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Reply to “Fundamentalist intolerance is degrading assembly and association rights worldwide – UN expert”

As I see it the main fundamental problem in the world is the failure by so many people to distinguish optional beliefs from firm reality. Pythagoras theorem is an example of firm reality because it can be shown to be true. Astrology is an example of an optional belief. It cannot be shown to be true. In all walks of life, in every culture, people hold optional beliefs that they do not distinguish from fact. Some make decisions affecting many people, causing unnecessary hardship or strife. Children are indoctrinated throughout their young lives to believe that certain optional beliefs are fact and they grow up to be irrational adults. They misjudge the issues at hand on the basis of optional beliefs instead of firm principles. Some commit or support murder on the basis of their optional beliefs.
All schools in the world should teach epistemology, the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge. When nearly everybody is adept at distinguishing optional beliefs from firm principles there can be intelligent conversation between people regardless of religion, culture, political or economic philosophy, or loyalties. There can be a talking out of differences in wants and then compromise, and the identification of true rights.

Filed under: Comments on News Stories | June 20th, 2016


U-Tube Course in Human Rights

A condensed version of “Human Rights, What Are They Really?” has been uploaded to U-Tube as a short course in human rights. It is in 3 segments-

Segment 1: Elements of a right and natural rights

Segment 2: Subsidiary rights

Segment 3: Comparison with prevailing human rights doctrine

Go to:

      Segment 1:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otnzIVYgabE

      Segment 2:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXWStA_Hqt8

      Segment 3:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iJH7dSfF6M

A 4th segment is planned and will appear later in the year.

 

Filed under: Notices, Uncategorized | June 20th, 2016


Message to Future Left

I see the right way forward as the following. First, an understanding of what fundamental rights every person has. This is considerably different from the prevailing human rights doctrine that contains errors. Second, an agreed upon definition of justice and recognition that it applies to the individual, not to groups. My definition is that justice is the concept that a person gets what he/she deserves.
Third is a concept I call proper government. It means a government that protects the rights of all citizens. It is effective and efficient because all positions in the government are defined by a list of responsibilities and every person is required to fulfill those responsibilities under pain of dismissal.

Filed under: Comments to NGO's | May 27th, 2016


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About The Author

Robert Stephen Higgins was born into a coal-mining family in Nova Scotia but grew up mostly in Southern Ontario. In 1964 he graduated from the University of Toronto in Mechanical Engineering and began his engineering career in the aero engine and aircraft fields. This included a period at the Boeing Airplane Company in Seattle as a material stress analyst on the 747 jetliner project. Worried that aircraft design projects were too discontinuous for raising a family he moved to the power industry. Through the 1970’s he was a design and project mechanical engineer on new oil and coal-fired power stations in Canada and the USA. Much higher pay and adventure called to him in taking a project engineering position for the construction of a nuclear power station in Argentina. He remained in the Canadian nuclear power industry as a design engineer until taking early retirement in 1999. Afterwards, he completed two consultant contracts in the nuclear field, the latter taking him to South Africa to manage a mechanical engineering department on a project to design and build a demonstration pebble-bed modular reactor (nuclear) which, unfortunately, was cancelled in 2008.

Robert was not just an engineer, however, but an interested student of the whole human story. History and archaeology were fascinating subjects, but closer to home the direction in which politicians, judges, and others in positions of power were taking society was of more serious concern. A public confrontation with the president of the large company (23,000 employees) for which he worked was a tipping point. Robert suggested that the employment equity program which the president was promoting would discriminate against white males. The president replied that he did not care if it did, he was going to implement it anyway. Reflecting on this interchange afterwards, Robert concluded that employment equity programs were more about designing society than about individual rights.

After retirement, he applied his long experience with objective analysis to discover what human rights really were. His book Human Rights, What Are They Really? was published in late 2008. More writing is ahead amid efforts to advance his own technical projects.

In April, 2014, Robert became a member of the board of the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa.