PostHeaderIcon Natural Right – The Condensed Version

At the risk of being boringly repetitive, I offer again my view of natural right, distilled down to its very essence:

Each and every individual human being has the unalienable right to do whatever they wish, whenever they wish – so long as, in doing so, they do not deny another human being that same right. Any human being that knowingly and intentionally limits the right of any other human being thereby forfeits whatever right the offender was otherwise heir to.

This seems to me a simple, all encompassing rule that any human being with the ability to think can clearly understand. An entire body of law condensed to two short sentences.

Disagreement or contrary opinions eagerly solicited.

Troy L Robinson

9 Responses to “Natural Right – The Condensed Version”

  • Nice try, Troy, but too broad, simple, and all encompassing. It won’t work in a modern civilized culture.

    I can think of countless behaviors an individual might wish to engage in, which his neighbors would have good cause to object to and interfere (even forcefully) with his exercise of such a right, even though said objectionable behavior did not limit their own freedom to do whatever they wished.

    Examples? All manner of parental prerogatives that might offend the sensibilities of his neighbors. Many disagree over what constitutes child abuse, yet whatever one’s threshold might be, once crossed it is difficult to just ignore as parental rights.

    Public nudity. How about down Main Street during a holiday parade?

    Pointless animal cruelty. Flogging his horse might arguably be nobody else’s business; but how could anyone just ignore him methodically decapitating a litter of yelping puppies on the town square?

    Or, how about having sex with his favorite ewe there at high noon? Or setting up a stand to sell heroin to children. Or…

    You get the idea. If we wish the benefits of living in a cooperative community, we must forego any theoretical right we might have to offend the sensibilities of others. To claim these necessarily suppressed ‘rights’ as fundamental, is to diminish or obliterate the value of the very concept of ‘natural rights.’ 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

    • Chris says:

      I usually recoil a bit when someone uses a term like “offend the sensibilities of others” however I do realize that that is just the effect of a relatively recent ascent of “hyper sensitivity”. Realizing that there are some actions that are egregious to the point that no one should be forced to witness it gets me past that.

      Indeed if one wishes to participate in a “cooperative community” you have to be willing to forego some rights if only to not alienate that community. The key word there is cooperative. On the up side you can also seek out or create a community where certain rights may be acceptable. A good example would be public nudity. There are in fact communities where parading down Main St. in your birthday suit is an every day thing and even encouraged. Those communities are actually sub communities out of sight of the community whole and as long as you keep it there nobody save a few busy body nuts give a darn. Granted finding a place where cutting off puppies heads would be acceptable would be a much farther trip but the place probably exists. Only problem there is you would have to live with the rest of a culture that would condone such a thing. weigh your cost/benefit carefully. 🙂

      Humans are social creatures and to live as such some concessions have to be made if only to preserve a social connection.

    • Troy says:

      Public nudity. How about down Main Street during a holiday parade?

      My experience is that the folks most likely to practice public nudity and the very ones you most wish would remain clothed.

      Note that I was addressing the notion of Natural Rights. Those lesser rules that we agree to in order to smooth the operation of civilization are, IMHO, best addressed by cultural and social conventions which are, and, of necessity should be, fluid. Natural Rights, on the other hand, should be quite fixed and rigid.


      • Yes, I know you were speaking of natural rights, which is why I objected to your attempt to broadly include “unalienable right to do whatever they wish, whenever they wish” under that heading. Were there no need to coexist with others, there would be no need for any concept of rights at all. That is what they are all about. If such matters are easily negotiable, you might as well leave off the caveat about not denying others their own wishes, to really get down to the basics.

        As you have stated it, the proposition could get circular and meaningless rather quickly. If by interfering with your freedom to do anything you wish, such as profit by selling heroin to my children, I forfeit my own claim to any natural rights, what good are they to anyone?

        To dismiss my examples as merely minor details of coexistence, which need to be sorted out amicably with one’s neighbors, negates any value real rights might have. For instance, I reckon I have a natural right to self-defense, and to arm myself for that purpose. Yet, perhaps a majority of my neighbors would disagree.

        Now we are probably able to come to agreement on public nudity, or even child abuse; but we might be intransigent regarding gun control. If self-defense is accepted as a right, I win the argument. If it is not, they do. In making a persuasive argument, however, I suspect I would need to offer more than, “I have an unalienable right to do whatever I wish, whenever I wish.” 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

        • Troy says:

          OK, I surrender. In my pea brain, most of the examples you give would constitute ME treading on YOUR rights, which I seek to prohibit. But I take your point that we humans are incurable nitpickers such that my simple proposal would not do, however correct I think it is in principle.


        • 🙂 Nitpickers or literalists. I understand what you were trying to say in principle, and agree with your intent., 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

        • Chris says:

          The argument over whether to have guns. “You don’t want them? I have one. I win. 😉

        • Troy, do you remember me teaching you how I had a “mismatcher” mind? When presented with an idea, it just naturally assumes it is being asked to find the hidden flaw. Here, let me show you…

          Chris, that argument too, is OK in principle; but the cowards have hired guns to protect them and collect the taxes, who are better armed than you are,

          See what I mean? 🙂 â—„Daveâ–º

        • Chris says:

          Exactly my point. A right is only as good as the length someone is willing to go to exercise it in the face of opposition.

          I have often mused at the very common statement “I would die for my freedom”. That is a statement of fools. What good is freedom to a dead man? A more accurate statement might be “I would fight for my freedom and and accept the odds that somebody else dies for it”. If the right of freedom were an equitable trade off for the right of life (the ultimate right because without it the rest are useless) there would never be a prisoner of war, incarcerated criminal, or captive slave anywhere in the world.

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