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Soc. Sci. 2 Article for Discussion A-Individual vs. Group Rights

Posted by Brian C. Ventura on October 4, 2011

 

Group rights v individual rights

Me, myself and them

From indigenous peoples to newly installed migrants, governments face awkward demands for collective exemptions and entitlements

May 12th 2011 | from The Economist print edition

WHEN one category of citizens is singled out for privileged treatment, are the rights of others infringed? Phil Eidsvik, a Canadian salmon-fisher, thinks the answer is yes. He hopes his country’s newly re-elected prime minister, Stephen Harper, recalls a pledge he made five years ago: to oppose “racially divided fisheries programmes”, in other words, giving special fishing rights to indigenous groups.

But given the storm that Mr Harper’s comment provoked—he was accused of stoking white nativism—he is likely to proceed cautiously. And legal moves are now afoot to broaden the rights of indigenous fishermen. At present Canada upholds the rights of aboriginal groups to engage in traditional, subsistence fishing; hence regulators often open a fishery to a particular indigenous group for a limited time before a commercial catch begins.

One tribe, the Lax Kw’alaams, is fighting a legal battle for special rights in the field of commercial fishing, too, challenging the government’s contention that commercial harvesting only began with the arrival of whites, and so is not a traditional activity of Canada’s first inhabitants. All this horrifies Mr Eidsvik, who argues that the rights of other fishermen (including indigenous ones) are violated when a stretch of water is allocated to a particular tribe. “The individual is completely lost in the conflict over group rights,” he says, speaking for the British Columbia Fisheries Survival Coalition, an NGO.

Among the world’s liberal democracies, Canada stands out for the entitlements it grants to one group of citizens and for its open acknowledgment that there are hard trade-offs between individual rights and group rights. From South Africa to India, many countries have “affirmative action” policies, with the aim of correcting past wrongs by allocating a disproportionate share of jobs or educational places to groups that apparently need a leg up. But critics of the Canadian system say it goes further; it creates two levels of citizen by excluding indigenous people from conservation rules, and by exempting tribes from the accountability rules that other groups must follow. It is one thing to offer benefits to citizens who are felt to need them, another to water down the principle of equal citizenship.

Canada may be egregious, but, in one form or another, most democracies have to weigh the demands of groups against the rights of individuals—and getting the correct balance has become harder in the age of identity politics, when arguments about culture and even religion have replaced older ones over economics and class. Ostensibly at least, France has remained at the far end of the spectrum from Canada. French officials like to contrast their own policy of equal citizenship with the sloppy communautarisme—rights for specific groups—that some countries, including multicultural Britain, tolerate.

Whatever lies behind that French rhetoric, the question of group entitlement has been thrown into sharp relief in all rich democracies by the recent arrival of migrants whose “cultural practices” are at odds with any liberal understanding of rights. Extreme examples include the stigmatising of children accused of witchcraft; the practice of female genital mutilation; domestic violence; and forced marriages with partners in distant lands. Whenever those practices are tolerated, the victims are deprived of basic human rights—and the perpetrators enjoy a peculiar leniency.

As countries wrestle with those problems, realities often differ less than theories do. At least in the recent past, the French authorities turned a blind eye to polygamy among north African migrants. And if there are British inner cities where the Queen’s writ (in respect of equality of the sexes, say) hardly runs, something similar applies to the ghettos of Marseilles.

Governments and courts, charged with upholding the ideal of equality before the law, claim to be guided by eternal principles, not fashion—but they are inevitably affected by a climate of opinion created by lobby groups, scholars and international bureaucracies that spend their time debating and defining human rights.

And in that world of wonks and campaigners, there has been more emphasis in recent decades on social and cultural rights—generally demanded by groups—and less on the individual rights which are upheld by classic texts like the American Bill of Rights. For example, the Vienna declaration of 1993, which forms the basis for much for the UN’s human-rights activity, incorporates cultural rights as well as a “right to (economic) development”.

According to Eva Erman, a professor at Sweden’s Uppsala University, “the Vienna text implies there is no tension between individual and group rights, although in practice such a tension often arises.” Elsewhere in academia, Will Kymlicka, a Canadian scholar, has argued that individual rights cannot be fully enjoyed without respect for the traditions, languages and religions of groups, because culture gives people “meaningful options”. He agrees that culturally defined groups may sometimes oppress their own members, but insists that weak cultures need defending from strong ones. And Amnesty International, the granddaddy of global human-rights groups, broadened its agenda a decade ago to include social, economic and cultural rights as well as freedom from jail and persecution, its first concern.

