Hergest, you are not Sharing the Bed, says the Owner. We have to Establish a Principle.
But I have always been allowed on the Bed, I say. We have established this as a Principle and a Right. You cannot Retrospectively Limit the Rights the Moral Dog has been Granted. This would be Totalitarianism.
It is not Totalitarianism, says the Owner. The Right exists only when you are Clean. And it is not a Right anyway, it is a Privilege.
That is what a Totalitarian would say, I say. Rights are the Fundamental Normative Rules of a Moral Community, I say. Jack Donnelly sees rights as social practices granted by the Moral Community in which they are recognised, I say. The Moral Community in which we reside has recognised the Moral Dog’s right to be treated as a Moral Being, so his Rights may be claimed in all circumstances, I say.
That is not true of All Rights, says the Owner. Rights are Complex. Whilst some Philosophers argue that Natural Rights may apply to All Moral Beings without caveat, others point out that Liberty Rights apply only as long as the Freedoms of Others are not breached. Liberty Rights are therefore better thought of as Privileges.
You and the Man are occupying less than a third of the surface area of the Bed, I say. Your Freedoms are Totally Intact. You are, on the Other Hand, breaching my Liberty by refusing me the Freedom of the rest of it, and you have absolutely no Moral Reason to do so.
On the contrary, the Moral Dog has foregone his own Liberty, says the Owner, since he has been Wallowing in a Bog and has refused to be hosed down. He is therefore experiencing withdrawal of a Privilege as a result of Choices he has Morally Made. If he would like to step into the shower the Privilege could be restored, contingent on satisfactory inspection
I cannot believe, I say, that you would Oppress your Moral Dog because of a little Mud. I am the same Moral Dog underneath, I say. My heart and soul are those of your Moral Dog, I say. How can a little Mud be considered Morally Relevant to the Moral Nature of the Moral Dog? How can the Moral Dog be so Morally Demeaned as to be Rendered Non-Moral by a little Mud? I declaim this speech with some panache, as I am channelling Dreyfus.
That is a Very Good Speech, says the Owner, and you sound suspiciously like Dreyfus, but is not the Moral Dog I am oppressing, but the Mud.
The legal philosopher Matthew Kramer says that you cannot remove the Rights from a Right holder for a reason that is not in itself Morally Relevant, I say. Mud cannot possibly be Morally Relevant.
It jolly well can, says the Owner, if it is all over the Man.
That is a Moot Point, I say.
It is not totally Moot, says the Man, since all the time you have been arguing That Dog has been On the Bed.
I know, says the Owner. But we had to establish the Principle, that the Moral Dog could not be on the Bed whilst he was Covered in Mud.
I am not covered in Mud now, I say.
That is because the Mud has come off him and all over me, says the Man.
The Owner looks at the Man.
I cannot believe it, says the Man.
It seems the Liberty Rights of the Man now suggest that he is not allowed on the Bed until he goes in the Shower. This makes lots more Space and the evening ends Satisfactorily, from the Point of View of both Rights and Privileges.
The Moral dog, available for Consultation on Rights Dilemmas, however Complex.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.