You Really Don’t Have the Right
Since we’ve established that Rights are a way of disguising Liberalism as Natural Law, we need to figure out what we actually mean when we talk about Rights; and also how to talk about them accurately.
The first thing to do is to expunge from your mind the idea that you have any rights, in fact, at all. Let’s look at this with a classic example of rights:
You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. With these rights in mind, are you still willing to talk with me about the charges against you?
Rights are things the Government is willing to let you do. Replace “You have the Right” to “The Government will allow you” and you get the real meaning of Rights. In fact, lets re-examine the Miranda Rights with this modification.
The government will allow you to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law. The government will allow you to have an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you by the court. With this in mind, are you still willing to talk with me about the charges against you?
The government can just as easily not allow you any of these rights. But the government has voluntarily limited itself with these rules.
So in essence, we are talking about two things when we are talking about Rights.
- Natural Law, those things granted to us by God and not authorized or permitted by anyone except God, the infringement of which is an offense not just against Man, but against God.
- Those things that the Government voluntarily allows it’s citizens as a method of limiting itself and granting deference to the populace.
And these ideas should not be commingled. So I am going to refer to Natural Law as Natural Law since there is already a word for that and it makes sense. I’m going to refer to the second definition as “privileges”, because that more accurately captures the idea that this is something the Government doesn’t have to allow, but does.
Exploding a perfectly good idea
Now let’s take this idea of privileges and put it in the context of so-called human rights. When people talk about human rights, they are trying to talk about privileges tolerated by government and disguise them as Natural Law. The Natural Law is indeed endowed by God and granted to all people regardless of belief, nationality, etc. All humans, after all, have a certain dignity. But the privileges can only be granted by government. Human Rights are often discussed in international contexts as a way of condemning a certain authority. Like Saudi Arabia, or Israel. the UN in particular likes to complain that those two countries are violators of Human Rights for various reasons. They are saying one of two things:
- You do not grant your citizens the same privileges that we grant our citizens, and therefore you should be condemned.
- You do not grant your citizens those privileges we as a governing body insist you grant your citizens, and therefore you should be condemned.
You see the problem, now. If they are speaking from the first perspective, they do not have the authority to compel nations to comply with their conception of citizen privileges. Nor does this international body act as an overriding authority for a particular sovereign nation.
Rights then, are the insidious way of attempting to compel other nations (in this context) to limit itself. One nation cannot compel another to limit itself but through conflict, which is all forms of conflict up to and including war.
Rights are a good bedtime story, a feel good thing that makes citizens feel warm and fuzzy and powerful. Citizens would not be so at ease if they spoke about them accurately.