What are human rights?
André explains Abraham Kuyper’s “sphere sovereignty” concept, which offers a helpful paradigm for thinking about our society and our place in it. The notion of “sphere sovereignty” recognizes that institutions like the church and the family are distinct from the state, with their own authority and jurisdictions. Historically, a free academy and a free press have also been independent from the state. This institutional pluralism needs to be respected in order to allow freedom for everyone, including non-religious individuals.
André observes that the idea of human rights today is often understood as non-discrimination, perhaps because our provincial human rights codes focus narrowly on certain types of discrimination in certain economic settings. The problem is that this creates a false dichotomy between what is perceived as a human right versus a fundamental freedom. In reality, our fundamental freedoms are human rights! They speak to the core of what is to be human: to have agency, to make decisions about right and wrong, to be rational and embodied and relational.
Freedom involves responsibility; when the administrative state takes over the responsibilities once held by individuals and communities, freedom is lost. André also notes the hypocrisy inherent in the “diversity, inclusion, and equity” mindset, which is generally not welcoming to people with different ideas. As a result, some people’s rights may be ignored in favour of other rights which are more progressive.
At a time when the “progressive” identity politics has taken over the public narrative, this conversation reminds us to step back and re-evaluate what is happening right in front of us. Are we seeing what is going on? If we are, we must get involved in the national conversation.
Please note the views expressed by the individual(s) in this video are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views or principles of the First Freedoms Foundation.