Re: Elevators and exclusions
From: Brian Bartholomew (
Date: Fri, 9 May 2008 13:33:29 -0700 (PDT)

        A privilege -- etymologically "private law" or law relating to
        a specific individual -- is a special entitlement or immunity
        granted by a government or other authority to a restricted
        group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. A privilege
        can be revoked in some cases. In modern democracies, a
        privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By
        contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held
        by all citizens or all human beings from birth. [...]

        In a broader sense, 'privilege' can refer to special powers or
        'de facto' immunities held as a consequence of political power
        or wealth. Privilege of this sort may be transmitted by birth
        into a privileged class or achieved through individual
        actions. Compare elite.

        One of the objectives of the French Revolution was the
        abolition of privilege. This meant the removal of separate
        laws for different social classes (nobility, clergy and
        ordinary people), instead subjecting everyone to the same
        common law. Privileges were abolished by the National
        Constituent Assembly on August 4, 1789.

As I read this definition, the Americans with Disabilities Act is a
privilege, and the full use of all four limbs is not a privilege.

Could it be that "privilege" is not an accurate term to describe being
able-bodied?  And since being able-bodied is not a privilege, the
social justice rage is misapplied?


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