But as advocates of human rights mull over this year’s Arab revolts, there seems to have been a rediscovery of the role of brave individuals who fight old-fashioned oppression in the name of universal rights, not identity politics. In its latest annual report, marking the organisation’s 50th anniversary, Amnesty highlights both the role of new technologies in rallying protest, and the price paid by courageous souls who use them. It recalls the death of Khaled Said, an Egyptian who was beaten to death by police while using an internet café; and that of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian whose self-immolation was rapidly relayed round the country through social networks.

Amnesty still thinks rights are interlinked, according to Widney Brown, one of its directors: the cry on the Arab streets is against police repression and torture, but also against economic mismanagement that blights societies. The report rejects a “false dichotomy” between civil and political rights on one hand, and social, economic and cultural ones on the other; but its general tone suggests a renewed emphasis on the ability of individuals to force change in the name of noble ideals.

If the Arab uprisings prevail, will the resulting elected governments impose the will of the majority group—Sunni Muslim in Syria or Tunisia, Shia in Bahrain? Or will they be genuine liberal democracies, with guarantees that members of minorities will be treated no better and no worse than anybody else? That question is impossible to answer in advance, though there are many vulnerable groups, from the Christians of Syria to the Tuareg nomads of the Maghreb, who have reason to fear they might fare worse under free, universal suffrage than they did under secular despots.

Compared with the chaos that could accompany any regime change in the Arab world, decision-makers in stable places like Canada or France have an easy time of it; they are free to experiment and negotiate. And in any lively democracy, groups—defined by language,religion or simply voluntary association around an idea or a pastime—will bargain over things like language teaching or zoning rights for mosques. But a dangerous line has been crossed, and a bad signal sent to other places, if, in the name of group rights, the principle of equality before the law is openly breached.

 

Guide points/questions for discussion

-conflict between individual and group rights.

-Is there really a conflict?

-Among the philosophers we discussed, who can give us a good explanation for understanding and or solving this conflict, if there is any?

-If there is indeed a conflict, should individual rights be given priority over group rights?

 

 

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29 Responses to “Soc. Sci. 2 Article for Discussion A-Individual vs. Group Rights”

  1. Carl Gil Angelo Celebria said

    John Locke said that we have our inalienable rights, we always have that freedom of choice, our rights. In society, we have our individual rights and we, or some, join or are a part of group (i.e the indigenous groups) have group rights but this different rights could lead to conflict, conflicts like this article has shown, where one would be favored and the other would say it is biased.
    Thomas Hobbes had the idea of a social contract consisting of a chosen sovereign( chosen by the people themselves) and the people. With this social contract, there would be a natural equality(well maybe not a perfect equality ) among the people because there would be no special rights for they are all be under the sovereign.
    And for me, I would always prefer the rights of the group, in society I would pick the best that is for all or at least the majority of society. Why bother with one or few individuals problem if most of your people in society are already contented in society?

  2. Rama Lo Palanog Romero BA Psychology said

    Conflicts in individual rights and group rights are the issues in some of other countries hitherto. Some countries give more priority to individual rights rather than group rights. With regards to receiving some benefits from the government, there is a conflict between both rights because it is clear that the government’s main concern is the rights of each individual even though the rights of the unprivileged group are deprived. This is the reason why there is a conflict because there are rights which are deprived. Equality before the law is equality in every right whether in group or individual. This conflict was given due explanation or solution by the philosopher, Karl Marx in his book “Communist Manifesto”, specifically in his discussion about history of society as history of class struggle wherein the relationship between the working and the ruling class is antagonistic relationship, this means that the class who owns the means of production can control or oppress those who does not own the means of their labor. This is related to individual rights and group rights wherein group rights receive less benefit than the individual rights even though group rights also work hard yet the individual right profit more. Marx said that to solve this conflict the less privileged should struggle to free themselves. Since Marx advocates democracy there should be the rule of many which also means the equality of each individual.

