Libertarianism Explained: What Are Rights? – Learn Liberty
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Libertarianism Explained: What Are Rights? – Learn Liberty


What are natural rights? Well what are rights
in the first place? Most generally, rights are moral concepts that establish the conditions
within which we interact. When we say you can’t do that, we might mean that it’s
literally impossible to do it, but we might also mean simply that to do it would be wrong.
When we invoke rights, we’re insisting on a certain kind of interaction not because
another kind is impossible but because another kind would be wrong. That’s why we can speak
of violating someone’s rights. You can’t make a round square means it can’t be done.
You can’t kill Fred means it would be wrong to do it. But do we have natural rights? By
nature we have spleens. If you cut me open you would find my spleen, but you wouldn’t
find any of my rights. So let’s see if we can figure out what natural rights might be. If you watch any TV at all, you probably know
that you have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during questioning—but
not if you live in North Korea. The famous right to remain silent is a legal right. It’s
a feature of the legal system we happen to have. People in other countries may or may
not have the right to an attorney. Similarly, if you’re 18 you have the right to vote
but not if you were 18 in the 1960s. In 1971 the Constitution was amended to extend voting
rights to 18-year-olds who had previously not enjoyed that right. A few years later,
18–year-olds lost the right to drink beer. These are examples of legal rights or constitutional
rights. We have whatever legal rights the lawmakers
say we have, and they can change at any time. But the Declaration of Independence refers
to inalienable rights. Those aren’t the sort of things that can change. Are there
any such things? Because we get legal rights from the lawmakers, people sometimes make
the mistake of saying that rights come from the government. But when the American colonists
declared independence from Britain they got rid of their government. Did that mean that
they no longer had rights? Nope. That’s the whole point. They thought they had rights
that didn’t come from the government. Although constitutional rights are products
of constitutions, the rebellious colonists thought that the right to live and be free
was a right that we had by nature and the point of even having a government at all was
to protect those rights, protecting rights we already have. This is the essence of classical liberalism
and the revolutions it inspired. In the old days, people claimed that kings ruled by divine
authority, so the king’s rule was natural. Rights were permissions from the king, an
artificial construct. To the classical liberal way of thinking, the right to live and be
free is natural, and governments are artificial—institutions created to help protect or enforce those rights.
So it turns the old model completely around, literally a revolution. But why should we think there’s a natural
right to live and be free? One way to think about it is this. Is it your natural condition
to exist only as a means of sustenance to another organism, or do you have an independent
existence? We’re all Homo sapiens. The old model had us thinking that the so called nobility
were literally a better breed of person naturally suited to rule over the so called commoners
whose inferior dispositions made them suitable only to serve. I’m pretty sure that’s
not true. What do you think? So if the right to live and be free is natural,
then governments are doing well when they protect your rights and doing wrong when they
violate your rights. As much as possible, then, the legal system should create rights
that are compatible with and don’t contradict your natural rights.

69 Comments

  • Heretic696

    Very good video. Professor Skoble nicely explains a concept that generates so much confusion. Regardless of one's political stance, everyone should understand key concepts in the same way. Otherwise, a rational discussion is impossible.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 @lowlander333 Discarded by "rational thinkers?" Rational thinkers were the ones who DISCOVERED natural rights! The Enlightenment was a repudiation on centuries of snuffed reason stifled with fear and superstition. The philosophers of the Enlightenment sought to approach issues from the most rationalist means possible, and many of them were persecuted for it.

    And "discarded centuries ago?" The Enlightenment itself was only 230-350 years ago. Natural Law is the new paradigm.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333
    Rights exist because there is human action and matter. Your most basic right is the right of self ownership: this is what is called "self evident." It is not some abstract thing: it's just common sense. If you don't own yourself, then who does?

    Once you have acknowledged that there is self ownership, then you must conclude that what you do with this body that you own is then also yours. Therefore, you have the rights to the fruits of your labor. You then have property rights

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333

    Just because someone doesn't recognize your rights doesn't mean you don't have them. Recognition of a natural right is NOT the same thing as the granting of a right. Natural rights are different from contractual or legal or other types of rights because they derive from our mere existence as human beings, and nothing else.

