Of course, here I am
not saying that basic human rights do not exist, or do not matter.
am saying that many of the people arguing about it do not have a foundation on which to put it.
“Should” or “Ought” are not words on which they have the ethos to stand.
Give it a spin.
Using only physics, explain the difference between genocide and ant extermination.
Is one ethical and one not? Why or why not?
Or: Is it moral (ethical) for an ant to eat an aphid? Why or why not? Is it different for humans? Why?
Of course, we should care about human rights.
The idea that, without appealing to any court higher than the instincts themselves, we can yet find grounds for preferring one instinct above its fellows dies very hard. We grasp at useless words: we call it the ‘basic’, or ‘fundamental’, or ‘primal’, or ‘deepest’ instinct. It is of no avail. Either these words conceal a value judgement passed upon the instinct and therefore not derivable from it, or else they merely record its felt intensity, the frequency of its operation and its wide distribution. If the former, the whole attempt to base value upon instinct has been abandoned: if the latter, these observations about the quantitative aspects of a psychological event lead to no practical conclusion. It is the old dilemma. Either the premisses already concealed an imperative or the conclusion remains merely in the indicative.