  3. Augil Marie Robles BA Psychology said

    An ideal society would tell us that the individual rights and the group rights should both be preserved in a manner that the practice of one does not alter with the practice of the other. However, this is not the case in reality. The moment that the government agrees to formulate and approve a law that benefits only a specific group in a society, it deprives others of the individual right to an equal and fair treatment from the government. Say for example an “Anti-Violence Against Women” campaign is launched by the government, obviously, the group rights of women are being satisfied but not the individual rights of men who will not at all gain favor from such campaign. For me, giving privileges to specific groups is fine as long as long as the government will also be able to provide the same kind of privileges to other groups. Say for example that if there is a law specifically designed for the protection of women, then a law should also be made for the protection for men. Although in this case, both parties lose their individual rights, what is important is that they are being provided with equal benefits.

    • Augil Marie Robles BA Psychology said

      I would opt to favor individual rights rather than group rights because the people in groups still have individual rights so when you prioritize individual rights they will benefit, which makes it advantageous to a larger number of people in the society as compared to favoring group rights where only those who belong to the group would benefit.
      Mr.Rousseau has established a form of government wherein the general will of the people is considered as the sovereign, the general will alone can direct the state towards the common good. Thus, it is important that the people’s opinions were kept individual and private in order to establish a true general will is the process of voting. Mr. Rousseau has stated the danger of having partial societies or organizations for when these fractions arise, there will no longer be as many votes as there are man, but rather only as many as associations.
      If we abolish these partial organizations in the society, we would also abolish group rights.What would be left to the people is their individual rights and so there is no more conflict between the two, since in the first place, only one is preserved.

  4. Alyssa Thea A. Teofilo said

    Alyssa Thea A. Teofilo BS Biology I

    Considering which matters most, individual rights or group rights is one of the most comprehensive problems the society is facing since time memoriam. Since both sides have their own personal justification on what they ought to have, the government mainly is struggling in weighing rights against rights. When groups of “important” people face problems and inconveniences, they resort to the government to fix it for them. But then, individuals, commoners, in return would obtain difficulties if the government would decide for the benefit of those groups. So, which must prevail?
    Individual rights are mainly the rights of every human being. Everyone is given privileges to do what he must in order to get what he wants. Unfortunately, these rights are limited. Man is given limited access to what he can do. For example, there are those rights for the “privileged” only, which sometimes cause turmoil in the natural fairness of things. Giving rights especially only for those few would mean injustice to the whole. In which causes chaos, for example, rallies, strikes, and revolution.
    Group rights are like an “issuance of authority”; a privilege. Just like in the society of Marx, where class matters. Those of the ruling class were given benefits and advantages over those mediocre. The ruling class would earn more, and those of the lower class, mediocre, in return, would gain less. Thus, war was instigated.
    In considering these two, one must separately consider each side. And then, look at the big picture. Look and see which would improve the society and which would destroy it. Consider facts, situations and conditions. Most people judge things emotionally, in which he lets his heart decide over his mind, forgetting that there are two sides of this equation. He must consider the pros and cons before he make his final verdict. The judgment must not be biased. It should benefit everyone. For the government is there to promote and implement order. In which it must be available to everyone.
    In the readings of Marx and Engels, the only possible way to suppress this conflict is to create a commonality between the two. In which case, the class must be eliminated. All the “means of production” must be in possession of the government, thus, makes the citizens the owner of the “means of production”.

  5. CHELSEA KAMILLE F. FANDINOLA BS Biology (Sec. 2) said

    The issue between individual and group rights has been a never ending battle over the years. It is a major issue human rights is facing. Regardless, one should consider both individual and group rights. However, when a specific group in the society receives a more privileged treatment, the rights of the individuals not belonging in this group are being breached. Hence, this results to a conflict between the two. The concept of equality is being neglected. Some benefits more while others are being deprived. The conflict is that one is favored over the other.

    In order to solve this conflict, the society must construct a general will wherein different views of every individual are being considered for a common goal: what’s good for the society as whole. This is in connection with Rousseau’s perspective. The general will is considered to be the sovereign. It is the heart of Rousseau’s philosophy. According to him, it is not the will of the majority. But it is the will of every individual which he alone knows what’s good for him and the society.

    Rights should be equally given to every individual. Only then one can fairly judge on an issue without endangering the well being of a specific group or an individual. For me, individual rights should be prioritized because every member of each group also possesses it. Individual rights should be protected because every individual, considered to be the very foundation of the society, contributes for the development and betterment of the society as a whole.

