The Proper Concept of Rights: For the Educated Idiots in the Philippines
What is the proper concept of rights? This is a very important question that most people take for granted these days. Most people believe that a right is an entitlement to anything and/or something. For instance, most people in this country, Philippines, claim they have a right to certain basic needs such as education, food, clothing, housing, health care, medicine, etc. If this is the case- if people have a right to “something”- then who will provide the goods and services they need?
The question I posed above is what most Filipinos ignore. Why? Perhaps because they believe that the word “rights” has no objective, proper meaning at all. For them, the word “rights” is like a bumper sticker or an expression they love to exploit whenever they feel the urge of wanting to take ‘something’ that’s not theirs. Perhaps they believe: “I have a right to “this” or “that” so back off!”
Now is the time to confront these kinds of people who still live in a world of fantasy. To these people, reality is not even percepts, but words. Words do not convey any objective meaning at all so they believe that “rights” is something they can comfortably use in certain situations. “I have a right to education so the government must provide it to me,” some people say. Others believe they have a right to affordable medicine and health care, so they ask their congressmen to introduce a bill that would compel drug stores and pharmaceutical companies to cut the prices of their commodities in the name of the poor and the common good.
When most educated people talk about these species of rights- and when students and graduates from the University of the Philippines and other so-called elite schools defend these alleged ‘rights’- that’s the time you start to witness the beginning of the collapse of our society. And these educated people believe they know what they’re talking about!
Most of our top politicians are products of these so-called elite schools, now look at the kind of system or social programs they created for our society. Yes, these educated elites shaped our ailing society in their own image. The kind of social system that we have right now is the product of their premises- of their beliefs- of their convictions- of their collective stupidity and ignorance. Yet they believe their being “graduates of elite schools” gives them the right to rule our lives according to their mangled, distorted understanding of reality.
The 1987 Constitution is the product of the collective ignorance and idiocy of our intellectuals in the past two decades, yet nobody dared to ask the right, proper, moral questions. It is true that many people, most of whom are interested politicians, would like to have our charter revised or amended, but are they asking the right, proper questions? Are they motivated by the right reasons?
Our semi-socialist, politically correct, progressive, protectionist Constitution needs to be amended (not revised) if this society is to survive. But before any revision can be made it is highly crucial to ask this fundamental question: “What is the proper concept of rights and what is the proper role of government?” The answer to this question is the only key to our collective salvation.
Some of the mangled, evil rights, which are in truth and in reality anti-rights, in our Constitution are as follows:
- Right to full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.
- Right to land (to be realized and implemented through agrarian reform program).
- Right of farmers, and landowners, as well as cooperatives, and other independent farmers to participate in the planning, organization, and management of the agrarian reform program.
- Right to agricultural support and other state-funded services.
- Right of subsistence and community fishermen to the preferential use of the communal and fishing resources.
- Right to affordable and decent housing and basic services.
- Right to affordable health and free medical care for paupers.
- Right of working women to safe and healthful working conditions.
- Right of independent people’s organizations to state protection.
- Right of all citizens to quality and accessible education at all levels.
- Right of every family to a family living wage and income.
It is important to understand that the above-mentioned political rights are consistent with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights encrusted with a lot of contradictions. These monstrous types of a “right” are the very reason why this country is now moving toward economic disaster and dictatorship. These twisted rights or anti-rights enforce obligation on other people. A right to education means that the state or the government must force other people to provide it. A right to health care or even reproductive health care means the government must employ the use of force to compel other people (e.g. businessmen and health care providers) to provide health care at the point of gun. A right to full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all means that the government must sacrifice or immolate the creators of wealth in the name of the greater good. A right to land reform program means that the government must disregard the property rights of successful individuals.
First, what is the proper function of the government and why is it very important to know this? Proper understanding of the nature and concept of government is the first step to establishing a free society. This is exactly what America’s founding fathers did, as they established a government whose powers are limited by law. This is why Thomas Jefferson said: “That government is best which governs least.” America started as a “limited government”, which is the political foundation of free-market capitalism.
What then is the proper function of government? Since the government holds a monopoly on the use of force, its only proper function is to protect individual rights. We need courts to protect our property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, and to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. We need the police to protect us from criminals and rights-violators. And we need the army to protect us from rebellion or foreign invaders. It’s not the role of government to provide the people with their basic needs. Proper understanding of economics tells us that the government is not a productive agency. It can only acquire wealth through taxation.
Second, it’s very important to know and understand the proper concept of rights. A “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. That in order for man to act freely and independently, he must have freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. However, our Constitution offers a distorted, perverted concept of rights as it warrants the people’s right to “something” that others produced or made possible through their personal, independent efforts. Does a right mean we are entitled to government welfare programs and services? If that’s the case, that means that we are entitled to the fruits of the productive labor of others through a state-imposed “redistribution of wealth.”
So what is the understanding of the thinkers of liberty and freedom-fighters of the concept of rights?
