Moral Rights Depend on a Legal System for Their Validity

The issue of moral limitation on the treatment of human cadavers was discussed a few years ago with practical application to product development when it was decided to resume the use of human cadavers in motor vehicle safety test accidents. The treatment of cadavers is also of practical importance in establishing the practices of teaching hospitals that sometimes allow aspiring doctors to perform medical procedures on cadavers before rigor mortis sets in. This practice offers aspiring physicians the opportunity to hone their skills before applying medical procedures on live patients. Laws requiring family consent for any cadaver surgery are common and reflect the disgust with which most people in the United States view the instrumental use of cadavers. However, this legal reluctance is often circumvented by the trick of delaying the declaration of the patient`s death. The widespread granting of rights to beings who do not make informed decisions has spread in the United States in recent decades, along with increased concerns about the welfare of nonhuman animals. However, the fact that someone assigns rights to nonhuman animals does not entirely determine the person`s opinion of how these animals should be treated ethically. In practice, there is only a very general tendency for those who believe that animals have rights to think that animals should be treated in the same way that we treat humans. Many who are reluctant to attribute rights to nonhuman animals recognize people`s obligations to them. As mentioned earlier, a moral prohibition of animal cruelty is widely recognized and supported by some laws. Second, Hart`s standard of validity ignores the content of the law. Hart considers only the pedigree of creating the law.

Hart therefore accepts the validity of “morally unjust laws” whose content has “no moral justification or force.” (Hart, 1994, p. 268). Legal positivism emphasizes the political dimension of law. Legal positivism recognizes political leaders as the only valid source of law and adopts the will of the political leader as the norm of validity. Major right-wing positivists include Jeremy Bentham, John Austin, and H.L.A. Hart. Remember what makes a claim a moral right: If there is a moral justification for a claim, then that person has a moral right. From this definition, we see that for a person to have a moral right, all that is needed is that the person`s claim is morally justified.

It is said that human rights are equally acquired by all. A conventional consequence of this statement is that everyone has a duty to protect and promote the human rights of all others. In practice, however, the responsibility for the protection of human rights generally rests with national Governments and international intergovernmental bodies. Philosophers such as Thomas Pogge (1995) argue that the moral burden of guaranteeing human rights should fall disproportionately on these institutions, precisely because they are best placed to carry out this task effectively. According to this interpretation, non-governmental organizations and individuals play an important role in supporting the global protection of human rights, but the responsibility must lie with relevant national and international institutions such as the Governments of nation-States and bodies such as the United Nations and the World Bank. It could be argued, for example, that human rights can be adequately guaranteed by the existence of reciprocal duties between individuals throughout the world. However, such a “privatization” of human rights would not take into account two particularly salient factors: individuals tend to give priority to the moral claims of their relatives, especially members of their own family or immediate community; The ability of individuals to perform their duties is largely determined by their personal financial situation. As a result, global inequalities in the distribution of wealth fundamentally undermine the ability of people in poor countries to reciprocate those living in richer countries.

Such reasons underlie Pogge`s insistence that responsibility lies with national and international institutions. Adequate protection and promotion of human rights requires both that nation-States ensure the adequate provision of services and institutions to their own citizens, and that nation-States work together in international institutions to ensure the global conditions necessary for the protection and promotion of the human rights of all.