  6. Quennie Minalete B. Distura - BA Psychology I said

    The tension between individual and group rights is very blatant in Canada alone. One example is in fishing. Indigenous fishermen are being deprived to engage in commercial harvest. This particular conflict is brought about by the Canadian system which excludes indigenous people from conservation rules and exempt tribes from the accountability rules that other groups must follow to water down the principle of equal citizenship. This can be associated to the context of Jean Jacques Rousseau about “man is born free but everywhere he is in chain” because conflicts emerged with the evolution of societies which promoted competition. May it be in civil, political, social, cultural or economic rights. For me, individual rights must be equal to group rights regardless of their advantages or disadvantages. Besides, group rights are influenced by individual rights. In this way, there will be no dominating or superior force. That is then the execution and practice of law becomes legitimate. Thus, the occurrence of conflicts and biases will be avoided for everyone is equal.

  7. Rona Lie Narida said

    In the society, we cannot deny the fact that conflict continually exists. People argue with another because of their difference in aims and principles they believe in. We cannot blame them because it is their belief but this struggle is the core of wars and clashes, which is the major problem in the world today. Once the government favors a regulation beneficiary to only a group of folks, individuals would interpret it as being unfair. As a solution, the society must have a general will. As what Mr. Rousseau said, the general will is not the desire of the largest part but rather the will of every individual either belonging to a group or not. This means, the general will is the desire for good of all.

    In my opinion, the government should give precedence to the group rights. I believe groups are formed because they have set their individual goals as one, because they knew that it would be more powerful that being alone. Yes, it is true. Once a person commits himself to a group, he becomes stronger because he knew there is a group who is willing to protect him and to stand up with him. Once the government focuses on the group rights, the individual rights are favored as well.

  8. Jonell Blancaver said

    I can’t blame the leaders of a society if they are having dilemma with this matter about individual and group rights. It is really a big question if a decision maker in a society would favor one side as there is no correct decision about this that would make EVERYONE happy. We can’t just go telling other people that they should take one side. It is a problem. This matter is really debatable and a good conclusion would never arrive. Why?
    A group having certain privileges because of a certain group right would of course stand to that side. Let us be realistic, of course a person would take a certain side if they get something good, and that’s the whole point why this is being debated by many people. Many societies are having trouble favoring one side because the poor leaders would get caught up between two opposing side, if the others don’t get what they want, they’ll blame the leaders and go tell others how unfair the treatment is. Others get some privilege and others would get the downside, so that’s it; that is the problem. Everyone is only talking about “what is in it for me?” or “what will I get with it?” Only a few people would think about the good for the whole society – and wait, thinking about the good of the society is still thinking about oneself, because a person can only conclude that a society is “good” if he gets to have privileges and things that make his life better. Therefore, thinking about what is good for you is the main problem of this conflict. I mean, this is natural as we are just human beings.
    There really is unfairness in the society, and that is another thing about being human. Sometimes others would be racist or sexist. They would just judge you instantly. One example in the article that really caught my attention was that guy named Khaled Said (Saeed). He was judged by the police and was beat up without even letting him voice out his side, and guess what, the police do not care as they already judged him. Let us face it, we are living in the unfair world, and we can’t just go murmuring about it. The death of Steve Jobs is a concrete example about unfairness. He died and 100 million cried, hundreds of millions died in Africa or in any other countries due to poverty and malnutrition, did anyone cry? Yes of course, their mothers did. But did 100 million people care? No, I don’t think so. It is because Steve Jobs had something for many people that made that “many people” cared for him. He gave jobs, make people rich, and make teenagers enjoy their apple ipod, and so on. Many fret of his death because of that, and no one would care if an African child died who didn’t contribute something to us for the betterment. People who gain privileges in a group rights are the ones who care because they have something in it, and I think my point is proven.
    As John Locke said, “human nature is characterized by reason and tolerance. Human nature allows men to be selfish”. It is in the human nature to be selfish; that is why we tolerate and reason out because there is something in it that is good for us. This is the problem of the society. The conflict of human rights exists because of people thinking about their privileges.