    So, the thief can take my stereo, but it was still my stereo. His taking of it in no way determines whether it was rightfully mine or not prior to the theft.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333

    By your flawed logic, I may not "agree" that you have the right to exist. So, if we disagree on that point, then does that mean I can kill you? If I am stronger than you or have a weapon and you don't then yes, I can easily kill you. But the question of Natural Rights does not seek to elaborate on if I CAN kill you or not, but whether I was JUSTIFIED in doing so.

    Just because someone can feasibly do something doesn't mean they have the right to do it.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333

    If they did have such "rights," then anyone could 'rightfully' do anything they pleased with no reprecussion. You say humans have agreements, adn that is true. The things that society agrees on and codifies form laws and customs. But these must be based upon something.

    So, usuing your example again, you could shoot the thief and preserve your stereo. The question is now who was in their rights: the thief in trying to take it, or you in defending it?

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 Funny enough, even if you side with the thief's side of the story, you must acknowledge natural rights. If you argued that he had the "right" to take the stereo, then you are acknowledging the ability of someone to appropriate something to themselves, i.e. to make something their own. To do this, you must have some concept of property, which is itself impossible to form without a framework of natural law.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 The only alternative when you reject property rights is to say that EVERYONE owns EVERYTHING equally, or that there is no ownership at all.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 This would be absurd, for what should be obvious reasons. If I own everything in common with my fellow humans, then I "own" a part of Tokyo bay just as much as the people living there. The problem is when I show up on their doorstep and say "get your yacht out of my spot, I own this part of the Bay." The first thing they will say is: "on what grounds? We were USING this area and you were not, so what gives?" Same with the stereo. Committing violence doesn't prove anything

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 You are still missing the point. Protection from bad guys has nothing to do with rights. If I have a right to life, that does not mean that if I get killed I didn't have the right to live, it just means someone violated that right.

    Seriously, what is so hard to understand about that?

    You seem to be confusing rights with GUARANTEES. What you are basically saying is that because no force can guarantee you keep your property, then you don't have property. That's a weird mentality.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 …and aside from being weird and disjointed, it's also plain absurd and untenable, even by your own assertions.

    If we use the same logic, then courts are totally useless. If two people claim ownership of the same thing, then how do we determine RIGHTFULL OWNERSHIP if there is no concept of property at all? The judge just looks at the two people and picks one at random? How the hell is that supposed to allow for a functional society?

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 I find it funny that accuse others of being manipulative, and that we will have "the world of today" by adhering to a natural law schema, yet what kind of world would your false logic produce?

    Might by right, judgement based on intuition and bias, emotional based reasoning? Seriously, the alternative that you are offering with your BS "logic" is not alternative at all.

    Natural Law and Rights LIBERATES humanity and allows for a more reasoned and ordered world.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 And like Merrian Websters says, a right is simply "something to which one has a just claim."

    So, if NO rights exist, then no one can justly claim anything? If I go and pick some fruti from a tree, I can't eat it? If someone runs by me and swipes my fruit, I can't justly claim that I had harvested it?

    As I asked before, what the **** is so hard to understand about this? And, what kind of person would want to argue AGAINST such? What kind of depraved individual are you?

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 Are you talking about your own assertions, because it sounds pretty apt. And what does age have to do with it? If I said I was 101 years old and had 10 PhDs under my belt, then I guess I am right and you should shut up then?

    A valid argument is valid or not based on its supporting reasoning, not on the age or credentials of the one articulating the argument. That is what is called being objectively based, which you obviously are not. I suspect that is why you reject Natural Law.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    I don't think you understand what the term "inalienable" means. If I say I have the inalienable right to be free, it doesn't mean that a tyrannical government cannot throw me in prison for no reason; if they have the power, they will overpower me and do it.

    What my inalienable right to freedom means is that when my fellows rise up against such government in my defense, they are JUSTIFIED. Their cause is just, and the government's would be both wrongl and unreasonable.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @UrbanSurvivalTools As I told Lowlander, just because someone can do something doesn't make it right. Just because I can steal your car, doesn't mean I have the right to. You have the right to your car.

