Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that?
(02-03-2012, 11:50 AM)cgraye Wrote:
(02-03-2012, 11:21 AM)Micawber Wrote:
(02-03-2012, 10:56 AM)cgraye Wrote: Parmandur,

Yes, I don't think anyone disputes that.  The question is really whether this translates into a right for the poor to have their needs met, and, in either case, whether it is the government's place to enforce it (redistribution of wealth).  Aquinas seems to say it is not a government's place to do that.  I am particularly thinking about this in terms of health care.  Can we say that health care is a right?  Can we say that a government is right in providing it to all the citizens (setting aside practical considerations of whether this is a good idea)?

I think this is the core of the issue here cgraye; what do you think a right is? 

I like the definition given in the Catholic Enclopedia:

Quote:Right, as a substantive (my right, his right), designates the object of justice. When a person declares he has a right to a thing, he means he has a kind of dominion over such thing, which others are obliged to recognize. Right may therefore be defined as a moral or legal authority to possess, claim, and use a thing as one's own.

The entire article is here:

Unfortunately this doesn't quite answer my question about whether or not a duty implies a right, and, more importantly, WHY.

I don't have time now to respond to everything above; briefly for now:  a duty manifestly DOES NOT imply a right; for many reasons, but in part because a right is a "kind of dominion" over one's property and sphere of action & personhood vis a vis other persons, but more specifically vis a vis State power.  To say that someone has a right to appropriate my property, or impinge upon my sphere of action & personhood, whether direclty or via the machinery of the State, is to directly contravene what a right is. This is exactly why Marxists have focused on "rights" language - an infection in language and philosophy that seems to taken hold in many places, including the Church.  A sad state of affairs and much the reason why we are such a mess here in the US and Europe.   


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Re: Do we have a duty to help the poor? How do we quantify that? - by Micawber - 02-03-2012, 12:05 PM

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