Saturday, September 05, 2009

Rights- The Definition

A "right" is something you can do just because you exist. It is not dependent upon anyone's permission.

Every human alive, anywhere, has equal and identical rights.

Anything that you can do without violating the equal and identical rights of another individual is within your right to do, no matter how trivial or important.

Rights do not come from anyone, nor from government, nor from any document. A right can either be respected or it can be violated, but it can not be limited, regulated, licensed, rationed, or otherwise turned into a privilege. A privilege is the opposite of a right.

A right can not impose an obligation on another person to supply you with the means of exercising that right. (As pointed out in the comments.) I have a right to own and to carry weapons, but you have no obligation to give me a gun to carry, nor do I have a right to expect you to do so. My right is my responsibility.

Having a right doesn't mean there will be no consequences for exercising that right. There are always consequences and responsibilities for every action. Just because you have a right to do something does not mean it is the best thing to do right now. Think before you act, or even better, before you need to act.

In answer to those who claim there are no such things as rights-- that they are imaginary-- I say: That's fine. In that case no one can have a right to archate, so we are back to square one. Thanks!

See also: The nature of rights


  1. Nicely said. I've had an argument with many people about whether health care is a "right" or not.

    They can't understand the idea that just because something's a RIGHT doesn't mean you have the guarantee of access to it.

    I compared them thusly: if you have a right to healthcare and the forced taxation on me to pay for your health care, why don't I have the right to a firearm and the forced taxation to make you buy me a gun?

  2. I should have added that a real right can not impose an obligation on someone else.

    Healthcare, provided by others, can't be a right because you would have to force doctors to provide it for you, or force others to pay for it for you. You have a right to seek healthcare for yourself and enter into any voluntary relationship with a healthcare provider that you can reach an agreement with. That's as far as "a right to healthcare" goes.