Showing posts from May, 2013

Liberty and Progress: The Differences Between Negative and Positive Rights

The United States has been bitterly divided for quite some time now, with conservatives and progressives fighting it out all across the political domain. The prize is nothing less than the future of the country and the very values which underpin it. While we as citizens might prefer a more pragmatic approach to politics, where workable solutions trump ideological commitments, considering the banter between pundits on 24 hour news shows, sometimes it seems the two sides don't even speak the same language. In fact, their most basic premises about the fundamental role of government seem to be wholly incompatible. This may seem like little more than stubborn partisanship, but the reality goes much deeper and it has more to do with philosophy than politics. The difference between conservatives and progressives is sometimes simply a matter of negative and positive rights. What are negative and positive rights?   While the two terms are relatively new in terms