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A right is something a person has which people think should not be taken away. It is a rule about what a person is allowed to do or have. A right is different from a privilege, which is something that must be earned.
Rights may be put into laws, so they have legal protection. But a right can exist where most people think it is good (just).
- Many think people have a "right to life". That means that if one person kills another, the killer would be taking away the victim's "right to life". It also means life should be preserved (guarded) when it is threatened in other ways.
- People may also have a "right to property". It means they can own property. It also means people should not steal things from each other.
- In many countries people have a "right to free speech", which means other people should not stop them from speaking their opinions. Some countries have laws which allow newspapers and television to give opinions. They can speak against their government if they wish to.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. July 9, 2007. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rights/. Retrieved 2009-12-21. "Rights dominate most modern understandings of what actions are proper and which institutions are just. Rights structure the forms of our governments, the contents of our laws, and the shape of morality as we perceive it. To accept a set of rights is to approve a distribution of freedom and authority, and so to endorse a certain view of what may, must, and must not be done.".
- Civil and political rights
- Constitutional economics
- Human rights
- Rule of law
- Natural rights