    • Jonell Blancaver said

      BACMS 1 TF 11:30 – 1:00 soc sci 2

    • Jonell Blancaver said

      And by the way, as being selfish and having a human nature, i would prefer individual rights because it has something in it for me. i haven’t got ideas yet about a certain group right that would give me privilege. until then, i would stick up with the individual rights

  9. Joshua L. Superio BS Biology (Sec.2) said

    Nowadays, many are having a hard time on what to prioritize, is it group rights over individual rights or the reverse. But sometimes group of people in our society receives a good treatment resulting damaged to those people doesn’t belonging to that particular group. When this happen, the right of the other group is being violated causing them to get angry to the people on the other group. In this case, there is no equality between groups. There is only conflict arising from the different sides.

    But based on Rousseau’s perspective, society should aim for the general will, where all the views of the people are considered. All people belonging to different groups should join hand in hand and aim for the common good, where all get benefits and there is no rights being stepped upon. There is equality among members. People should make the general will as their sovereign and the will of the majority. Everyone should know about their rights and they should know also what is good for them and the society.

    In my opinion, there should be no group rights or individual rights. In that way we can assure that all is fair and equal. There would be no group to oppress the rights of individual and vice versa. One should always think for the general win – for the common good and equality in everything that he will be doing. We should think about it because each person contributes to the development and improvement of the society. Everyone is essential for the society to keep existing.

  10. Maria Theresa P. Gane said

    There really is a conflict between individual rights and group rights in Canada. The conflict is that the government is giving special rights to indigenous groups. But according to the article, they’re having a hard time in weighing the demands and in getting the correct balance of both parties. I think it’s not wise for them to give indigenous groups special rights since that won’t solve the conflict between the two parties. Because if the government would only make laws in favour of only one party, that would definitely create chaos. For me, all men are equal, and therefore all men have equal rights. Thus, neither of the two parties should be prioritized.

  11. Joanna Patricia Angeli Lu said

    Group rights and individual rights has so many difference that there is definitely conflict between them. Group rights give benefit to more people, but not all of them. While individual rights only cause chaos because people are naturally bias, thus, they only choose what benefits them. Being bias makes the people selfish. When you only think of what is good for you, you wold not mind hurting others in the process. If all individuals do this, chaos would be everywhere and the society would not progress. This is the main reason why the government should prioritize group rights. Even if have group rights would not benefit all of the citizens, at least some would have a good outcome from it. Having a group of people with protected rights will make the society much better because they will then do what is good for the society. People may still argue about the rights of an individual, but those are just insignificant cries. The rights of a group is much more beneficial in a society because most companies work in groups. Hence, the more protected the rights of a group, the more they can give a better production for the society.

  12. Kevin G. Tamayo Section 2 said

    The conflict between the individual and group rights has been a very controversial aspect in the society and has not been provided with a solution which would finally end it. How could a solution be formulated if there is a complete disagreement and each favors its own side, not considering the other’s statements or notions. There really is a perceptible conflict due to the fact that if one of them is focused on more or given more priority, the other will be less significant and would not be given enough attention. I believe that Rousseau’s concept is applicable in the situation presented in the article. According to Rousseau, people should prescribe to a general will- summation of all individual wills, for their rights to be preserved and so that everyone will be under a single authority to which they have agreed upon. As a result, all individuals are subjected under a single authority where everyone is equal and posses the same rights which will then lead to the end of the group rights. This general will holds the laws which are good and well-fitted for all individuals in the society. In my opinion, the individual rights should be prioritized. This is mainly because what the general will preserves is the rights of the people as individuals in the society.

  13. Doreen Joy Sorolla said

    Doreen Joy Sorolla BS Biology I Section 8

    Group rights were granted to indigenous groups for the sake of cultural preservation and demonstration of support from the government. As pointed out in the article, the minorities in Canada were given fishing privileges in waters that are supposed to be under conservation. Obviously, other groups and fishermen would feel that it’s unfair. If the authorities were indeed concerned of helping the minority, then they should focus on the rights of individuals since an individual is the smallest form of minority.

    According to John Locke, every individual has these so-called inalienable rights. With this, then individual rights should be prioritized since these rights cannot be transferred or taken away. Group rights, on the other hand, are often just implemented by the authority for some reasons (which could be biased as influenced by some factors) that could bring privilege to this certain group.

