Most countries around the world agree on two basic rights: the right to life and the right to liberty. Outside of these most basic human rights, what else do we deserve? And do human rights apply to animals as well? The ethics system of Universality seeks to answer these questions. Not only should human rights be increased worldwide, but we must also make an effort to improve the lives of the animals that we share this planet with. Whether it is a human or an animal, the suffering and pain of a living thing is unnecessary. Universality works to acknowledge the equality of humans, the similarities between sentient creatures, the capability of suffering, and works to improve all animal lives, both human and non-human.
Universality looks to expand upon the basic rights such as free speech, privacy, a fair trial, freedom of religion, and the right to one's own body and life. In addition, equality for all in education, work, voting, rights, pay, and marriage. Depriving someone of rights due to their race, age, socioeconomic class, sex, gender, disability, and sexual orientation is morally unethical and discriminatory. It is vital for one to look beyond these differences and treat their fellow human equally. Political rights such as voluntary voting and the ability to check and balance the government are also imperative. The ability to vote voluntarily gives people a voice in and help curtail the government. Voting also allows people who want to “choose how much liberty, equality, and justice they seek” (Arora 90) through the election of government officials who share similar ideas. It is also important to remember that human and civil rights are unenumerated and fluid, and should always be so.
The thriving welfare states of Northern Europe serve as important role models for the rest of the world when it comes to rights. While the tax rate in these countries is high enough to make the average American blush, the countries pay it back to the citizens through an elaborate social-welfare system. For example, the Nordic Model found in Scandinavia provides expansive civil rights, a firm safety net for all citizens, universal healthcare and free compulsory education. These nations take the “Head Start programs, education and job training, subsidized healthcare and house” (Arora 88) found in the United States to new levels. Many of these European nations are considered the most progressive in the world. The Netherlands, for example, became the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage and Belgium soon followed. Finland was the third country after New Zealand and Australia to grant women's suffrage, fourteen years before the United States. Northern Europe has made leaps and bounds over many countries when it comes to human rights, but there is always room to grow.
How do we improve, however? One way would be to cut out needless human suffering. While disease and illness will never be eradicated completely, terminally ill patients should be given the option...