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Hi Parla and thanks for the post. What I'm alluding to is that perceptions are dictated by priority. In other words, no one's able go to a community services agency and receive a subsidy that would be granted for the purpose of buying records. However, I do know of community action groups that will help with grocery purchases, electric bills, etc...
Yes, someone could easily subscribe to the notion that music is a human right however, ones thoughts are relatively inconsequential if it lacks support from the community at large. I suppose a small group of activists could picket for government support when it comes to their purchasing of records or concert tickets but this position would just seem absurd to most and it's not because music isn't seen as being important.
Essentially my point being that this question presents an absolute scenario of either 'black or white', however I perceive it to be more complex than this. I see there being a need for the community to support this idea wholly before it would ever become something tangible or ever be taken seriously. Without serious support from tax dollars, donations, etc... it simply remains a belief without action and a belief that would for most in Sudan or Paraguay, rank lower as a priority than most other things.
Before the question can be addressed as to whether "Music" is a “Human Right”, we should clarify what we mean by right.
Historically two forms of rights are recognised "Natural Rights" or "Legal Rights" Plato in the Republic attempted to defined “Natural Law” with what is the good is and pleasant (1). Aristotle does not provide a clear definition of a “Natural Right” in the "Nicomachean Ethics", but he does show that living the good life was not a individual thing, but that it involved living at one with others in society. So a person can enjoy the good life by fulfilling his or her essential nature, and doing it within society.(2) Cicero in his “On the Republic\On the Laws”, (3) states that the a supreme law has existed through the ages, which existed before any written law or established state. He also stated that “True law” is right reason in agreement with nature. (4)
Thomas Aquinas defined law as ‘an ordinance of reason and common good and promulgated by an individual who has the care of the community” (5). He stated that a law must be reasonable. That is it is contrary to reason then it cannot qualify as a law, and must be directed towards the common good, and not made for the private interest of a few individuals. (6), Thomas Paine in he "Rights of Man"(7) states Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others"(8)
One of the first theorists to define "Rights" in terms of a contact (Legal Rights,) was Hobbes. He argues that the first law of nature is that each person should attempt to live with others in harmony. Additionally the second law of nature stated that each person should only retain the right to as much liberty as he or she is willing to allow to others.(9) Ideally a sovereign authority (or state) is required to ensure that if people agree to a contract with each other they will then abide by the terms of that contract. He also stated that Hobbes explains that a right to liberty or to property could be transferred from one person to another by means of a legal contract. The terms of a contract would be enforced by a civil authority (or state) (10) Locke went further. It was his contention that the government is morally obliged to serve people that is by protecting life, liberty, and property. He was also one of the first political theorists who defined the principle of checks and balances with an aim to limit government power(11).
Based on this is these descriptions defined what does music then constitute ? A legal right or natural right?
1. "Natural Right and History" \ BY Leo Strauss, The University of Chicagoi Press, Chicago , 1965, P. 101
2.ibid, p. 101
3, "On the Republic \ On the Laws" \ CICERO ( with an English translation by Clinton Walker Keyes), Harvard University Press , London, 2006 (LOEB Classical Library). p 143
4. ibid , p. 143
5. Natural Right and History" \ BY Leo Strauss, The University off Chicago Press, Chicago , 1965, P. 120
6. ibid , p. 120
7. Natural Right and History" \ BY Leo Strauss, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago , 1965, P. 132
8. ibid, p. 132
9. "The Leviathan in the State Theory of Thomas Hobbes: meaning and failure of a political symbol" \ BY Carl Schmitt, The University off Chicago Press, Chicago, 2008., 78
10. ibid, 78
11."The Political Philosophy of Hobbes: its basis and Genesis" \ BY Leo Strauss, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago , 1963., p 128
An interesting topic for discussion Parla, and I have been pondering it on and off, as to whether the idea that music is a human right is an example of an empty phrase or whether there is something in it.
Amfortas, thankyou for a brilliantly informative and scholarly post.
The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights tells us these:
Everyone has the right to
freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
Everyone has the right to
freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions
without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers.
(1) Everyone has the right to
(1) Everyone has the right
freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts
and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to
the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any
scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
When we take this into consideration perhaps there is something then in the claim Parla that music is a human right.
