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That all this was done to defend some metaphysical rights merely confirmed the evil ways to which rationalist passion led when free from the counterweight of experience and common sense.(published in 1790), but he dedicated the rest of his life to combating Jacobinism, a combat which ended by uniting all the initial utilitarian critics, Bentham among them, appalled by the bloodcurdling spectacle offered by all France, and above all, by Paris: maddened crowds cheering on to their death carts full of people, a democracy reduced to a parliament led by demagogues devouring each other, the refinement of techniques of totalitarian control of the population through political and police terror, which would later be Lenin’s inspiration: the law of the strongest under the banner of Reason.
Ce texte présente un épisode de l’histoire des droits.
Ils s’intéressent aux droits en général, à tous les droits, mais plus particulièrement aux droits méta-juridiques, antérieurs à la loi positive.
In legal-political theory, in Bentham’s time, human rights were not spoken of. This expression fell out of use, to be replaced by “human rights”, still employed today, precisely to try to overcome the criticism led by Bentham. Those rights of man, as distinct from the rights of the citizen, are the lexical predecessor of our human rights. Human rights, then, are the result of a metamorphosis suffered by natural rights.
Human rights are not the same as natural rights, but they originate from and owe some of their characteristics to them.
For Bentham, rights and duties were two sides of the same coin, and both possibilities are equivalents from the logical point of view, but not so from the human or political.
Logically, a right is nothing but a duty considered from the standpoint of the subject who is benefited by it; conversely, a duty is nothing but a right looked at from the subject who must satisfy it.
Cette approche historique est d’autant plus pertinente qu’elle montre de façon concentrée les étapes importantes de l’évolution de la pensée juridique à propos de cette question, et du concept même de droit dans la Modernité.
Le point de départ se situe dans la critique des droits naturels qu’effectuent Jeremy Bentham et James Mill.
The work was In 1863, John Stuart Mill, the true heir of Benthamite utilitarianism, raised those rights from the dead, rights that since then have enjoyed rude health, despite the occasional crisis.
More than in any other of his works, in Utilitarianism, published at that date, what he would call “moral rights” were revived, as the resurrection of a rejected idea.