That fundamental, conceptual opposition between the individual and the collective is the great contradiction at the heart of Liberal Humanism – a belief system that aims to protect and promote the inalienable rights of the individual and yet must over-rule those rights and impose the collective will in the service of an approximate aggregate of Liberty, Equality and Community.
We believe our societies are virtuous because they encourage a selfless generosity, even though we all fail to enact this. At the same time, by granting us inalienable rights, societies appeal to our sense of self-interest. The implication is that we will each, in our turn, benefit from the selfless generosity of others.
However, we accept that we can’t live up to these principles, so, in practice, what we call “inalienable human rights” aren’t guarantees of safety and respect, or protections from harm, they are opportunities to complain, and feel self-righteously aggrieved, after we have been wronged. And, if we’re lucky, to extract a destructive REVENGE, which reassures us that we have regained agency and power after they were taken from us.