Rights and Privileges

I didn’t have a clever variation of an equal sign .GIF to use as a profile picture, but let me go on record as saying that I unequivocally support equal rights for people. Specifically, I support marriage equality. But, in a broader sense, I support “rights” which, by definition, really ought to be “equal” for everyone.

Rights that aren’t equal are privileges (“private laws”). I can’t say that I support a lot of privileges. It really gets my goat when people say “Letting someone else have what I have diminishes MY thing.” Does letting more people get married diminish your marriage? Only if you get off on having something that other people can’t have. Does granting citizenship to people make your struggle for citizenship meaningless? Can you imagine if civil rights leaders in the 50’s thought like that? “Well, I had to work hard and risk everything for equality. If you don’t have to work as hard as I did, you shouldn’t get the benefits I fought for. It diminishes my struggle!”

Rights don’t diminish when they’re distributed; they’re strengthened. It’s privilege that’s diminished. It’s really petty to think that what you have is only worth having so long as other people can’t have it.

 

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