A right is the sovereignty
to act without the permission of others. The concept of a right carries
with it an implicit, unstated footnote: you may exercise your rights as
long as you do not violate the same rights of another—within this context,
rights are an absolute.
A right is universal—meaning:
it applies to all men, not just to a few. There is no such
thing as a "right" for one man, or a group of men, that is not possessed
by all. This means there are no special "rights" unique to women
or men, blacks or white, the elderly or the young, homosexuals or heterosexuals,
the rich or the poor, doctors or patients or any other group.
A right must be exercised
through your own initiative and action. It is not a claim
on others. A right is
not actualized and implemented by the
actions of others. This means you do not have the right to the time
in another person’s life. You do not have a right to other people’s
money. You do not have the right to another person’s property.
If you wish to acquire some money from another person, you must earn it—then
you have a right to it. If you wish to gain some benefit from the
time of another person’s life, you must gain it through the voluntary cooperation
of that individual—not through coercion. If you wish to possess some
item of property of another individual, you must buy it on terms acceptable
to the owner—not gain it through theft.
Alone in a wilderness, the
concept of a right would never occur to you, even though in such isolation
you have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In this solitude, you would be free to take the actions needed to sustain
your life: hunt for food, grow crops, build a shelter and so on.
If a hundred new settlers suddenly arrive in your area and establish a
community, you do not gain any additional rights by living in such a society
nor do you lose any; you simply retain the same rights you possessed when
you were alone.
A right defines what you
may do without the permission of those other men and it erects a moral
and legal barrier across which they may not cross. It is your protection
against those who attempt to forcibly take some of your life’s time, your
money or property.
Animals do not have rights.
Rights only apply to beings capable of thought, capable of defining rights
and creating an organized means—government—of protecting such rights.
Thus, a fly or mosquito does not possess rights of any kind, including
the right to life. You may swat a fly or mosquito, killing them both.
You do not have the right to do the same to another human being, except
in self-defense. You may own and raise cows, keep them in captivity
and milk them for all they are worth. You do not have the right to
do the same to other men, although that is what statists effectively do
There is only one, fundamental
right, the right to life—which is: the sovereignty to follow your own judgment,
without anyone’s permission, about the actions in your life. All
other rights are applications of this right to specific contexts, such
as property and freedom of speech.
The right to property is
the right to take the action needed to create and/or earn the material
means needed for living. Once you have earned it, then that particular
property is yours—which means: you have the right to control the use and
disposal of that property. It may not be taken from you or used by
others without your permission.
Freedom of speech is the
right to say anything you wish, using any medium of communication you can
afford. It is not the responsibility of others to pay for some means
of expression or to provide you with a platform on which to speak.
If a newspaper or television station refuses to allow you to express your
views utilizing their property, your right to freedom of speech has not
been violated and this is not censorship. Censorship is a concept
that only applies to government action, the action of forcibly forbidding
and/or punishing the expression of certain ideas.
Statists have corrupted the
actual meaning of a right and have converted it, in the minds of most,
into its opposite: into a claim on the life of another. With the
growth of statism, over the past few decades, we have seen an explosion
of these "rights"—which, in fact, have gradually eroded your actual right
to your life, money and property.
Statists declare you have
a "right" to housing, to a job, to health care, to an education, to a minimum
wage, to preferential treatment if you are a minority and so on.
These "rights" are all a claim, a lien, on your life and the lives of others.
These "rights" impose a form of involuntary servitude on you and others.
These "rights" force you to pay for someone’s housing, their health care,
their education, for training for a job—and, it forces others to provide
special treatment for certain groups and to pay higher-than-necessary wages.
Under statism, "rights" are
a means of enslavement: it places a mortgage on your life—and statists
are the mortgage holders, on the receiving end of unearned payments forcibly
extracted from your life and your earnings. You do not have a right
to your life, others do. Others do not have a right to their lives,
either, but you have a "right" to theirs. Such a concept of "rights"
forcibly hog-ties everyone to everyone else, making everyone a slave to
everyone else—except for those masters, statist politicians, who pull the
strings and crack the whips.
Actual rights—those actions
to which you are entitled by your nature as man—give you clear title to
your life. A right is your declaration of independence. A statist
"right" is their declaration of your dependence on others and other's dependence
on you. Until these bogus "rights" are repudiated, your freedom to
live your life as you see fit will continue to slowly disappear.
Huxtable's Fatal Blindness is Highly recommended