  14. Ma. Victoria N. Nortiga said

    If some groups are given privileges, I affirm that individual rights are being infringed. We try to consider a whole pie as that of human rights and pie eaters as humans. If some slices are being reserved for some groups, those slices left are to be divided among the individuals who are excluded from the privileged group. Realizing that citizens are all given the right to use Earth’s resources and to involve themselves in fisheries programs as mentioned in the article, if some are being prioritized and some are not, then those rights of the latter some are being depraved.

    Considering Marx ideology, bourgeoisie and proletariats have both the freedom to trade but because bourgeoisie are more dominant and are privileged with lands, properties and alike, they gain more profits than that of proletariats. The more abundant the production is, the more is the earnings of the oppressor and lesser will be of the oppressed. The same is true with Human Rights, though everyone has the right but if some groups are given privileges, then they’ll be gaining more benefits than the others. The right which at the first place was expected to be fundamentally equal would be bias if this is the case.

    Marx solution to this struggle (bourgeoisie vs. proletariats) would be- to allow the proletariat to rule the state and nationalize property. If this would be applied to the recent conflict between group rights vs. individual rights, then it is to say that individual rights must be prioritized. If everyone has equal rights, then everyone is free to experiment and negotiate- privileges would be open for all and not just for some groups.

  15. Joefritz Varon said

    Group Rights vs. Individual Rights
    Presently, the issue of group rights versus individual rights has been hotly debated in the international democracies. Personally, I believe that the clash between collective and individual rights does exist. In relation to that, my stance is that I favor individual rights over the collective rights. In saying so, here are my grounds: First off, the laws and the constitution were founded on the basis of individual rights; foremost the laws should protect and preserve the rights of every individual over the group rights. For an instance, in the case of female genitalia mutilation (FMG) of some particular groups in Africa; when you are forcing girls to undergo the process without considering their innate individual right, which is the right to choose, then you are already violating their individual rights. We might say that it is of their traditions, still you are committing violation against the human rights and the rights of individual is still what really matters. For without the distinct members the group, the said group would not exist.
    Second off, according to Stelter in his article Group rights versus Individual rights the American Declaration of Independence says that the main goal of laws is to promote life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as the most essential rights of all individuals. Therefore, from this we can derive the idea that individual rights must prevail over group rights because the group only follows after the individual and the interests of the group are only the sum of individual interests and also whatever decisions that will be made that would affect the specific group has its most powerful impact to the members constituting it.
    Third off, all human were created equal and no matter what differences they have, they still possess same rights. So when we follow the collective rights of a group at the expense of individual rights thus it suggests that there is a denial of the equality just to conform to the norms of a group.

    Joefritz Varon
    TF (1:00pm -2:30pm)

  16. Grace Salve G. Ta-aca said

    It is said that one person cannot very well judge, or doesn’t have the right to judge somebody or something unless he is knowledgeable of what he is going to judge.

    Talking about individual rights versus group rights, I have noticed that wherever it is, especially in other countries, group rights are always given weight, being acknowledged and is more appealing than individual rights, because groups can easily catch attention compared to a mere individual. I agree with what Will Kymlicka had said because this situation really exists and people are aware and observing this, not to mention that some are experiencing this, so I can say that it is high time that this issue between individual rights and group rights must be settled.

    In my opinion, individual rights must be given priority over group rights in the sense that individuals comprise the group. When a group right will be given priority, there is a wider range of things to be considered such as the personality, intellectual capacity, individual differences and behavioral background of every individual composing the group.
    As conceptualized by Locke, every individual has his natural and inalienable right which cannot be taken away from him so I could say that individual rights should be prioritized first. – Grace S. G. T.

  17. Charlotte Antoinnette P. Salvaleon MTH 10:00-11:30 Sec. 8 said

    There will always be a conflict between both rights. The problem with group rights is that they favor some members more significant than the other as evident in the article. Even if you say that all members in that certain group works as one there will always be a danger that one thinks of himself more. Like what Hobbes said, the danger of private opinion, although you could say that your given fair rights in a group there is always a danger of thinking for your own good. Hobbes have also stated that human in nature is selfish therefore we could already conclude that individual rights is much better because we think more of ourselves; we are all selfish no matter what. Aside from that there are some groups that try to preserve their “cultural practices” therefore they are given rights to exercise this culture but what about the person involved in that “cultural practice”? Did he or she really want to preserve their culture; do they have no right to think of their own too? They have no choice but to follow certain practices because they have no right to act against it. Individual rights should be given more priority because being in a group is just chaotic.

