Positive vs. Negative Rights

What are rights? What do rights do for us in society?

Positive Rights

  • Rights are principles that give the capacity to perform activities generally within the confines of social norms, legal systems, and moral code. These rights are known as positive rights.

Negative Rights

  • While positive rights give someone the power or capacity to perform, there are also rights persons entitled to which require us not to perform a task or activity that would lessen the quality of human experience. These rights are known as negative rights.

Example: Voting

In many countries, citizens receive the right to vote or not. However, in some countries, voting is a mandatory procedure; in which case, the citizen would only be entitled to the positive right of voting.



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Stephen Ngao

Stephen Ngao

Aspiring entrepreneur in love with music, film, finance, and tech. Carpe diem!