Nature of Rights

Rights are the fundamental principles governing the conduct of relations among men in a free society. The concept of rights has its origin in the nature of man: that he is a rational animal, and his nature requires that he is to be dealt-with only in ways that are conforming/right to his nature. Rights are neither gifts endowed upon men by non-existing entities nor entitlements granted upon a man at the expense of his fellow men by the establishment.

As required by Man’s nature, his first right in a society is the Man’s right to his own life. Its meaning is, in his capacity as a rational animal, it is right for a man to perform the activities required to maintain and further his own life, without being coerced.

The only rational inference of a Man’s right to his own life is his right to the products of his work. That is the meaning of the right formalised by Man’s right to his own property. A man in his capacity as a rational animal is the sole proprietor of his life, his ability to do productive work using his own rationale, and the sole proprietor of the product of such work, when and only if such work is committed by him. When two individuals in a free society need each others’ products, whatever they are, the only way to exchange them is by Contract: A list of Mutually agreed terms.

Claim to another man’s product in a free society is only through contract.

In a society where anyone can use and dispose of the product of a man’s life, calling their need to consume his product as a claim over his product, no rational man can survive, no rights can exist and such a society is bound to collapse. Observe the fates of monarchies, oligarchies, communist regimes or unlimited democracies throughout the recorded human history as examples.

A state that recognises a Man’s right to his own life, his right to his own property and their applications in its constitution, necessitates an institution of free men to preserve such rights of individuals. That is the reason, Government is needed and elected by men in a free society and only for that reason. It is the only institution which has monopoly over force, and the use of such force is strictly limited to ensure the defence of the individual rights of citizens, while the individuals perform their desired productive activities.

As a compensation for such efforts of individuals that form the machinery of the establishment, citizens are taxed. An establishment in a free society can be said to be corrupt when it starts making laws other than the applications of man’s original rights of life and property, and starts taxing individuals for the services they can perform to each other on their own, through making contracts. Only proper function of Government in this context is to ensure the honouring of contracts made by the individuals involved.

Constant inflation of the bill of rights that place taxing obligations on citizens by stating “needs of the moment” is the hallmark of a society transitioning into the tyranny of an unlimited democracy.

Rights can never be obligations over an individual to perform any activity. They can only be restraints over his fellow men to abstain from activities that violate his rights.

Notice that a man’s right to his own life doesn’t place an obligation over his fellow men that they perform the activities required to maintain his life: that would be slavery. It only means that no one can interrupt a man from performing the tasks he deems necessary to maintain his own life at a standard he desires. A man’s right to his own property doesn’t place an obligation over his fellow men to work and earn properties for him: that would be slavery. It only means that any product of a man’s life and his work is his own property, and that if he earned it, no one can take it away from him without him authorising it through a contract. Such is the Nature of Rights.

Avinash Kumar

Objective Absolute

Welcome to the Objective Absolute. In other words, welcome to reality. I am going to teach you philosophy, because it is in my own interest to desire to live in a free society, because till date I have not found a single teacher alive today, who can objectively teach philosophy, by treating it as it is, a proper objective science: a science that teaches you through purely logical derivation, the right choices to make in any specific circumstance of your life, proper way to conduct relations with fellow men, proper values to choose, gain and keep, and the virtues that you need to practice to keep them. No matter the kind of situation you find yourself in, philosophy will always show you the proper choice to make.

Philosophy, the foundation of all valid human knowledge, like all proper sciences is solely based on the fundamental law or axiom of existence: The Law of Identity. A thing is itself. A is A. Existence exists, and everything that exists has an identity of its own. A true philosopher’s job is to objectively understand the nature of identities of existents,  validate and define their properties, and thus prove what can and cannot be done with/to them. In essence, a philosopher ruthlessly applies the law of identity to everything in existence, including and especially, Man.

I learnt philosophy from my teacher, the philosopher Ayn Rand, and to my complete knowledge, I am the one of the very few in this world who learnt it properly, by consciously acknowledging the proper identities of all the existents I have faced so far, without evading any single thought, feeling or experience that I had in my entire life. She had been dead for more than 3 decades when I found her works, and she was the only one that helped me to integrate my entire life, showed me my flaws, guided me to correct my actions, and taught me the skills I need to acquire, to see the things for what they truly are, without demanding my faith in any matter: a true teacher. I do not claim omniscience. A man does not possess and should not be expected to possess omniscience. What I can claim is that I am an Objectivist, all the knowledge that I possess and teach is in the form of concepts that I can objectively validate, solely based on the Law of Identity, The only other Objectivist I can certainly vouch for, being Ayn Rand.

An objectivist is a person who understands that existence is objective absolute. [It means that the facts of existence are what they are, irrespective of any man’s feelings, wishes, hopes, desires, or fears], and his Faculty of REASON, the specific attribute of his consciousness[faculty that integrates the perceptions that he consciously perceives through his own senses into concepts, and those concepts into still higher abstractions: by unambiguous, contextual and proper definitions], is his only means of dealing with it. Because he understands that by definition, Man is a Rational animal. And that is what an objectivist chooses to be, consciously. A rational animal. He continuously applies the law of identity to everything he encounters in his life because he understands that the universe, is completely knowable, and he is on a continuous mission to find out the nature of identity of everything that interests him. All the interests of an objectivist, all his desires and their source: his values, are guided solely by his reason, his defining value, for the only purpose of furthering his own life, his ultimate value.