  18. Argena Hera E. Anaquita said

    With the argument between individual rights and group rights I opt to choose individual rights. The issue between this two rights are highly prevalent in the present society bestowed in the article. The group rights discussed in the article are characterized by socio-cultural factors that affects the promulgation of laws resulting to inequality and biasness to people who cannot benefit from it. One of the example that wracked me most is the issue of fishermen in Canada wherein an indigenous group is given more territory and alloted time for fishing above others; this is a display of partiality and prejudice projected by the government, enjoyed by few and suffered by the majority. This is not what should be happening since man is equally equipped with inalienable rights.

    Inalienable rights, as attested by John Locke, are natural rights that cannot be taken away that protects every individual against oppression.
    Thus, this indicates that man must be equally treated in the society and this equality must be considered in passing laws and decrees. It is the duty of the government to make laws that preserves the right of every individual.

    As you think through individual rights in its totality you can see that these rights are applied to all and nobody in particular ensuing the equality that man should obtain.

  19. Mark John G. Girasol said

    It is not easy to declare an absolute judgment upon this. I must say there really is a conflict between whether it is allowable for a certain group of people to be exempted from a specific ordinance or should they also be committed even though it could bring them, to an extent, inconveniences for not being excluded from people who should abide it.

    The idea is so complex that the mere existence of it causes a lot of arguments. First is, it violates the maxim “no one is above the law”. There should be no exemption. Everyone is required to abide the law. Whether you are rich or poor, black or white, famous or not, you should follow it. It causes partiality and feeling of being unfair to people who try their best not to break it. Second thing is that, even though it could cause troubles and difficulties, like in the article above, to some instances like if both the little fishermen and big companies will be given equal rights on how they could avail products from the sea, then obviously, little fishermen will be left behind because in the first place, they are very inferior to those big companies, would they both still be given equal rights despite this?

    If I would base my judgment from Marx’s Communist Manifesto which states that, in order for the country to prosper, capitalism should be destroyed, that instead of the capitalists minding their own ways of producing different goods, they should, hand in hand, cooperate with each other, without any competition, the both groups should combine forces in order to manufacture as much number of sea products as possible. Instead of competing with each other, which implies the problems and conflicts of individual and group rights, they should merge, and this could be healthy to the state.

  20. Jessa Mariae Redome BA Psychology 1 said

    First, there should be no conflict between individual and group rights. They both might have valid premises but the individual rights are by far more important in a democracy such as France. And group rights should be as important as a group’s right if it is in the context of Canada, if we look at it in a bird’s eye view. Both of them are in a liberal democracy. But still it depends, for example, Hobbes’ Leviathan, in this philosopher, the group is not a factor in creating the society, individuals are. And to create that society, the individuals who formed that group, are the ones who must have the benefits from the Leviathan. Now, if we look at Marx, it’s a different story. The individual is a part of the group which creates the society. So group rights should benefit more.
    To solve it in a liberal way, we should look closer to Smith. The rights of the group nor the individual is not a point that matters. The fact that the state and its economy runs as good as it can get, its better. It does not matter whoever can get a benefit as long as the state functions well. Since we are looking closer at Smith, economies do not function as well if an individual is running the society, so it should be group rights.

  21. Joyce Maline T. Tumakay said

    As what Will Kymlicka , a canadian scholar in the article said, that individual rights can never be fully enjoyed without respect for religion, because cultures gives people a meaningful option”, which is also true for group rights, since group rights can never be practice if a particular individual tends to view things differently.
    The problem is about the fishing rights, which the Kw’aalams had a trouble of giving a portion of the property to other fishermen because they have been there for years, but it is not proper to deprive other fishermen of those property since they have had inhabited the place but it is not rightfully theirs and that people who wants to earn a living should have a property wherein they can earn something, suffice to say that not everyone in that particular place in Canada cannot enjoy their rights because of strong cultural ties of the Kw’aalams to property.

    In Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, which the majority will surrender their rights to someone who is capable of ruling the people and protect their rights, since people should have equal rights they should also have come in an agreement in a particular conflict, In the context of Kw’aalams and fishermen, the sovereign should therefore arrive at a decision that both parties should agree, that would not cross the rights of every individual and groups.