Amfortas, my own thinking has been similar to yours in that I wondered if Dudamel meant it literally, or as you say, possibly referring to a natural right?
Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...
Thanks, Tjh, for your very pertinent...questions.
Amfortas, you may have to contemplate the idea that Music is neither a "natural" or much more a "legal" right. Consider what can be the content and justification (like the social expectations, among others) of the "good musical language" (not any music, in general).
On the other hand, I find this particular definition of "privilege" quite suitable for Music: "a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud" (Miriam Webster Dictionary).
You have raised some interesting points. I have provide a brief response below.
But what is the definition of reason?
Answer: Aristotle states that reason is the ethics which defines the "First Principles of Knowledge". In general the Aristotelian theory argues that knowledge is the result of the senses (sight, touch, taste, sound). That is the senses are concerned with the concrete and material aspect of phenomena. This knowledge is restricted to an individual’s unique experiences (theirs and theirs alone, no one else’s). Reason on the other hand deals with the abstract and ideal aspects. It is unrestricted, free and universal and is itself the source of all general ideas..(1)
Paine...all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others"
If a bartender hears Carmina Burana from next door, because his neighbour is pursuing his own happiness, the tapster may not feel injurious. However, a priest on the other side may feel so. Does this neighbour has a right or not to play Carmina?
Answer: Thomas Paine definition of Natural Right makes provision for intellectual rights, or rights of the mind,. Under Paine’s definition the neighbour has a natural right to play Carmina Burana. As an intellectual right (2. If the priest finds that his rights have been impinged or harmed in some way, the npriest must prove the playing of Carmina Buran have been injurious to his rights, that is they have caused physical, mental or emotional hardship or duress.
"Hobbes...each person should only retain the right to as much liberty as he or she is willing to allow to others"
How can we reconcile different levels of willingness? If I am not willing to allow coughing during concerts, I should not be allowed to cough myself. But if the customer next to me allows coughs, then he can have the right to do so himself, and my belief would mean next to nothing.
Answer: The level of willingness (or un-willingness) is determined by how much of your rights your are prepared to concede to the state. Hobbes states that men mean seek to escape the state of nature by forming governments to protect their rights from constant invasion from others. The coughing of your neighbours constitutes an infringement of your rights. Your response to the coughing by the threat of physical force (real or imagined) causes your neighbour to fear for his physical wellbeing. You can both enter into a contractual arrangement with the state (or sovereign), in which you both agree to forgo certain rights, your neighbour gives up the right to cough and limits himself to a sniff. You give right to take physical retaliation (or threats), instead you limit yourself to a verbal reprimand (i.e. shoosh). By giving up some rights you free yourself and your neighbour from a stated that is both uncertain and insecurity.(3)
Who would pay?
Answer: Those who had entered into a contractual relationship with the state or sovereign would pay (or pay the elected representative who are chosen to represent the community).
1. "Natural Right and History" \ BY Leo Strauss, The University of Chicagoi Press, Chicago , 1965, P. 109
2.. "Liberty the God that Failed"\ Christopher A Ferrara, Angelico Press, 2012 , p. 130.
3. "Liberity the God that Failed"\ Christopher A Ferrara, Angelico Press, 2012 , p. 135
I wonder why Amfortas is keeping giving answers to questions of tjh, since, apparently, Music does not fit in any sort of "human right" definition, description etc. Why all these references, if they are not related to the issue in question. Or Amfortas, do you actually see something else?
I have posted last night giving quotations from the UN declaration of human rights...but it has been sent off for moderation. Hopefully, when it comes back, posters here might find it interesting Parla.
U.N. Declaration on Human Rights, Article 8.2, Section 3:
"The right to post comments on publically available forums without interference, restriction or undue delay resulting from automated systems of moderation."
We can all become a bit idealistic and as music, art, poetry, etc... excite our emotions and fire our synapsis, it is to be expected that passions run high around topics such as this one. After all, Aristotle expounded that we admire the material chair for its form and function, that our intelligence credits the person who crafted the chair for their skill and creativity and that our emotions are lifted by a universal creator who is responsible for making the man who made the chair. The material chair itself is therefore three generations away from its true nature. And thanks for tolerating my Americanized English.
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