Before we can really discuss the higher-level health care issues, we have to determine what are human rights? Perhaps who determines them? Maybe even most essental . . . what does it mean to be human?

Yes, I’m aware these are philosophical questions that may or may not have an easy answer.

Let me start with the latter.

What does it mean to be human?

I approach this answer following a history in traditional Christian theology and that certainly colors my perspective but not in the scary “turn-or-burn” sort of Christianity.  I know that not everyone will approach this question with any sort of Christian worldview to which I say “Fantastic!”  I think truth can be gathered from a lot of perspectives so please share them with me.

Now, my first notion is that humans exist and have a character modeled after that of God.  Despite what you may have heard, God is more about relationships than stand-off-ishness.  He is more interested in interaction with us than damning us to hell.  The earliest poems (e.g. Genesis) that discuss God’s first interactions with humans also point out that it was not good for humans to be alone.  Relationships are the basis for life.

My slant is that to be human is to be engaged in and value relationships.

Secondly, I would say that the self-actualized human being is also interested in improving humanity.  Part of this can be seen in wanting the best for self.  It is not that far of a jump to go from wanting best for self to wanting best for all.  Christians would say that this involves restoration (putting things back the way they were meant to be) or bringing heaven to earth (by acting how Jesus would act).  But even without a Christian approach to life, this is still true for many people.  Given the question is it “better” to be selfish or to be selfless, most people would likely choose the latter as the most admirable character trait.

Mature human beings are interested in making life better.

Finally, purpose.  Long story short we have purposeful actions often backed up with rationale.  That’s pretty uniquely human.

Obviously there are many other things that we’re not delving into here . . . humans should be logical, self-aware, capable of dreaming dreams, engaged in culture, etc, etc.

Thoughts or philosophies on any part of life must first be framed by these core perceptions about humanity.

So, what about human rights?