Derivation of Rights

After posting my views of what the natural rights of humans are way back at the start of this blog, I’ve had a couple of people ask me where these rights come from, if not from the government. Here’s a simplified description of the logical progression of my thoughts.

In any logical derivation, there must be some starting point, some axiom off of which everything can be based. I feel that the sentiments and scenarios that fueled the rhetoric of Thomas Jefferson to be an excellent place to begin, as few contemporary individuals would argue in favor of the arbitrary power of kings.

If you start with the premise that “all men are created equal,” then it logically follows that no person’s will should dominate anyone else’s will. A person’s will can be used to shape the world around them, so that which is produced by a person from resources claimed by no other person must therefore be an extension of that person’s will, and is under that person’s control. Hence, the premise of property rights is established, including the right of control over your own body. If it is within the will of one person to agree with another person to coordinate the use of their property, this is a valid exercise of their wills so long as no other person whose person or property may be affected objects to it. This establishes the right to form contracts.

However, violation of another person’s will or control over their property is not consistent with the premise that one person’s will should not dominate another person’s will. Hence, this kind of action should not be allowed, and should be corrected to the greatest degree possible to reestablish the equality of the will of the offender with the will of the victim. This establishes the necessity for a criminal justice system and a military. This premise also establishes the view that forcible imposition of contract, deceptive imposition of contract, and violation of contract are violations of rights, and should be illegal.

Hence, we arrive at the conclusion that forcible imposition of any program by the government, aside from those which explicitly exist only to protect the rights of all, is a violation of rights and should be illegal in any society which considers all people to be equal. Hence, in a society where people are truly considered to be equal, government would consist only of a legislative system to interpret the guaranteed rights in terms of real-world laws, a military to defend the rights of the people from external threats, a police force to defend the rights of the people from internal threats, and a judicial system to determine the appropriate action necessary to correct any violation of rights and prevent repeat offenses.

No currently existing society truly respects the equal rights of the people. The two-party system we have here in the U.S. alternates between favoring the will of one group of people and favoring the will of the other group of people, calling this equal rights. I call that a sad attempt at justifying abuses of power.

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3 Responses to “Derivation of Rights”

  1. Robert Brown Says:

    The founding fathers made the prime derivation of rights by invoking God. You have made a strong argument without resorting to God which makes it all the stronger. Congratulations.

  2. A Right to Welfare? « Tristan's Journal for a Free Society Says:

    […] Right to Welfare? February 15, 2010 — Tristan Brown Now that I’ve explained why humans have rights and what those rights are, I figure it’s a good time to address the claims that humans have “a right” to […]

  3. resorn87 Says:

    hello! ūüôā i’m at work right now, so i do not have much time to write… but! I truly appreciated reading the post. It was a bunch of really good stuff. many thanks! Best regards


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