Rights, Law and Political Community (Lockwood O’Donovan, 2003)

Most citizens of this country and of other advanced western and westernizing nations approve of human rights, some more guardedly than others; and most perceive rights to belong to the moral, political and legal fabric of modern liberal democracy. By rights, I mean rights attributable to subjects, to persons, whether individual or collective ‘persons’. To suggest that rights, freedom, and democracy go together (as does the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which has been the template for subsequent generations of declarations) is a modern truism, which, like most truisms, is largely true. Less clearly perceived, I think, is the extent to which human rights and democracy are bound up with liberal economics and free-market capitalism.