There is no such thing as rights. As George Carlin once said—“We made them up. Like the boogie man.” There is only Truth and Death…and I define Death as anything which denies the Truth; and I define Truth as the whole of ideas which do not contain or imply contradiction.
But that’s a separate issue.
For now, let’s just say that, speaking of rights, for example, mankind must freely associate or it must die. Man’s singular “I”, or “Self”—his absolute awareness of an utterly singular existential frame of reference—implies an incompatibility with forced ethics, and “forced ethics” means Law. And authoritarian-compelled restricting and compelling association is a cornerstone of Law, despite what the ideals of western democracies might tell us. Under law, then, man is made a slave. And slavery will destroy the Individual because it demands that the Singular Self commit itself to a frame of reference outside itself—to an external will, or “Authority”, which it cannot possibly do because it is, itself, the Singular frame of reference for Reality and Existence. The Self, then—man, the Individual—will thus necessarily be crushed to dust by Law, as punishment for inherent disobedience or as a product of Its own futile attempt to obey, where obedience is impossible because it requires a denial of Self, which the Self cannot do because, again, it is absolute.
In an ultimately pointless and vain attempt to mitigate the Law’s fatal flaw, “rights” are employed as a political solution. In other words, “rights” are a function of the Law, not the other way around, as most of us assume. Despite the perhaps benevolent intentions of rulers, rights are merely a transfer of the indiviudal’s existential political-moral status and station in Reality as a general, categorical, natural principle of his life to the State. The State, being the Authority over man, must then define man’s rights for him; and having defined them, must thus dictate them. And “dictated rights” is one of the head-scratching oxymorons which nevertheless implicitly forms the backbone of all “enlightened” democracies. Since the State by definition has Authority over man, because it is Authority by definition, being the practical incarnation and motivation of the Collective Ideal (e.g. the People), it will necessarily then have Authority over all of man’s “natural rights” which are said to be a function of his existence. It is a noble attempt at merging individual freedom and collectivist sociology , but clearly this cannot work. Man outsources his rights to the State, which exists to govern man. It governs man because he is, by nature, incapable of governing himself, as an individual, pursuing moral living via his individual will and choice alone. Man as an individual is depraved…societies functioning thus by strictly voluntary association with no central authority to compel behavior must then collapse into exploitation, chaos, and death. Because of this inherent natural depravity—the inability to manifest a moral society through the will alone, without Law—whatever good man can “possess” must be dictated to him by the Authority in spite of himself. His “natural rights” then are whatever the State decides they should be at any given moment. To claim that man, who is not good in and of himself, which is why he must have government to compel his behavior, has an inherent morality which implies rights which should be safeguarded in order that he not become a victim of government tyranny is a complete contradiction in terms.
To put it frankly, rights are nothing more than a form of political expediency. Man, being depraved in nature, has no individual rights. Further, the concept of “natural human rights” implies that man should possess some form of existential autonomy. But that autonomy is incompatible with the State, which exists specifically to compel man’s behavior against his will. So by what logic do we say that the State can possibly recognize an individual’s rights?
To square this circle:
The State defines man’s rights for man; and since the State is Authority, these rights are therefore entirely dictated by the State, making them in practice, if not also in theory, a direct consequence of the State, and not of man’s own natural existence. And notice how everyone in society who is clamoring for this right or that at any given moment is concordantly demanding that it be enforced—canonized by Law, and thus thrust into the category of “that which shall be obeyed or forfeit your life”. Rights and government violence are not only politically hand-in-hand, they are undeniably corollary.
“Rights”, therefore, far from being a marker of a benevolent State safeguarding and championing the cause of individual liberty, is merely a digestif given to the people to make government tyranny easier to absorb. And the irony should not be lost on us that that which claims it exists to uphold and secure our “natural rights” is that which cannot exist without completetely dismissing them.
Property rights? Taxes obliterate the very notion.
Speech rights; rights of association; privacy? I am not permitted to reject the Authority of the ruling class…I am bound by the coercive, legal obligation to obey the outcome of the vote, no matter how unjust or stupid or pointless or irrational it may be, otherwise I forfeit my life…thus all my “rights” to speech, privacy, association, property are subordinated to the governed (coerced) society at all times and in all circumstances. I am a slave to the Collective Ideal forced upon me by the Agency of Violence known as the State. I have no individual rights as far as it is concerned, because I, myself, do not exist and do not matter as far as it is concerned.
This is not hyperbole…it is not a screed or a conspiracy theory or some hypothetical injustice. This is what the metaphysics—the fundamental philosophical primaries—necessitate. There is only an immutable, inexorable, inevitable, and immediate consequence of the organization of society, and by extension Reality on the whole, under the umbrella of institutionalized Authority: the marginalization and suppression of the Individual.
The concept of “rights” is merely politcal bromide…lubricating us up to smooth the application of tyranny.
The very fact that in the “enlightened” American democracy we need to insert “rights” as a hedge against what the Founding Father’s admitted was inherent government tyranny illustrates the inherent evil of government. And from this we can extrapolate the futility of rights. Because government is Authority and Authority is force, and Authoritative force is manifest by the supremacy of violent power, rights cannot possibly serve as a hedge against excessive government power. Also, there is no such thing as an excess of power from that which exists, fundamentally, to wield power absolutely.
And here we therefore must ask the obvious question begged:
Without government what need is there of rights? My objective existence, objectively as an individual, is why I am free. Your individuality is why you are free. Government can only serve to nullify that freedom, then, not manifest it. When we consider reality from the perfectly rational, morally perfect frame of reference of individualist metaphysics, then freedom is a metaphysical fact, not a right.
Finally, we say that rights exist as a necessary hedge against government, and this because government, being Authority in essence, is tyrannical by nature. Therefore, think about this: Since government is the monopoly of coercive force, which is legal violence, and legality (as opposed to morality) is the ethical plumbline of societies which are governed by institutionalized Authority, then rights cannot possibly serve the purpose for which they are ostensibly intended. That is, rights do not, and cannot, and shall not, and should not (if we are being consistent in our logic) protect us from or serve as a hedge against that (the State) which exists specifically to compel man against and in spite of his own will/choice into his legal obligation. The very fact that man does not get to choose to follow the Law is proof of the implicit assumption of legal ethics that man’s will is insufficient to ethical existence. Thus, who man wills to associate with, or what he wills to speak, or what he wills to own, or wills to pay is entirely subordinate to government Authority. Rights thus— to free speech or free association, movement or property, etc—are a complete fabrication with regard to bulwarking the individual against government oppression and suppression.
Rights at best are a well-intentioned palliative, which serves to do nothing more for the individual than encourage him to passively accept the State; to make it appear as though the State has anything of any value, practical or philosophical, to offer the individual, instead of revealing the truth, which is that the State and the Individual are mutually exclusive agencies.