I saw this quote on a forum relating to the rapid rate of scientific advancement and the corresponding demands of those advances in consumer culture.

Yesterday’s luxuries are today’s necessities.

I found that to be an interesting quote, and propose a corollary:

Yesterday’s privileges are today’s demanded rights.

I’m always intrigued by what ‘rights’ people claim to have all the time. “It’s my right to do X, it’s my right to be given Y.”  I often try to find out where/how/when these purported things were granted to them as a ‘right’ – especially when those ‘rights’ imply that I should be opening my pocket to them.

In order to spell out ‘rights’ one has to have an idea of what a person is entitled to and what things are optional. We all do not have a right to own a new Mercedes free of charge, or the right to disobey the law of gravity. But we do have rights like religious freedom, due process (well, we used to until habius corpus was basically rescinded), freedom of speech/assembly and so forth (all within certain bounds of course). But I often at amazed at how quickly we forget of what sorts of things we didn’t have even a generation ago, such as the women’s right to vote amendment in 1920. It’s also too easy to just start saying we have rights that we don’t.

Determining what is someone’s right relies on a deep understanding of the value and dignity of the human person at their core – something that faith and the Church has talked about in great depth (read Humanae Vitae from the 2nd Vatican counsel for a good spelling out of what rights/dignity the human person is recognized as having. Religious freedom and choosing the option not to believe is one of them). Anyway, just thought it was an interesting quote.

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