的保障,人权有了确确实实的政治意义而不是空洞的概念。那这样来说,人权只有在具体的政治主体下才有意义,那么一个国家和另外一个国家谈论各自的人权,是不是不具有可比性。政治体制的不一样以及文化传统的不一样,导致不同国家在这一特定时期对于人权的定义不同。那这么说起来,美国的人权只不过是在美国政体下特定的人权的政治意义罢了,并不是放之四海而皆准的公理。

人权的问题,很有意思。下次再读一遍Inventing Human Rights, 再来好好讨论一番。在下面贴上几句摘录:

‘If equality of rights is so self-evident, then why idid this assertion have to made and why was it only made in specific times and places?’

‘Human rights only become meaningful when they gain political content. They are not the rights of humans in a state of nature; they are the rights of humans in society…they are the rights of humans vis-à-vis each other…and they are rights that require active participation form those who hold them. ’

‘Human rights are difficult to pin down because their definition, indeed their very existence, depends on emotions as much as on reason. The claim of self-evidence relies ultimately on an emotional appeal; it is convincing if it strikes a chord within each person. ’

‘Everyone would have rights only if everyone could be seen as in some fundamental way alike. Equality was not just an abstract concept or a political slogan. It had to be internalized in some fashion. ’

‘Rights cannot be defined once an door all because their emotional basis continues to shift, in part in reaction to declarations of rights. Right remain open to question because our sense of who has rights and what those rights are constantly changes. The human rights revolution is by definition ongoing…Human right depend both on self-possession and on the recognition that all others are equally self-possessed. ’

‘The political scientist Benedict Anderson has argued that  newspapers and novels created the ‘imagined community’ that nationalism requires in order to flourish. What might be termed ‘imagined empathy’ serves as the foundation of human rights rather than of nationalism…Each in their way reinforced the notion of a community based on autonomous, empathetic individuals who could relate beyond their immediate families, religious affiliations, or even nations to greater universal values.’