Life Without Rights
Human Rights or Neighborly Love
The topic of the book is the focus on rights, which has spread like wildfire above all in the Western part of the world since the Second World War and the impact this way of thinking has had on how we see our fellow human beings. The author sees rights focused thinking and neighborly love as opposites and does not think that the two are compatible. They are mutually exclusive.
In other words a different way of thinking is called for, and this applies to all the things that we human beings feel we are entitled to and claim, starting with The Declaration of Human Rights and continuing to the right to a roof over one’s head; throughout the chapters of the book the author argues that we human beings do not have any rights at all, and how we instead have to take a closer look at the parts of rights focused thinking that might be justified. What is the interface of human rights and compassion?
The various topics are introduced to the reader by a fairytale or a story, which is meant to make the reader reflect on the problem before meeting the author’s point of view the same way Jesus made his followers think about a problem by means of parables. What is a human right? How can we tell whether a proposed human right is really one? How do we establish the content of particular human rights and how do we prevent such rights from harming human relations?
These are questions that the author tries to answer.
REVIEWS and WORDS OF PRAISE
By employing stories from literature all over the world the Danish priest and author Birgit Berggrensson dares to question the entitlement of human rights – and whether they are always to be seen as an advantage. Aiming for new reflections without lecturing this controversial book reminds us of the values of Christian charity as a means of respect and understanding instead of mindless insisting on rights.
--Rikke Franch, Author, Denmark
Have just finished reading the book. My first comment is Wow! What a marvelous storyteller you are. Your method of including fairytales and draw a picture based on them is a brilliant idea. The linking of stories and the bible to present day scenarios--I am speechless. You have to write more books.
--Christine Crispell Maarlund, Case Officer, former bookseller, Denmark
What a relief it was to read – and a very expressive title it is, too - how you turn around individual claims on various arrogated so-called rights and instead see them as frames offered by society in order that we may all do our best for our fellow human beings. You ought to publish an appendix with your version of the Declaration of Human Rights; your treatment of the subject deserves that. It has been a pleasure to read a message with the enormous energy that your treatment of the subject holds. So – thank you for a rewarding reading experience!
--Carina Buchard, Attorney of Law, Denmark
About the Author
Birgit Berggrensson grew up in a Scandinavian welfare society where most things were free and no one was poor, and she learned that the more welfare was introduced by the state and the more human rights were fulfilled, the more people demanded – none of it made anybody happy. During the many years she worked as a business college professor and now in her work as an ordained Lutheran pastor – and as a mother of three sons – her teaching is that true happiness is achieved, only when you take responsibility for your own life and put your fellow human being first. In her book her aim is to illustrate just how much harm the growing demand for rights is doing, and it is her hope to bring this topic up for discussion in as many circles as possible. She holds an MA in Theology from the University of Copenhagen and an MA in English and German from Copenhagen Business School. She has studied at the University in Heidelberg, Germany and at Wheaton College, Mass. USA, and was a lecturer and head of department for International studies at Niels Brock Business College 1980 until 2003, as well as the Resident Twinning Advisor for EU projects in Hungary and Croatia 1991-2004.