So I came across this post on Justice E.R. and it got me thinking. Most, if not all, of them sound like nice things to aspire to in an ideal society--though I'm not sure they should count as unalienable rights. I'm particulary confounded by rights #5 (Equal pay for equal work) and #6 (A just and adequate wage to provide for the worker and his/her family an existence with human dignity). Might these rights contradict each other? While I do believe that two people doing the same work ought to recieve the same compensation regardless of their age, gender, race, or even their level of education or experience. And I'd add to that--their pay should be the same regardless of their familial obligations. Why should my coworker earn more than me for the same work simply because they have a family to support and I do not? Does my employer have some obligation to give me a raise simply because I get married and have kids? Or does the responsiblity lie with me to seek out adequate employment before embarking on building a family?

I've just always believed very strongly in the value of personal responsibility. As a graduate student, I'm not exactly racking in the dough. I get by, but I don't see how I could support a family on my stipend (although amazingly, there are some grad students who do). Therefore, I'm not starting a family and I have no intention of doing so until I'm financially ready (and ready in all other ways as well). Starting a family is not something that just happens--it's a choice we all make and should not take lightly. I don't expect anyone to pick up my tab and I don't want do have to do the same for anyone else.

That being said, the one sticking point in all this is the children. I can't bring myself to hold children responsible for the sins of the father. So I do believe we have to have some sort of safety net for the offspring of irresponsible parents. But I also think it dangerous to foster a society that depends on such a safety net to get by--and I fear this "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" may do just that. I prefer to stick with our own Bill of Rights which is written not in terms of what I am entitled to, but in terms of what the government cannot do.