Constructionists are those individuals who believe that society should be guided by the rule of law. They believe in adherence to written down regulations and they also oppose acting in contravention to the law even when the situation seems controversial. The liberal individual on the other hand, is that person who advocates for change or who seems to be forward looking. Liberals tend to oppose the status quo and may be comfortable with instability for the pursuit of freedom. Description of liberal constructionist view of the origin of human rights
Liberal constructionists tend to look for a go – between the liberal school of thought and the constructionist school of thought when relating it to human rights. In other words, they strongly believe that it is possible to respect human right but be constrained in this process. These adherents assert that issues such as education and other human developmental necessities are critical in promoting dignity among individuals and also in promotion of productive and creative societies. This also implies that the state needs to adopt a wider role as opposed to other schools of thought.
Liberal constructionists claim that in order to guarantee human rights, and then there should be adequate guarantees of social system checks and civil liberties. Also, it supports the notion that there should be even balances on pluralistic society and independent press. (Anleu, 1999) In the political realm, liberal constructionists adhere to the belief that society and the law are grounded on the individual. Consequently, all the institutions put forward are in existence so as to pursue individual’s interests.
This also means that citizens have the right to create the law but also abide by them and precedence should be given to this principle rather than on the social rank of particular individual. The liberal constructionist school of thought is also governed by the justification of government intervention. According to these adherents, human rights must be such they prevent harm to others. This is actually the only justification for imposing power upon individuals. In other words, governments or higher authorities have no right to interfere in the freedom of others for moral justifications.
The minimal interferences must be written down in the law of the land and this is actually the reason why liberal constructionists believe in legalizing gay marriages, legalizing cannabis sativa, gambling or other controversial social issues such as abortion. According to them, since these activities do not cause harm to others, then they need to be recognized as human rights and as such must be protected. Criticisms of the liberal constructionist school of thought There are a number of controversies that emerge in this view when one examines human rights and freedoms.
For example, in economic liberal constructionist thought, there is the belief in allowing market forces to determine the overall outcome of a particular market choice. Consequently, liberal constructionists would like the government to legitimize the rules and duties of other players in the market through the constitution. However, this can create a number of contradictions because by including these obligations in the law, then the government would be interfering in individual human rights. However, without legitimizing these obligations in the law, then there would be some room for abuse of human rights through lack of fair play.
Besides this, the liberal constructionist school of thought puts itself in a position where it could interfere in human rights by minimizing state involvement in critical areas such as security. The latter school of thought advocates for free market forces even in this area yet state involvement may be a positive there. (Zakartia, 2003) The liberal constructionist school of thought like many other views on human freedom has two major challenges that it seeks to tackle and these are; • Social equality • Economic freedom
The merger of these two entities have been the subject of controversy and debate in almost all views on human rights and the liberal constructionist school of thought is no exception. Some proponents claim that a law that grants equal rights to every human being would be useless. This is largely because if the poor are allowed to forego their debts as a result of the pursuit of ‘freedom’, then the justice systems will be at the mercy of the wealthy in society. Another school of thought that rejects the liberal constructionist view is the collectivist one.
According to these adherents, liberal constructionists have eliminated moral ideas that may be described as real and have replaced them with abstract ideologies. According to the latter critics, liberal constructionists have undermined the issue of self control and the pursuance of moral rights. They claim that without the moral imperative in society, then it becomes very difficult to understand the true meaning of freedoms and this eventually undermines human rights. (Weeramantry, 2004) Other critics claim that the liberal school of thought encourages or overemphasizes selfish pursuits rather than collective tendencies.
These critics put forward the notion that individual human rights can be protected even with the return to collectivist tendencies. Besides these, critics also claim that liberal constructionist thoughts have been applied sparingly in different arenas. Extreme cases are almost never present. Consequently, many have questioned where there is actual real meaning in this view because no institution or entity actually applies it wholesomely. Conclusion Liberal constructionists claim that laws should be adhered to while at the same time minimizing interference in individual human rights.
However, this view creates controversies because there are certain areas that do not have state interference. Additionally, the view places so much emphasis on self interests and looks down upon collective good.
References Anleu, S. (1999): Sociologists confront human rights; Journal of sociology, 35, 12, 48 Zakartia, F. (2003): Illiberal Democracy; Foreign Affairs Journal, 76, 6, 13 Weeramantry, J. (2004): Justice without frontiers – furthering human rights; Distributive Justice Journal, 2, 17, 88