The Rights RevolutionMichael Ignatieff
Since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, human rights have become the dominant language of the public good around the globe. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Canada. The long-standing fights for aboriginal rights, the linguistic heritage of French-speaking Canadians, and same-sex marriage have steered the country into a full-blown “rights revolution” — one that is being watched carefully around the world. Are group rights jeopardizing individual rights? When everyone asserts his or her rights, what happens to collective responsibility? Can families survive and prosper when each member has rights? Is rights language empowering individuals while weakening community? These essays, taken from Michael Ignatieff’s famous Massey Lectures, addresses these questions and more, arguing passionately for the Canadian approach to rights that emphasizes deliberation rather than confrontation, compromise rather than violence. In a new afterword, the author explores Canada’s political achievements and distinctive stance on rights, and offers penetrating commentary on more recent world events.
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