Article 25

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

It amazes me, after thousands of years of civilization, with all of the philosophy and social theory we have developed in that time that any of this can still be in question. How necessities of life can be considered luxuries is a bit beyond my understanding. I don’t care how lazy you think someone is, or even if you are right about them, how does that exclude them from being fed, or kept out of the cold, or receiving proper medical attention? It seems petty to me to be so wrapped up in how hard you work that you think someone not working makes them so loathsome that they deserve to suffer horribly.

Clause two is a bit more problematic, not because I disagree with it, but because I see it being manipulated by some elements in our culture. Mothers, especially new ones, and of course children are vulnerable. Because they are vulnerable we need to look out for them. Unfortunately I can see some people deciding that this is somehow proof that women need “looking after” and don’t deserve the same rights as men. Also, while I am not interested in getting into the abortion debate just now, some would use this to define the unborn as children and having human rights. There are important reasons why I believe the unborn are not children, but that is far more than a 300 word blog post.

The simple fact of the matter is making sure people have the bare minimum is not just the nice thing to do. It is not why I support it. I believe helping little old ladies cross the road is the nice thing to do as well (and not just because I am not that far off from being one), and do so, but I don’t think it should be codified into our laws and culture. No, we should take care of the least among us because for one, we never know when we might be among them, and for another, it makes for a stabler, safer society for everyone. Desperate people behave desperately. There are two obvious ways to deal with that, and the one not suggested by this Article has been tried, to horrific effect.  This way works and it is the kinder option.

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