Does the phrase, Individual Rights mean the same as Human Rights? A “right” is a moral principle which defines and sanctions men and women’s freedom of action in society. It follows that one’s right to his or her life is fundamental and primary, intrinsic and irrefutable. Life is experienced individually, therefore, right to life is individual. Derivative rights occasion from consequences or corollaries, always respectful of individuals.
A right is the sanction of independent action. A right is that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission. If you exist only because society permits you to exist—you have no right to your own life. A permission can be revoked at any time. If, before undertaking some action, you must obtain the permission of society—you are not free, whether such permission is granted to you or not. Only a slave acts on permission. A permission is not a right. —Ayn Rand
Permissions are not rights
What are the rights of the individual? In an article discussing the work of Josiah Warren (1798 -1874) and the Individual, Ann Caldwell Butler Redkey from Indiana writes—
‘The individuality of human nature, and the right of everyone to use his individuality, compels individuals to communicate with one another. Having proposed an idea and communicated it to others, the individual must let these others exercise their free choice and make their own decisions about it. “Each may differ from each.” Consequently, Warren insisted that society must not lay down any forms of words whatsoever with the idea of enforcing conformity of opinion.”This is the great fundamental error of all organizations of society.”’ —Ann Caldwell Butler Redkey
Enforced conformity is nothing less than rule, by state permission or refusal. Its source traces to Thomas Hobbes, who in the seventeenth century, argued that the state is entitled to unlimited power. Specifically, ‘right’ is whatever the state says is right, through its laws—and wrong whatever the state says is wrong.
‘Hobbes saw rights as a creation of state power: Therefore, in order that we might have more and better rights, state power should be as absolute and total as possible. The state should pervade and dominate every relationship in order to provide everyone with justice and rights, and suppress any form of association that it does not create and control, and the state should silence any criticism of its absolute power (so that we might be more free).’ —James A. Donald
State rule antithetically opposes individual rights, the reason they do not exist today.
Society by Company
To say that rules are necessary for the greater good is mistaken, because ‘society’ is not a conscious entity enabled to experience that good. Society as we know it is ‘Society by Company,’ a corporate entity pursuing corporate goals. State rules exist to sustain the freedom to rule. Personal liberty is granted only to the extent that it upholds the state. For proof, read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (specifically article 29.3). Liberty that is nothing but state permission is not freedom.
Unless and until we express our unalienable right to life as ‘individual rights,’ there will be no limits to government (Society by Company) power and authority.
From the document quoted above—
‘The only system of ideas capable of repudiating limitless and absolute state power is natural law. It is impossible to speak about limits to the power and authority of the state except in the language with which such ideas were originally expressed. No other language is available.
Words carry with them systems of ideas. If someone rejects the language of natural law, refuses to use such words, pretends not to comprehend them, and rejects them as meaningless, then he is not interested in using words as a medium of communication. He is merely using them as a method of control. It is pointless to attempt to communicate with such a person.’ — James A Donald
Law as we know it is not the same as natural law. The first is authority backed by force, and the second is Creator’s invitation to live and respect life. The subject of rights is ambiguous today, including that unalienable rights are not inalienable rights. For this reason, it is essential to distinguish between individual rights and human rights, despite that both should correctly refer to the same things.
Free by nature
People need not be forced to pursue their own ends. Likewise, when rules are forced on them for the sake of someone else’s outcomes, they will vehemently resist those demands. Thus when a state bases its legitimacy and solidarity on utilitarian principles, rather than on individual rights and the rule of natural law, violence and coercion will steadily increase in quantity and severity.
The state—a group of people—must rightfully, and lawfully be subject to the same ‘rights’ as all other individuals? Then it has no right to command another’s life—no superior right to use force to achieve its goals. If we permit it to overrule our singular right to life, loss of our property and slavery will result.
Individual rights are intrinsic
Rights exist inherently from the nature of Man and life. There is no conflict between civil order and individual rights because natural law is order. The natural order is freedom.
Accordingly, we are behooved to keep our eyes fixed on the simple ancient truths of natural, individual rights and natural law. We must discriminate between those who use force lawfully and those who use it unlawfully and act accordingly. We should distinguish between those who deal with honour and those who do not. Only by committing to virtue and nature’s laws will we have a functioning organic society.
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