O’Neill maintains that so-called positive rights like the right to food are different in kind from so-called negative rights like the right to personal security. The former require some conventional assignment of obligations in order to meet the definition of a claim right while the latter do not.** A claim right is, by definition, a right that logically entails another person’s obligation.
Shue denies that this is a genuine distinction. All of the basic human rights require some conventional assignment of obligations in order to be genuinely protected. O’Neill’s logical point is, in his opinion, irrelevant in the real world.
We had a spirited discussion of a wide variety of issues that your loyal correspondent will not attempt to replicate. He would like to add that he was impressed by the combination of deeply held views and orderly exchange of arguments. You all speak well but, more importantly, you listen well too.