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Post by alisonfletch »

The Theory of Rights
“In short, is not liberty the freedom of every person to make full use of his faculties, so long as he does not harm other persons while doing so?”

— Frederic Bastiat
“They’ll be no peace in the world until every man is free, because to every man, he is the world.”

— unattributed
“The true character of liberty is independence, maintained by force.”

— Voltaire
“The last end of the state is not to dominate men, nor to restrain them by fear; rather it is so to free each man from fear that he may live and act with full security and without injury to himself or his neighbor. The end of the state, I repeat, is not to make rational beings into brute beasts and machines. It is to enable their bodies and their minds to function safely. It is to lead men to live by, and to exercise, a free reason; that they may not waste their strength in hatred, anger and guile, nor act unfairly toward one another. Thus the end of the state is really liberty.”

— Spinoza
In my 2010 book, For Individual Rights, I presented a new theory of liberty that defined natural rights in empirical terms and gave a common-sense moral argument for why they should be respected. In some sense this book is an expansion on my previous argument that makes it more rigorous. In this chapter, I will provide a complete definition of natural rights, and provide a rational moral argument for them that is complimentary to the argument I gave in Metaethics.

Many people believe that natural rights are arbitrary, that they are just a human construct with no objective, rational basis. Part of the reason why is that the definitions of natural rights usually offered are unclear. I’m going to rejuvenate the idea of natural rights in this chapter creating a new perspective on them that makes the idea fall perfectly into place, thereby providing a solid foundation for political philosophy.

What Natural Rights are...

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