What role should the government take in ensuring rights for citizens? Are there too many rights?  What role should the government take in ensuring rights for citizens? Are there too many rights?  

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geosc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The role of government in ensuring rights: Government (the people who govern) exists off of taxes.  In order to get those taxes, government provides protection to the taxpayers so that they can have a stable enough society to produce taxable wealth.  People want protection so that they can pursue happiness.  Happiness is adequate food, clothing and shelter for self and family, and knowing that no one is likely to come along and take it away from you.  People pay taxes to government in order to get protection from government.  As long as the taxes are not too high, or the protection too little, a stable, happy society exists.

Government should protect everyone in his freedom to do whatever does not hurt anyone else.

There is no right beyond protection that government can provide to one individual or group without first taking it from another individual or group.  So I would answer the second part of the question by saying, there definitely can be too many rights.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think much of the answer given to this question will be dependent on which type of thinker is asking it.  History has taught us that bad things are usually not far off when government does not take an active role in ensuring and protecting rights for individuals.  When government goes silent in this capacity, some of the worst crimes are perpetrated.  You can find much in historical record of what happens when individual rights are not acknowledged by a social or political order and what happens as a result.  With this in mind, I don't think that there can be too many rights.  The more individuals who are integrated into the political spectrum and social discourse of expression, the better off a social order is.  Believing in this rights- based paradigm, I am not sure there can be "too many" rights for any silencing of individuals becomes a moral imperative to avoid, in my mind.  Yet, I do think that others could articulate a position opposite of this.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The government is, in my opinion, the only entity that can ensure the rights of citizens.  If, for example, the people in my neighborhood want to throw stuff at my house because they don't want people of my ethnicity living near them, who else but the government is going to stop them?  It would certainly not be a good idea to get my ethnic group to come up here and fight them...

I do not think there are too many rights.  However, I think that there are too many people who think only of their rights and not of their responsibilities.  They think only about what they think they should get and not about what they ought to do (or not do) so as to make the community a better place.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is a primary focus of a democratic government.  By enforcing peoples' rights, they are enforcing the law, the Constitution and the principles enshrined within them.  What more important purpose could government have?  I don't think there are necessarily too many rights.  I do think there are probably too many entitlements.

udonbutterfly | Student

I am a huge believer in John Locke who states in his Second Treatise to Government that only the people have the power to give power to the Government and if the people are unhappy then it is the peoples right to take away that power. Even though many constitutions are based off of Locke this is not always the case. The problems of minorities of every country are ignored and pushed to the back later to make more excuses. There will never be enough rights until the constitution acknowledges the minority groups as citizens as well as their issues in society.

easternbluebird | Student

god given rights or natural rights are innate. basically right of our life, our liberty and our property. not right ot have someone's elses property liberty or life.

too often the power of the state are used by people to impose their views/will on how others should act. purpose of government is to make sure joe one doens't steal or murder defraud or extort from joe 2. since we are all pretty much equal, one has no right to impose their values on others. unless their is a damage party there is no crime.

unless someone has stolen your life (murder kidnap)stolen your liberty (imposed regulations and restrictions on what they can a cannot do with your property and life without a bonifide contract , and forced contracts under duress)or damage your property  (cut down your trees threw trash on it, damage crops or harmed the animals or broken yoru house or whatever) there is no crime.

what do you call it when someone pays someone money because they want that someone not to beat them up? is that not a protection racket? what happens if you don't pay what the government claims you owe? so are we paying money for the government to protect us from government?

no, man is incapable of ruling over himself let alone others. in fact we do not have the right to rule over ourselves let alone others, and we do not have authority to delegate authority to others (gov) to rule others in our behalf. jere 10:23







gisella1982 | Student

All people DO NOT have rights.That is a fantasy pounded into our heads from the day we are taught the "pledge of alligence" in school."Liberty and Justice for all",my eye! Gay ppl still can not marry. "The patriot act" is a crock of bullplop,people on probation/or that have "done time" for a felony,can never legally own a fire arm,even once they have served their debt to society,thus taking away their second ammendment right,FOR LIFE.If anything,we as a nation DO NOT have enough rights.


krishna-agrawala | Student

In theory, people in a democracy cannot have too many rights. All people have equal rights, and whatever rights the government or other agencies have are granted by the people to promote and protect the collective welfare of all the people. The real conflict is not between right of individuals versus that of government. The conflict is between collective good of all the people versus right of people to do what they consider in their best interests.

Unfortunately, everyone in the society concentrates on only his or her freedom, unmindful of effect of such approach on freedom of others, it reduces the average individual freedom, rather than increase it. The role of government is to ensure that individuals, in their attempt to seek and exercise their own rights, do not trample upon rights of others. Another important function is to perform such essential functions of society that can be handled more efficiently and effectively when performed as centralized function, for example, defence or maintenance of roads.

epollock | Student

The government, under the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, has the duty to safeguard an individuals rights by whatever means necessary. The Bill of Rights guarantees certain rights of citizens, and any others that the states award should be backed up by the full faith of the State in protecting those rights by whatever means necessary and exist to make sure that they are protected. That is one of the many luxuries in living in one of the most free societies, in the United States, and enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Just as long as it doesn't interfere with other's happiness and the enjoying of their rights as well.