    You speak of power, and power is key. But what would power be without a framework of ethic to guide it? You cannot have a justice system without a conception of justice itself, which requires a conception of rights. You cannot have government without knowing what government is to ensure.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @UrbanSurvivalTools What you, Lowlander, and others all essentially say is that because there is wanton theft, arbitrary justice, and inequality in the world, then it means there are no natural rights.

    What I and others who love freedom say, is it means not enough people are fighting for human rights. If people such as yourself would fight for natural rights, instead of cavalierly discounting them, then maybe more people could enjoy them in this world.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @UrbanSurvivalTools My question was directed at you, and others, who discard natural rights. I was not asking something so trite as 'has there ever been unethical government?'

    No, the question if for you. In other words: what form of government do you hope to see in your lifetime in so far as you reject universal, natural human rights? What ethic do you have for government, and what do you form this upon if not human rights?

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @UrbanSurvivalTools You do not understand the use of the term "inalienable." When the the concept of Inalienable Rights was formalized in the Enlightenment, it referred to the idea that these were rights inherent in the *nature* of humanity (hence, 'natural law'), and could not be separated.

    Ex: since your right to your life is revealed through reason as being a natural extension of the condition of self ownership, then we cannot alienate this right from your essential human nature. Understand?

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @UrbanSurvivalTools As regards monarchial dictate or feudal law, you are still missing the point.

    The idea is that you have rights that we derive through observation of universal human nature. One of those rights is the right to own property, which is extended from the nature of self ownership combined with one's labor.

    If a king appropriate my property, this does not mean my human nature changed, or that my rights to property never existed. It just means the king usurped my rights.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    I would recommend people that are dubious to read Introduction to Natural law on mises.org. Just go to the site and search for it; I would post the link by youtube keeps saying there is an error everytime I try.

    It explains, succinctly, the origin of natural rights theory and what the theory actually espouses, as opposed to the myths people tend to propagate.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    Why Lowlander do you persist in coming back with the same false reasoning again, and again, and again?

    The first 40 seconds of this video lay out the entire idea:

    "when we invoke rights, we are insisting on a certain kind of interaction, not because another kind isn't possible, but because another kind would be wrong."

    " 'you can't make a round square' means it can't be done, ' you can't kill Fred' means it would be wrong to do it."

    Seriously, go back and LISTEN to this part of the video.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 Yet, although the video is emphatically clear on this point, you keep highlighting again, and again that just because certain actions that violate rights can be manifest in human action, then rights themselves somehow do not exist.

    I tried to show you AD NAUSEUM about this logical fallacy you keep repeating. You simply don't seem to want to see it. You don't want to argue with the ACTUAL natural rights theory or what is said in the video, just straw men.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @lowlander333 Even taking your own assertions as valid (which they are not) you have no reason to assail the point of the video.

    If rights only exist as figments, then what harm is there to let those of us who believe in those figments from continuing to believe in them, esp if those 'figments' manifest in greater liberty?

    Why would anyone actively spend energy to convince others they have no rights? As I asked you before, what kind of depraved person are you?

  • CosmicFork

    If you are a Libertarian you believe that your Property Rights Trump every other Right on the planet… Including, Human Rights !!! That's where I part company violently with them.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @CosmicFork The right to property IS a human right.

    The right to life is a property right. The right to defend your life, pursue happiness, and speak and express yourself freely all derive from the concept of self ownership.

    Libertarians place an emphasis on property rights not because they "trump" other rights, but because your most sacred human rights derive from self ownership and the concept of personal property.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @HistoryLubber It is true that the BELIEF in whether you have rights or not is an acculturated thing.

    However, the EVIDENCE and LOGIC of being in possession of natural rights is self evident, if one will look at it.

    Just because a person, or two persons, or an entire culture does not recognize a right or stamps it out does not mean it did not exist.

    Justice and truth are not determined by a majority vote. The laws of the universe are not culturally bound.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @HistoryLubber Take as an example the most fundamental right of humans: self determination. This stems from a self ownership axiom.

