Daily Bread

What are the minimum requirements to live a life with human dignity? It is apparent, in examining the list below, that the items nearer the top of the list are absolutely essential to life itself and that items lower in the list we may be deprived of to some extent and still survive. We may debate their relative rankings, and perhaps refine the definitions and boundaries of each, but I believe that each must be included.

  1. Clean air to breathe
  2. Fresh pure water for drinking, cooking, and bathing
  3. Food in sufficient quantity and quality to provide for nutritional thriving -- not just survival
  4. Adequate clothing to preserve one's modesty and protect against the environment
  5. A safe comfortable place in which to sleep each night and to keep personal property; (a place from which one cannot be ejected and in which one can control who is invited in and who is excluded?) 1 Timothy 6:8
  6. The ability to have and hold the work of your hands; to keep, sell, barter, give, or consume, and otherwise control the output of your labor
  7. Meaningful human interaction: regular contact with someone who knows your name and would notice your unexpected absence is the barest minimum, ability to interact (to the extent desired) with family and community, including the right to participate with a partner in procreation
  8. Freedom from violence, oppression, persecution, or threats thereof
  9. Privacy and solitude; time and freedom to think and do as you please

The Rights and Duties of Man

If we hold that these items are necessary then how do we obtain them for ourselves? Can we, and must we, ensure them for others? Certainly if we each have a right to these essential elements of life we must also have a duty to guarantee them to others. My use of clean air and water must not degrade them to make them less usable for others. My taking must be balanced by my giving.

Declaration of Rights and Duties of Man and Citizen (1795)

American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (1948)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [UN] General Assembly resolution 2200A (1976)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [UN] General Assembly resolution 2200A (1976)

Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities (1997) - this one is somewhat like I had in mind.

Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1998)

Declaration of Responsibilities and Human Duties (2002)

Universal Declaration of Human Duties - World Philosophical Forum, strange stuff! (2003)

Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse (2007)

Human Responsibility Movement Initiatives: A Comparative Analysis Volume 7 Number 1 (2013): 1-26 -- (PDF)



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