I'm not sure why but I'm still trying to get the Guardian to publish a correction about Jeremy Bentham. (For previous entries, see here and here.) Soon after sending the last email, I got a reply from Ian Mayes to say he'd been away, didn't know why it hadn't been dealt with, and he'd chase it up. I wrote back:
On reflection, while I still stand by the second point, conventional wisdom has it that everything Bentham thought, wrote and said was predicated on the 'greatest happiness principle' (even when the evidence, such as the 'nonsense on stilts' essay, suggests otherwise). So Dworkin will reject that criticism, and I am willing to let it go. The first point, however, is more clear-cut, and I'd be surprised if he disputed it. If he does, please allow me a reponse. Then, I'd leave it up to you, or to whomever, to adjudicate.
That was ten days ago. Since then, nothing. So this morning I gave it another go.
I'm still waiting for Ronald Dworkin's misstatement about Jeremy Bentham to be corrected. Why the delay?
Bentham did not say that the whole idea of 'human rights' was nonsense upon stilts. 'Natural rights' and 'human rights' are related but the terms refer to different ideas. The latter is normally understood to mean the regime of rights codified in the Universal Declaration of HR and its successors, including the European Convention. Throughout his column, Dworkin was using 'human rights' in this modern sense. As Bentham died in 1832, it's not right to say he had a view on 'human rights'.
I'd appreciate a reply before too long.
The plaintive 'before too long' indicates that I'm losing the will to live over this.