I was very encouraged by the introductory reading for my Health Law class.I was initially a bit nervous about what they would be teaching me about public health law and law interpretation until I got the the section explaining rights and how they would be viewed in this course:
For the most part people us the word “rights” too loosely. In this course we will be discussing legal rights. A legal right is an enforceable benefit or good – by enforceable we mean that if you went to court you would win a lawsuit for the deprivation of a benefit to which you are entitled. When one person has a right another person has an obligation….when you say someone has a “right,” you must be prepared to specify where that right comes from. Laws do not confer rights in some general way. Such laws specify who is protected by the law, who is obligated to provide the right and the circumstances in which the right may be exercised.
This is encouraging because I was worried about being deluged with liberal propaganda about loosely termed “rights” instead of what is actually part of the law. If it’s a law that needs to be fixed, we can fix it. If it’s an arbitrary “right” that someone thinks they’re entitled to simply because of common support, then there’s no process by which to fix it if it’s wrong. We can’t build or govern a society built on “we say so” ideas; there needs to be a method or it’s all madness (although some would argue that it’s already all madness). I was encouraged at least that all our comments must be based on legal rights.