    Now, a culture may choose to say humans do not in fact own themselves, that they are owned by a Great Spirit or Anubis or whatever.

    But what does reason tell us? We find that self ownership is able to be reduced to a true axiom that is supported with irrefutable reason.

  • Set_Square_Jack

    @Jack95912 The opposing idea, e.g. that Anubis owns us, might be culturally appropriate, but it will not hold up to reasonable dissection.

    It is not self evident in nature, not is it demonstrably true through experiment in either physics or thought.

    Self ownership is, however, and from that we then go about describing other axiomatic truths that derive from it, such as self determination.

    From this, we can say we have a natural right to exist free of coercion, for example.

  • CosmicFork

    Libertarians are apologists for the rich, nothing more. Somehow in their minds, usury, insider trading, and contract trickery by Huge TransNational Corporations is not theft, while taxation is. In actuality there are no such things as property rights, until we as a society agree on them. For some reason Libertarians seem to think that property rights exceed all other rights, Life, Equity, Dignity, Human Rights. They also think you can own things you never made? Libertarianism=Scam By The Rich…

  • randomvideocommenter

    What you have just said falls under the fallacy of association. Libertarianism by it's definition does not do or support any of those things. Some politicans and buisnessmen may call themselves libertarians and do such things, however those are their own actions, independant of liberalist ideas.
    Beware of public figures claiming to be something or support certian values, their words cannot be trusted.

  • Saul Zulske

    Why you don't see any big corporation supporting a libertarian candidade? They're not in favor of "contract trickery", to the contrary, they believe that contracts should always be enforced. The problem is when govt dictates how the contract should be, not free individuals, even a marriage contract. There is another contract that everybody seems to trick with it, and only Libertarians want to enforce, it is called the Constitution.

  • Saul Zulske

    Property rights is the beggining of all rights, ask yourself this: "who owns you?" If you don't come up with an answer, then you have no rights whatsoever. How come that libertarians believe they can own things they never made? Give me an example….

  • CosmicFork

    The belief that "Property Rights" are the beginning of all rights is a logical fallacy. You ask the question "Who owns you?" Yet a person can instantaneously see how covertly authoritarian this line of reasoning is. It is authoritarian when you realize that to "own" yourself means that you are a commodity that can be bought and sold to others, who can then rule over you. "Self-Ownership" is nothing but foolish economistic reductionism. You are NOT a commodity brother, you have Self-Rule Respect.

  • Saul Zulske

    You are misusing the term commodity. But as an owner of yourself you can surely sell the things that your body produces, you can sell your time, you can sell an idea generated by you, you can sell the energy that comes out of your body, you can sell an ability you are able to perform, you can even sell sex. But if you are not the owner of your body, then someone else is, and all of those things I mentioned that you can sell will not be decided by you, but by your owner.

  • pdan2834

    the existence of giant corporations is predicated upon government support. the rich wouldnt be as rich as they are were it not for state support.
    before voicing your ignorance on what libertarians say about property rights, why dont you read what Rothbard actually said about how all human right are property rights (incl. selfownership). Rape and murder are an infringement upon a person's body…. We do not have a right to freedom of press but a right to print and sell newspaper/leaflets. etc

  • King Karbon

    You're attacking a strawman. Ownership means exclusive use and possession of something. You have exclusive use of your body. Therefore, you own your body. All rights extend from there, specifically property rights. And all rights are a form of property rights. I don't think you actually understand Libertarianism if you're getting this wrong. To assert that Libertarianism is a scam by the rich is just fallacious, and frankly insulting to the non-rich Libertarians.

  • Morrile1

    Rights should be seen as a guide only, it's not something which is hard fixed. If people would live by the Golden Rule, we wouldn't need rights. The Golden Rule is "Do to others, as you would like others to do unto you". It's also the core of ANY religion.

  • david

    natural rights are necessarily implied from the "golden rule" in that if you follow the golden rule, you will never violate anyone's rights, since you will never want anyone to initiate force against you.