“A ‘right’ is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.
“The concept of individual rights is so new in human history that most men have not grasped it fully to this day.
“It was the concept of individual rights that had given birth to a free society. It was with the destruction of individual rights that the destruction of freedom had to begin.
“Any alleged ‘right’ of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.
“The term ‘individual rights’ is a redundancy: there is no other kind of rights and no one else to possess them.” – Ayn Rand in “Man’s Rights”
Man’s rights may not be left at the unilateral decision, the arbitrary
choice, the irrationality, the whim of another man.” – Ayn Rand in “The Nature of Government”
“Any group or ‘collective,’ large or small, is only a number of individuals. A group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members. In a free society, the ‘rights’ of any group are derived from the rights of its members through their voluntary, individual choice and contractual agreement, and are merely the application of these individual rights to a specific undertaking… A group, as such, has no rights.
“Any doctrine of group activities that does not recognize individual rights is a doctrine of mob rule or legalized lynching… A nation that violates the rights of its own citizens cannot claim any rights whatsoever. In the issue of rights, as in all moral issues, there can be no double standard.”
“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).” — Ayn Rand in “Collectivized ‘Rights”Man’s Rights” begins on page 108, and “Collectivized ‘Rights’ “ on page 118 of THIS BOOK.
“The end does not justify the means. No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others.”
– Ayn Rand, “The Cashing-In: The Student Rebellion,” Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
“Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational.” – Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged
“If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.” — Frédéric Bastiat, The Law
“Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty. The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” – John Adams
“If we buy into the notion that somehow property rights are less important, or are in conflict with, human or civil rights, we give the socialists a freer hand to attack our property.” – Walter E. Williams
“A right is a claim to freedom of action (including that of securing privacy) which is the basis for the ‘basic golden rule,’ which is: ‘Do nothing unto others you wouldn’t want them to do unto you,’ or, as Alfred the Great put it, “What ye will that other men should not do to you, that do ye not to other men.” (King Alfred’s Book of Laws, circa 878 AD, according to Winston Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples)
“Rights do not come from governments nor their Constitutions. They come from man’s nature (and/or, if you prefer, his Creator). Thus governments should be instituted among men to protect rights, not to grant them or to violate them.
“Without consistent recognition and protection of individual rights, no civilization can last long. People’s ability and willingness to simply live in close proximity to one another, let alone their ability and willingness to cooperate with one another, would be lost (Of course, the importance of rights is irrelevant to anyone who lives as a hermit in permanent isolation.). Anyone who uses even the tiniest product or benefit of civilization to advocate even the “tiniest” violation of human rights is guilty of perpetrating the fallacy of the stolen concept (in this case trying to use rights to deny rights), the inconsistency which destroys civilization, and all its benefits, in the long run (in effect using civilization to destroy civilization).”
– Rick Gaber
“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat hem equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” – F. A. Hayek
“Equality, in a social sense, may be divided into that of condition, and that of rights. Equality of condition is incompatible with civilization, and is found only to exist in those communities that are but slightly removed from the savage state. In practice, it can only mean a common misery.” – James Fenimore Cooper
“Machan shines as he exposes embarrassing contradictions of egalitarianism. Example: ‘If welfare and equality are to be primary aims of law, some people must necessarily possess a greater power of coercion in order to force redistribution of material goods. Political power alone should be equal among human beings; yet, striving for other kinds of equality absolutely requires political inequality.’ ” – from Jim Powell’s Review of Private Rights and Public Illusions by Tibor Machan
“Rights are the implementation of freedom, yet rights decide only one issue. They decide who gets to decide. … [The initiation of ] force is immoral. The use of force to achieve an objective, any objective, deprives the result of any morality at all. It degrades and demeans both the objective and the result.” – Tom and Linda Rawles
“…the question becomes, are you going to have everyone play by the same rules, or are you going to try to rectify the shortcomings, errors and failures of the entire cosmos? Because those things are wholly incompatible. If you’re going to have people play by the same rules, that can be enforced with a minimum amount of interference with people’s freedom. But if you’re going to try to make the entire cosmos right and just, somebody has got to have an awful lot of power to impose what they think is right on an awful lot of other people. What we’ve seen, particularly in the 20th century, is that putting that much power in anyone’s hands is enormously dangerous.”
