Thursday, June 05, 2008

Vampire Rights

John Schaff and Jonah Goldberg ask, Do Vampires Have Rights? (ht)

Goldberg, I think, is wrong, even confining matters to natural law: all who are rational have rights, just as they all have responsibilities. Schaff, I think, is wrong about Buffy; due process is a civil right, requiring a shared civil institution. The pre-civil natural right on which it is based is simply whatever justice itself requires; and the situation is more like people fighting off Viking raiders than like summary execution of a fellow citizen.

As for whether demonic entities like vampires, were they members of our society, should have due process I think the right answer is stated nicely here:

Basic natural rights are not merited; God's sun shines on the wicked and just alike. (I don't think that they would help a vampire any. They have a right to be treated justly, and not to be killed unjustly, and so forth, but how is any of that going to help a thoroughly unjust vampire?) And civil rights we give not because people are angels but because they are very far from it.

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