Difference Between Right and Privilege
29 SEP 2017
Although the terms "right" and "privilege" are easy to define, differences of opinion still remain as to whether something should be considered a right or a privilege. Additionally, rights and privileges are sometimes in conflict.
The Free Dictionary.com defines a right as "something that is due to a person or governmental body by law, tradition, or nature." The pursuit of happiness, for example, is a right defined by human nature.
According to The Free Dictionary.com, a privilege is "a special benefit, exemption from a duty, or immunity from penalty, given to a particular person, a group or a class of people."
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution upholds the right of the people to peacefully assemble on public property. Assembling on private property is a privilege that is granted by property owners.
At times, rights conflict with granted privileges. State implied-consent laws for example, require that a motorist consent to chemical testing if requested by a police officer, thus conflicting with the driver's right against self-incrimination.
In spite of understandable definitions, it is not always easy to differentiate between rights and privileges. Should access to health care, for example, be considered as a right or a privilege?