– Thomas Sowell, in an interview in Salon11-10-99
“A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.” – Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774
“Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty, and is given him by the Author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance.” – Thomas Jefferson: Legal Argument, 1770
“What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.” — Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789
“It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.” — Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816
“The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime.” --Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816
“Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.” – Ayn Rand
“The function of rights is to keep society from riding roughshod over the individual. … Individual rights are inalienable–which means, they were not transferred to you by anyone or any government.” — Wayne Dunn
“The authority of government … can have no pure right over my person and my property but what I concede to it.” — Henry David Thoreau
“It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.” – Thomas Jefferson to Francois D’Ivernois, 1795
“Nothing… is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.” — Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824
“[Our] principles [are] founded on the immovable basis of equal right and reason.” – Thomas Jefferson to James Sullivan, 1797
“Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” — Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819
“Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolate. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture.” – Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765
“A right without an attendant responsibility is as unreal as a sheet of paper which has only one side.” – Felix Morley
“If your most basic right is the right to life, then it seems obvious to me that you have the right to defend your life. Guns are, in this century, the most effective means of doing so – so effective that every genocide has only been carried out against victims who were disarmed by their governments.” — William G. Hartwell
“As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” – James Madison, National Gazzette, 1792
To Secure Our Rights
“The Founders established a government to secure individual rights because they believed, with Locke, that justice requires communities to recognize our moral agency. We have a personal responsibility to run our own lives. Governments are established among men to procure, preserve, and protect a realm in which that moral agency may be freely exercised.
“Enter the bad guys, stage left.
“Those who sought to retain some elements of the political outlook that Locke’s theory had overthrown—namely, the view that people are subjects of the state (in fact, belong to the state)—found a way to expropriate and exploit the concept of human rights to advance their reactionary position, just as they expropriated and exploited the concept of liberalism. (Yes, Virginia, Karl Marx was a reactionary!)
“Riding on purloined prestige, they perverted the concept of individual rights at its root so that it came to mean not liberty from others but service from others. Who needs the right to pursue happiness when one has the right to be made happy (even if the thus-extracted “happiness” should render the indentured providers of it miserable)?
This was a view of rights that wiped moral agency right out of existence. Positive rights are thus nothing more than mislabeled preferences, or values, that people want the government to satisfy or attain for them—by force”— Tibor Machan
“All rights, including the right to free speech, are parts of a unified whole—they are derivations from the fundamental right to life, and obliteration of one of them is an eventual obliteration of them all.” – Carter Laren
“There is no such thing as Gay Rights, Women’s Rights, or Minority Rights. The only rights that exist are Human Rights, those that apply to ALL people. Any ‘rights’ that apply only to certain groups are privileges that they are attempting to obtain by mislabeling them as rights.” – John Dobbins
“Observe that all legitimate rights have one thing in common: they are rights to action, not to rewards from other people. The American rights impose no obligations on other people, merely the negative obligation to leave you alone. The system guarantees you the chance to work for what you want — not to be given it without effort by somebody else. The right to life, e.g., does not mean that your neighbors have to feed and clothe you; it means you have the right to earn your food and clothes yourself, if necessary by a hard struggle, and that no one can forcibly stop your struggle for these things or steal them from you if and when you have achieved them. In other words: you have the right to act, and to keep the results of your actions, the products you make, to keep them or to trade them with others, if you wish. But you have no right to the actions or products of others, except on terms to which they voluntarily agree.” – Leonard Peikoff, in “Health Care is Not a Right”
“The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.” — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas”
“They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone–the most prehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.” – Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (Olmstead v. U.S.)
“The right to be let alone is the underlying principle of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.” — Erwin N. Griswold
“A man’s rights are not violated by a private individual’s refusal to deal with him.” — Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness
“One must be free from persecution for one’s political views, from being arbitrarily imprisoned, or from having one’s property seized. Such rights are crucial to human life. Men cannot learn, make new discoveries, forge long-range plans, or enjoy the rewards of their effort, if they live under the constant threat of being looted, imprisoned, or murdered. … In a truly Orwellian climax, the [U.N.'s] Declaration brazenly upholds, as an example of man’s rights and freedoms, the individual’s duty to serve the state.” — Robert W. Tracinski in The U.N.’s Distortion of Rights
“Every group is predicated on the existence of the individual. When the individual is sacrificed, in whole or in part, the group suffers. Protect the inalienable rights of the smallest minority — the lone individual — and all minorities as well as the majority will be protected.” – Zon
“Rights are based on moral agency and the assumption of reciprocity. Those who choose not to respect rights don’t get theirs respected in return … it’s classic tit for tat. It’s like advocating tolerance for everyone but the intolerant, or violence only toward the violent. Unconditional tolerance or nonviolence is not sustainable, and unconditional respect for rights (for those who disrespect them) is unilateral ethical disarmament. ” – Matt McIntosh
“Multiculturalism is social poison. Toleration of intolerance isn’t sophistication. It’s suicide.”– Jack Kelly
“Some folk have access to better dentists or whatever because they are richer. That may annoy someone who cannot afford the whitest teeth, but that is not proof of unfairness, as such. To prove it, one would have to construct an ethical theory that says that humans have an apriori claim on their fellows to receive a certain amount of healthcare/watever as a “right”. But such “rights” are abuses of the term: one cannot have a right to X that requires that another be forced to provide X, such as forcing folk to train as doctors to serve the sick, and so on [or even forcing ANYone else to pay for it -- ed.].” – Jonathan Pearce
“If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.” – Ayn Rand
“Any alleged ‘right’ of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.”- Ayn Rand