Curbing Rights Inflation

Contemporary rights discourse elevates the trivial and peripheral at the expense of the central and fundamental. Civil rights are inflated. Everyone asserts a right to everything, so no one has a right to anything. And rights do not correlate with concrete duties, so no one bears responsibility for others’ rights. But for better or worse, rights are the normative currency of our day. We must recover a sound understanding of human and legal rights. This lecture will explain how to do that.

Recommended Readings

Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse (1993)

Adam J. MacLeod, Metaphysical Right and Practical Obligations (

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