    We can never say that individual should be given priority over individual rights because they follow their culture, with the exception of barbaric rituals because they tend to harm their people endangering their health but, because these people tend to practice their freedom according to what they have been used to, and the duty of the government is to make sure that these are given the right to choose what they really want considering other groups and arrive on an agreement that would be practiced by all.

  22. Christine Anne D. Espeja said

    Man has reason and are equal because of this, there is neither right nor wrong or has better reason than others since man are equal, thus creating inconveniences.

    Group rights are associated with the socio-cultural aspect of the society specifically the preservation of their culture. The arguments about culture and even religion have replaced older ones over economics and class. But still, the government should consider what is best for all since man are equal, even though they have different aborigines.

    Individual rights on the other hand, talked about what is best for man himself. But people in a state have different needs and different perspectives of what is best for them.

    To solve the conflict, since, people have rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property as what Locke explained, a social contract was made where people in the state of nature entrust some of their rights to the government in order to attain stability and comfortable life. The role of the government is to preserve both rights since man are basically equal. There should be clear law, impartial judge and a strong executive to lessen these inconveniences.

  23. Danica P. Tan said

    Issues between individual rights and group rights are undeniably one of the main problems of our society today. For me, this problem could be solve if there is equality for each individual, but how can equality exist when there is always a winning and a losing side? After reading this article, I could say that Rousseau’s general will would be a very suitable solution for this dilemma. General will according to Rousseau is where people voluntarily transfer their personal rights to the community in return for security of life and property and because of this, all the people will be subjected under an authority that will give them equality in their possession of rights. So in here, I could say that general will would not only be favorable for the desire of an individual but rather for the good of all. For me, individual rights should be equal to the group rights. In this way there will be no oppressed and oppressor system and also there be no win and lose situation but rather a win-win situation.

  24. Ashley Pineda said

    According to Locke, we all have inalienable rights that we should preserve. The government is only there to guide the members of the society to practice their rights effectively. Based on the article, the issue between the individual and group rights for me, is biased. The society is composed of members that may have common interests and that they form a group. If this group is given favor than that of an individual,wouldn’t it be unfair? Group rights should be given less importance since groups are formed with the members sharing the same interests and individual rights. Without groups, there would be no conflict in equal rights.

  25. Anna Gabriell Balan said

    Group rights as described in the article are mainly focused on the rights of a minority and not the majority. Basing on this definition, there is indeed a conflict between group rights and individual rights. The conflict would be about the context of who will the government follow when it comes observing rights, the minority or the individuals? In the article, it is obvious that there is indeed a conflict among the rights of the individual and the minority because the minority wants to have special rights as compared to individuals. Furthermore, there will be conflicts when it comes to different aspects such as religion and cultural. beliefs. John Locke claimed that men have equal rights to life, liberty, and property which are now reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Locke also added that some of these individual rights are given to the government for the assurance of the people’s enjoyment of their rights through the social contract wherein the government is expected to promote public good. Looking at Locke’s perspective, I can say that individual rights must be given priority over group rights since promoting the group rights in this context would mean that the government has a bias outlook towards a certain group of people. This is not an example of a promotion of the public good but rather “good” for a certain group of people. Where’s the equality in favouring a certain minority? What the government must look at is the promotion of equal rights of the people since the people entrusted their rights to the government if we follow the social contract theory. In addition, since Canada and France are both part of the “Western World”, their values would be biased toward the rights of the individual wherein the government would think of the welfare of an individual first rather than the group. Not like in Asian values, wherein it’s okay to sacrifice the rights of the individual for the betterment of the majority.

  26. kea florentino said

    The issue on group and individual rights on which is to be given more priority has been long argue among modern democracies around the world. When one is given priority the other is compromised and equality is now an issue. The problem with individual rights is that one’s desire to gain more for himself will always get in the way of what is truly right thus gaining more advantage for his own interest.
    thus the solution for this according to Rousseau is to form a social contract in which general will is used. General will is the true interest of what everyone wants whether they realize it or not. it is what is good for all and not only for an individual’s benefit by doing so everyone is equal under the general will. Thus society is united by the general will which is for the good of all, its a win win for everyone, no one is gains more than the other because they are all under the same social contract. Therefore group rights must be given priority.

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