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In Why This Way, we avoid talking about rights, like human rights or legal rights, without specifying a frame of reference. For example, governments and legal systems may define legal rights, and the United Nation defines a list of human rights, and different political groups advocate for sometimes competing or conflicting rights. Because Why This Way includes people with different political views, religious beliefs, and national origins, there is no universal framework for rights in the group, and discussion that centers around rights can become clouded or problematic.

Instead of framing things within a framework of rights, we frame our views in terms of a healthy state, described in our beliefs. This state encompasses or addresses some things that are normally thought of as basic rights, but in a somewhat different way. For example, instead of saying that people have a right to basic needs like food, shelter, safety, we say that in a healthy state, people feel that their basic needs are met. We also use the framework of consent to discuss or assess various situations: most situations in which most of the common legal rights or generally-agreed-upon human rights are being violated involve a situation in which a person is being somehow coerced or forced into a situation without their consent.

Rights and should statements

When rights are viewed as universal, they can become equivalent to or tied to should statements, which violate our rules of communication. For example, the idea that a person has a right to something can be seen as being equivalent to "a person should be able to do something".