Devon, PA. In his latest Public Discourse essay, the always compelling R.J. Snell offers his analysis of the pullulation of rights discourse in the modern West. One suspects that anyone capable of asserting –and Snell’s point is that all rights talk now boils down to mere assertion of will — again, anyone capable of asserting a “right to sexual pleasure” has long since given up thinking about everything else so fervid has he become for this legal apotheosis. Here is just a pair of paragraphs from Snell’s incisive argument:
The story of Adam’s recognition profoundly bears the truth of human reality. We are meant to be with and for each other, but find ourselves with a distorted politics of recognition. Having refused the moral foundation—and limits—of substantial equality, we lack grounds to recognize the equality of the other. Rights proliferate precisely as they lose their grounding and meaning. No longer able to recognize the other as equal in substance, we instead look at the other without recognition—they are strangers, alien. We claim purely indeterminate freedom for ourselves, but such freedom is possible only on the condition that the stranger recognizes our indeterminacy and leaves us alone. In other words, rather than beginning with the recognition of similarity in substantial equality, we instead define our rights as our wish to be ignored and left alone in solitary freedom, a freedom denying our nature as relational and hospitable to others.
If we stopped here we might simply have a society of persons politely ignoring each other, but as we are well aware this is not the case. The IPPF asks for something rather more than to be left alone. It aggressively claims that the rights it identifies must be respected, protected, and fulfilled, and it further stipulates that such actions require defense against religion. Rather than simply demanding to be left alone, the new sexual inversion demands recognition, even when there are no grounds for this recognition.