  • F Egberts

    I find it thrilling that every time Americans speak of their independence from Britain, they don't hesitate to point out the injustice of the Monarchy and the moral deficiencies of a divine right of kings, all the while forgetting that those very same "serfs," pilgrims, and other disenfranchised peoples spent centuries after gaining independence doing EXACTLY the same thing to native Americans, Asian immigrants, and enslaved Africans.

  • Craig Kohtz

    Why do you think that is forgotten? I'm guessing most people understand the hypocrisy. I'm also pretty sure that most people today understand that natural rights apply to everyone. Are you advocating that we go back to a monarchy or some sort of class based system because our founding fathers were hypocrites?

  • Michael Swartz

    I think that the concept of natural rights is presumptuous. Saying that human beings are born with inalienable rights implies that there is some authority from which our rights come. If rights were inalienable, they wouldn't be able to be taken away by other human beings, yet countless people across the world suffer, unable to fulfill their basic human needs. What we think of as rights are simply expressions of our moral values that we must defend if we wish to continue to enjoy them.

  • Veritas

    You're dumb and brainwashed as shit. The guy who responded to you annihilated your bullshit, uninformed, presumptuous opinions,.

  • MrObveous777

    just because some 1 takes away ur rights DOES NOT MEAN u no longer have those rights. u still have those rights..someone has VIOLATED ur rights as a human being.. basically what is being said is THE FUNCTION of a HUMAN is to be free. the function comes from nature itself through natural selection. humans do their best when they are free to do what they want to do. ex: passion,pride,specialization formed through natural selection and occur when a person is free. of course freedoms can be violated

  • Damany

    What you call a natural right sounds more like a wish.  We wish to flourish.  We wish to be free to try and fail.  Do we have a right to?  What, if anything, gives us that right?  Living?  If I am locked to a wall, how do I express my rights?  If I am attacked in war, how do I express my right to liberty?  Would my liberty be contingent on the context of my surroundings?  

    Rights seems to be more like a wish or something that is granted.  Because if I had rights, than how could they be taken away?  If rights are not granted, than there is no circumstance that I lose them.  

    If rights are natural, than it would seem odd to have to explain them as something we possess rather than something that can be contained or upheld.  In the natural order something is either one thing or it is denaturized.  

    Now a Wish, that is something else.  We wish to pursue happiness.  That is an ideal.  Wishes are an ideal set of circumstances.  This lives in the realm of should, mights and hopes.  

    Wishes exist without governance.  If we have rights, than how do they exists without governance?  What do they look like without governance?  It seems that without governance rights don't exist.  I had a fella tell me he was a free man.  And I wondered how free he would be if there were no government to protect him.

  • gary morrison

    Rights are commodities available in the market place for those who can afford them and an entitlement to those who inherit them from an ancestry of thieves, slave holders and gentlemen. 

  • Manu Forster

    Aeon J. Skoble ( https://plus.google.com/u/0/115071725709312237755 ) :
     >> Rights are moral concepts that establish the conditions in which we interact. << (?)

    This interpretation of "rights" doesn't seem (to me) sufficiently thought through or deliberated.

    Basically, we can make up any kind of moral concept and act upon it.
    We can apply any kind of moral or ethical concept, code, idea or ideal to ourselves, without even bothering to refer to any kind of "right", anyway whatsoever… A reference to a "right" or a claim for "rights" only seems useful, where we have reasons to feel threatened, disadvantaged, cheated, overreached, ignored or victimized.
    In fact we can only begin to speak of "rights", as far as we can reach a certain critical mass of consensus in our social horizon, that may promise or allow us to establish some kind of reliable cooperative structures of authoritarian/ forceful intervention in terms of judging, sanctioning and punishing people, in case the "rights" that we're demanding are being ignored.

