For a long time, individual rights were viewed as a protection against an overweening political power, allowing citizens and businesses to freely govern themselves without interference at work, home, and at worship. These rights were enshrined in seminal documents such as the English Magna Carta, and later the United States Declaration of Independence. Over time, however, this view of rights began to change. In Europe, Latin America, and other countries (and increasingly, the United States), "rights" have started to refer not to protection against the power of the State, but as a power granted to citizens by the State, giving it the power to shape and decide how individuals act in all aspects of their private and public lives. As these new "rights" multiply, some groups are favored over others, creating a society of multiple competing interest groups, each battling against the others to gain special favors and resources doled out by an increasingly powerful State - all in the name of the "general welfare." "Human rights" themselves are even invoked to demand more and more government interference, all of which not only undermines the right of the individual to choose how they wish to live their lives, free of the influence of power, but also undermines each individual's equal treatment before the law. In this brief book, Carlo Lottieri, Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Siena, provides a broad overview of some of the dire social consequences of this radical reversal of rights on true rights and liberties. His appeal is simple: if Western society - and its protections against a powerful, invasive State - is to survive, we must reclaim our sense of autonomy, freedom, and responsibility.
About the Author
Carlo Lottieri is the Director of Political Theory for the Istituto Bruno Leoni, an Italian classical liberal think tank. He teaches political philosophy at the University of Siena in Siena, Italy, and philosophy of social science at the Facolta di Teologia in Lugano, Switzerland."