There are many different ideas of what is or isn’t worth fighting for. As far as I’m concerned, they tend to fall into four basic camps.

1. Human Rights, by which I mean the idea of equal rights and responsibilities for human persons.
2. Living Rights, by which I mean the idea of rights without responsibilities for all living things.
3. Group Rights, by which I mean the idea that we need to fight for specific groups of people.
4. Supremacism, by which I mean the idea that one group or another has a special right to be above everyone else.

Of course there are overlaps. When people fight for a specific group of people, this may be a matter of fighting for human rights which are often denied people in the group. It may also be a matter of fighting for supremacy of the group. Or it may be a bit of both, on a sliding scale.

Likewise, some ideas of human rights may be included in an idea of living rights and vice versa, while others may not. Two very important differences are the right to life and the rights to democracy. These are very important human rights, but cannot be extended to all living things.

All animals eat other living things. Either they eat each other, or they eat plants. Either way, this would violate the right to life if all life did have a right to life. Humans have the right and responsibility to elect the leaders of the world. Animals as a group or as individuals could never have such a responsibility. And thus they could never have such a right, either.

Children as a group could never have this right and responsibility either, but each individual child will get there as they grow up. Human children are human persons, only that some of the things this entails needs to be put on hold until they have matured.

Personally, I have dedicated myself to fight for Universal Human Rights. I reject all forms of supremacism between adult human beings. I consider struggle for oppressed groups to be good as it is based on universal human rights for all. And I consider it necessary for as long as people are denied their rights based on their gender or skin-color or whatever.

While I do want animals to be protected from needless cruelty, I don’t think animal rights are at all comparable to human rights. If they were, it would be our duty to outlaw nature itself, reshaping our world into a perfectly controlled park where we can protect all animals from each other. Some animal rights activists like to compare animals to children. While they certainly do have a point, they should also consider this: We would never let our human children live unsupervised and free to kill each other. Right?

Human rights, living rights, group rights or supremacism. Which of these four would you say is the core of YOUR political struggle, whatever this struggle might be? Why is this one the core? And how do you relate to the other three? Think about it for a bit.

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