    Therefore…
    If we lack in a reasonably efficient power structure to practically enforce claims for certain "rights", it's pretty much useless or futile to define legal terms or to invent "rights".
    It only makes sense to claim a "right to …" or to introduce a "prohibition/ not to…", as far we can threaten [each other] with sanctions and consequences for unwanted behavior.
    In other words: Our claim for a "right" only matters as much as we can find enough consensus in #society .
    Either our claims are commonly agreed on and respected (then we don't even need to introduce the lingual OR legal concept of a "right"), or we have to presuppose some kind of (strike) force, authority or power structure that will allow us to threaten others with harmful consequences, in case our claims aren't respected or agreed upon.
    And in this regard it doesn't even matter much if we formulate our legal idea positively or negatively… There are no "natural rights"… Any "right" whatsoever is always a cultural invention. The validity and relevance of claims for "rights" is depending on structural factors in society. We only have to introduce the lingual reference to a "right", where we experience patterns of conflict and/or disagreement about the moral or ethical basis of our interaction. 

    //
    I just discovered this "podcast" –> https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19011152/skoble%20at%20SLU.mp3
    (That's how I even got here in the first place..!;)

    And I must say.. the more I consequently think about the idea of "rights" (and it's application) the more appalled I tend to feel:

    If we really, honestly and consequently believe in the idea of individual #freedom and social #liberty , then I have reasons to suspect that it's a grave mistake and a fundamental error to think about society and social relations in terms of #rights .

    I would like to address some of the essential issues, with the reference to "rights" in a detailed commentary to Professor Skoble's Podcast, which I've linked above
    But the point is: Basically, any social theory that depends on a reference to "rights" seems to me to be a rather reactionary idea, that only works out if we presuppose stable power structures in which we're able to enforce our claim for a "right" that we might want to demand.

    Any claim or reference to a "right" is only as good as the social structures, organizations and institutions that would allow me to threaten with consequences, whenever my claims for a certain "right" is being put in question.

    The enforcement of rights is always a question of consensus, power and authority.
    (No matter if we're talking about a positive or a negative formulation of rights.)

    However, I think (if we want to) we actually can think of practical forms of socialization and interaction BEYOND any reference to "rights" or "property". We can imagine social horizons with people interacting freely, solely in regard of their own moral or ethical insights and not manipulated by extrinsic economic incentives or threatened by legal restrictions and consequences. We CAN imagine living a life beyond market relations AND state intervention. I don't see how people could really make decisions according to their own conscience and reason, as long as they are bound to interact in terms and conditions of market exchange relations. As long as people believe in the categories of thinking implied by the system of market/ money/ trading and commerce, we will have a fundamental problem with manipulation, will corruption, corrupted power structures and mercenary motives, leading to overall heteronomous actions and relationships. I see a lot more #freedom and #liberty in relationships and social interactions based on principles and ideas like #solidarity , #openness , #charity , #respect and #responsibility .

    As long as we are being conditioned to think and decide in reference to (arbitrary) legal concepts like "property" , I strongly doubt that we have any plausible chance to gain more net social liberty or increased individual freedom.

    Perhaps nothing is more important (for our freedom, peace, satisfaction & security) than getting our mind out of the box filled with reactionary categories of thinking bound to the paradigm of social delimitation/ isolation and economic rivalry.

  • Mike Takac

    Perhaps, when mankind understands “The Science of Rights,” one day this world will be a better place to live.

    Please view “The Science of Rights” on my channel.

  • Jere Moore

    I am about to watch this video at the Learning Liberty Academy page where each topic has a little quiz with it. I am writing now because I am troubled by the question on this quiz: "1. As much as possible, the legal system should create rights that do not contradict one’s…", and then it gives several choices. It seems to me that to encourage the notion that the legal system, aka government, creates rights at any level is dangerous and wrong. After I watch the video, I will post my opinion of the content.

  • Damany

    The main problem with this video is that there is not a shred of evidence that supports the existence of "natural rights."  There is said to be a distinct between "natural rights" and "legal rights" but that distinction is not born out through fact or anecdote.  Instead, what we have is a fella saying there are "natural rights" and this group of people believe it.  

    The idea that we might ask ourselves if it's our natural condition to exist only as a means of sustenance to another organism, is a bit of a parlor trick.  How about this, no that is not my natural condition and no I don't.  That is not my condition.  My life is more complex than that.  Also, the rights I have are subject to the context that I live in.  So, now I've thrown that question out and I am back at the place where we started.  Rights are granted.

