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 anotherwithin this context, rights are an absolute.

A right is universalmeaning: 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 is only possessed by an individual.  Groups, as such, only possess rights granted to them by the individuals in a given group.  Groups (organizations, companies and governments) only possess rights that are derived from individuals who grant such groups the right to speak and/or act on their behalf.

A right must be exercised through your own initiative and action.  A right is not actualized and implemented by the actions of others.  It is not a claim on others.

It is said that time is money–and that is true.  More fundamentally, time is life. Your life is measured in time–and no one has the right to a second of your time without your permission.  You do not have the right to the time, money or property of another individual without that individual’s permission.

If someone steals your money, the time it took you to earn that money has been stolen.

If you wish to acquire some money from another person, you must earn itthen you have a right to it.  If you wish to gain some benefit from the time of another persons life, you must gain it through the voluntary cooperation of that individualnot through coercion.  If you wish to possess some item of property of another individual, you must buy it on terms acceptable to the ownernot gain it through theft or government coercion.

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 (let’s say, all are millionaires) 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, money or property.

Animals do not have rights.

Rights only apply to beings capable of thought, capable of defining rights and creating an organized meansgovernmentof 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 to you.

There is only one, fundamental right, the right to lifewhich is: the sovereignty to follow your own judgment, without anyones 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 and/or intellectual means needed for living.  Once you have earned it, then that particular property is yourswhich 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 joband, 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 lifeand 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 doaccording to statism. 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 elseexcept for those masters, statist politicians, who pull the strings and crack the whipsand exempt themselves from the rules they impose on others.

Actual rightsthose actions to which you are entitled by your nature as mangive you clear title to your life, liberty and property.  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.

Fulton Huxtable

May 29, 2014

© 2014

6 thoughts on “WHAT IS A RIGHT?

  1. Simply excellent. It would be my first wish that every member of humanity could read this, and my second that they would all take it to heart.

  2. John:
    Thanks for your comment. To help make your wish come true, let your friends know about this site. And follow me on Twitter

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