An objectivist, hence holds his life as the standard of all his values, each value serving the purpose of this ultimate value, thereby completely integrating his existence. An objectivist never leads a compartmentalised life. He is not one person now and a completely different person the next moment. A selective objectivist is not an objectivist at all. The mark of an objectivist is the unwavering consistency of his character. He never doubts his own existence. He accepts nothing but reason, he submits to nothing but reason. Neither all the guns in the world nor all the pleas of hypocrites in the world can make him to falsely identify any existent. He calls white as white and black as black. He uses words as concepts, in their true meaning, and he doesn’t make statements that he doesn’t mean. Hence, he can survive only in a free society.

A free society is characterised by the democracy limited by inviolable authentic individual rights, which are clearly defined in that society’s constitution, all of them being logically derived from the man’s first right in a society: Man’s right to his own life. This right is made possible by the deriving from it, the following authentic rights: The right to act by the judgement of his own mind, the liberty to take his own decisions, the right to earn and keep his own property, and thus the right to pursue his own happiness. None of these authentic rights can logically contradict his right to his own life, they being sequentially derived from it, and making it possible, nor do any of these rights contradict the same rights of another man living in the society. To ensure absolute protection to these authentic rights of man, Government is formed in a free society, and only for that purpose. And the purpose is achieved by prohibiting the initiation of force from human relations. No man may initiate the use of force to submit other men to his will.

There are two primary ways in which an individual’s authentic rights can violated by force: One, by other men in the society, and two, by foreign invaders. The Government tackles the first task by structuring and maintaining a competent and adequately numbered police force, and tackles the second task by maintaining competent defence forces. Observe here that the actions of the Government(which in fact is a hierarchical structure of individuals of the same free society), are limited by the same authentic rights of the constitution. Thus ensuring the purpose of the task of clearly defining authentic rights in the constitution is served: to prevent the government from violating the authentic individual rights of the citizens of its own society.

All the laws made by the lawmakers in a free society are, and ought to be, merely application of authentic rights of man to specific circumstances or activities in the society. Thus laws can only dictate what an individual cannot do in a free society: In essence, prohibit initiation of force. No law can dictate what a citizen must do. Because to compel or force an individual to commit a particular action against his own free will is to force him to act against the judgement of his own mind, thus a violation of the man’s right to his own life.

To settle the disputes between individuals, by JUDGING specific issues in the society solely based on the authentic individual rights, and continuously monitor the objectivity of the laws made by lawmakers(Objective laws are the proper laws that cannot contradict neither other previously made laws, nor the authentic rights listed in the constitution: the source of all laws), the structure of JUDICIARY is formed.

Note here that the lawmakers(individuals that make up the elected government) may never make any laws, nor grant any rights, nor collect nor spend the individual’s money(portion of an his own property that he shall give only by his voluntary consent, and for the purpose of only those essential services he is receiving from the Government and must be performed only by the Government, for the protection of his own authentic rights) by taking sides in the favour of a particular batch of citizens that subscribe to any particular irrational group identity and pretending that it is their primary identity. Primary identity of any man is that he is a rational animal. (Sexual identity of an individual has no objective dependance on rationality. It neither guarantees that a man shall be rational, not contradictions his faculty of reason.)

No law can be objectively valid, if it is not applicable equally to all the citizens: The elected government by placing the interests of any one citizen above the interests of any other second citizen, and thereby spending the taxpayer’s property in the favour of the first citizen, is establishing a false principle that protecting the second citizen’s right to his own property is of less importance to it compared to the task of protecting the first citizen’s right to his own property. Thus claiming that one citizen’s right to his own life takes precedence over the other citizen’s right to his own life. Note that earning and owning his own property through his own independent efforts is the only way for a free man to lead a morally good life in a free society. This, man’s right to his own life, is the rational basis for man’s right against discrimination by the elected government: A valid, objective, authentic right.

There is no free meal in a morally good, free society. Each man must earn his own bread, or it be provided to him by another man out of generosity, who earned his own bread, by trading his own efforts or his own property in the free market(free from Governmental intervention of any kind). No man can have the right to the product of another man’s life. Claiming the right to another man’s life, the right to another man’s property, to force him to act against the judgement of his mind, against his own interests are the hallmarks of a morally bankrupt, collectivist society. Such societies, by the very nature of their blatant disregard for violation of authentic individual rights, are bound to fail disastrously.

An objectivist cannot survive in a collectivist society. A truly free society has never been established in the recorded history of mankind, not even in America. Each generation of individuals must objectively understand and validate their own rights, and fiercely protect the objectivity of their constitution: Inviolable nature of Man’s right to his own life, and all the authentic rights derived only from it, and not allow any contradictions in it, because it is in their own interest.

I shall discuss the structure of objective philosophy, and its logical applications to specific circumstances, with reasons, in my further articles.