    But I'd also ask about other "natural rights."  Is it our "right" to think?  Certainly, those with the capacity to do it do it.  But what about those without the capacity to think?  those stricken by illness.  Those who have brain injuries.  Do they have a natural right in that category, or is it context which grant them the capacity to do it?

    Do we have a right to walk?  Not walk anywhere we want, but a right to walk?  What about those who have lost the capacity?

    The idea of a "natural right" is really about entitlement.  And I am not fully against feeling (or thinking that oneself is) entitled.  It's can be powerful tool.  But I remember that it is a still a feeling.  It is still a thought.  It is still a tool.  One can more prove a "natural right" than one can prove there is a God.  Saying that something exists does not prove it's existence.  Saying something exists as a means of validating it's existence is really what children do with an imaginary friend or what politicians do to incite wars with countries who have committed no acts of aggression.

    The best this person can say is, "I wish."

  • Sepear

    There are no such thing as objective "natural rights". It's one big logical fallacy, namely naturalistic. If u think im wrong please prove it

  • Jere Moore

    Okay, I watched the video, and I think that the whole notion of "government created rights" is both dangerous and wrong. It is dangerous, because, as the author admits, it fosters the notion that rights come from government. It is wrong because true rights preexisted governments and not the other way around.

    Also, what "rights" does government create? Take the so-called right to trial by jury. I think that the underlying right is actually that to be dealt with fairly and justly when interacting with others, and the "right to trial by jury" is one means by which we have empowered government to act upon our behalf in order to protect that underlying right.

    Promoting the notion that there are inalienable Natural Rights and also "government rights" is unnecessarily confusing and counter-productive and will not, I think, take us where we want to go.

  • Mike Camire

    This is why I believe Obamacare is illegal, it can't exist without the government taking my rights, instead of protecting them. No one should have the right my labor or goods and use it profits to pay for some one else. Way too much of this is happening in the US these days.

  • Brian Patterson

    I think of rights in this way, 1st as an individual that is alone on this earth . I can do what ever I deem fit however I see fit to do it . For I cannot infringe on another's right..
    Again what ever I see fit to do is my right.
    Now add another man
    I again have the same rights to do what I deem fit. However if i restrain him from his
    rights I am no longer within my rights
    I have the right to travel gods earth as I did not create it there fore cannot claim it nor any other man. However you may claim a piece that you improve and work to sustain yourself with as long as you do not impair others rights .. the right of way..
    That simply.. ….the government does not Grant the rights nor can any other man or men.upon another.. that would be a privilege..
    Such as personal property like a tool.. he then would grant me privilege to use said tools but I did not have right to them for he either made or traded value to obtain tool..
    It seems very clear to me..what rights are.

  • NoSuspect

    The Constitution does not give you rights. The founders considered your rights to be "God-given" or "natural rights" — you are born with all your rights. The constitution does, however, protect your rights by:

    Limiting the powers of government by granting to it only those specific powers that are listed in the Constitution; (This has not proven to be effective of late.)
    Enumerating certain, specific rights which you retain. These are listed in the Bill of Rights.

    The rights deemed most important by the founders are specifically listed in the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights also says that, even though a particular right is not listed in the Bill of Rights, you still retain that right. Any powers not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are retained by the states and the people (you).

    So, without the Constitution, the states and the people have all the rights and there is no federal government. With the Constitution, the states and the people keep any rights not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution. The Constitution states this very clearly.

    Unfortunately, the government today seems to recognize only those rights specifically listed in the Bill of Rights and even these often receive little more than lip service, when your rights interfere with some government objective.

  • Bry Willis

    Lulz. I have natural rights because I have natural rights, naturally. What do I think? I agree. I have the right to be free because I feel like I should be free. Talk about circular reasoning.

  • X X

    There is no "natural law." Nature's right is coextensive with its power. If it weren't natural, it wouldn't happen. War is as natural as peace, slavery as natural as freedom, death as natural as life.
    Prove me wrong.

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