New ‘Rights’ are Wrong

I caught a few minutes of Neal Boortz’s show the other day and heard him reading from an article he’d found online and thought it was excellent so I looked it up.

The article was about what constitutes a “right” and was based on the author’s reading of another author’s article on the new healthcare “right” that liberals are talking about.

Here’s a link to the first article:
Brent Batten: New rights do make a wrong
Brent Batten: New rights do make a wrong

Here’s a link to the one Neal read parts from on air:
Guest commentary: New ‘rights’ are wrong by Don Richmond

Here’s a clip from Don’s article:

Brent Batten was absolutely correct in his column of March 25 when he stated there is no right to “the fruits of another group’s labor.”

The Declaration of Independence holds that rights are “self-evident.” However, it is the failure to grasp the true nature of rights which has brought this country to its current condition. It remained for the 20th-century philosopher Ayn Rand to explicitly identify rights as “moral principle(s) defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.” Rights pertain only to “freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. … Rights impose no obligations on (others) except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating (your) rights.”

The source of all rights is the right to life, and its sole implementation is the right to property, the right to use the products of your efforts to sustain your life. The rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the rights to enjoy your life and use your property. Rights are an objectively necessary requirement of human life, principles which apply equally to all persons and at all times. In sum, rights are freedoms for rational beings to take the actions necessary to fulfill and enjoy their lives. Any alleged “right” which violates these rights is not a right, but an excuse for a crime.

14 Responses to “New ‘Rights’ are Wrong”

  • buffy:

    Great article! I was just trying to put that into words, but Don Richmond did it beautifully.

  • James Davis:

    Frederic Bastiat's- The Law is an excellent book about man's rights and where they derive from. Ezra T. Benson would always refer to that Bastiat's writings when talking about rights and the relationship between God, man, and government.

    I enjoy a lot of Ayn Rand's works but she excludes an essential component when addressing the origin of rights- God. Ayn Rand was an atheist and she argued against Christ's teaching of service/selflessness but rather taught that selfishness is a virtue. I have major disagreements with her about these types of things but appreciate that her mind was able to develop some of the philosophies that she did.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    James, if only the rest of us could be as open to a variety of ideas as Ayn Rand.

  • Ash:

    The biggest flaw in these articles is that they promote the notion that the ability to gain wealth is greater than our responsibility to take care of our fellow man. Where in the constitution does it say that we have right to do as we please in order to gain wealth at the cost of everyone else around us? That is what the Founding Fathers were running from in Europe- an aristocratic society that helped the few over everyone else. They wanted ALL people to have a chance at gaining life, liberty, and the pursuit of property- not just a few at the expense of the many.
    The argument that we should never be burdened to give others rights is about the most selfish and inhumane thing I have heard. I do not support the Health care bill that was passed, but what is really the infringement on other people? it is a fiscal infringement and for some reason people think that is an unjust burden to have to pay for others to get something. Giving up some money to help others live a better life is a small sacrifice to be asked to make. Especially when the reason health care does cost so much is that people were left to their own devices to make such large profits from health care. What is really more important to this life- money or helping others?
    The same thing goes for illegal immigration. The ultimate argument against illegals is money- in other words who is getting the money. Now we are killing teenagers trying to cross into our border- sorry but I believe throwing rocks at a person should never be punishable by death, just look at the Boston Massacre. 17 people have been killed by our border patrol this year already compared to 15 all of last year and only 5 the year before that. Is our selfishness and greed so great that we are willing to take the lives of others to make sure our money stays in our pockets and can't go to someone else?
    I have read most of Ayn Rand's books and studied the Ayn Rand Institute website quite extensively. I used to subscribe to those ideals until life-experiences taught me that is not how the world can work. To put Objectivism as a hallmark to stand by is the most unChristian thing I could think of. The ring of Satan's desires for us are all over Ayn Rand's message.

  • James Davis:

    Ash,

    No doubt your heart is in the right place. I'm grateful to find people like you who place taking care of people over earning money. Though I have met many people who's sincere desire, when seeking money, is for the sole purpose of taking care of those who are in need. In my mind that is a noble endeavor. When I rub shoulders with people in the cause of liberty I find that people want to be free for a myriad of reasons-good, bad, and everything in between. I have no respect for a person who advocates freedom and property rights out of purely selfish or other unethical motivations. But just to be fair- there are a lot of people who are also motivated by selfish reasons; they advocate that the government take someone else's property for their own benefit.

    There is an important difference between these two people. The first, who desires to retain the fruits of their own labor, is not using the immoral means of force to get what they want. The second person is. There is a philosophy out there (not consistent with Christianity) which teaches that “the ends justify any means”. It is my belief that both the desired ends and the means we use to get to those ends should both be moral. That is why I oppose using the government to redistribute wealth. For this to happen government must forcefully take from one to give to another. That is not true charity, nor is it ethical. I believe that the condition of liberty is moral and that it also requires responsibility. I believe that we have the responsibility, as individuals, to take care of each other through every moral means possible. However…

    I believe that government cannot exist in peace if it acts as a positive force- granting special rights/privileges for particular groups/individuals while denying them for others.

    I believe that government should exist exclusively as a negative force- to be a defense mechanism, protecting each individual equally—their life, liberty, and property.

    I believe that rights are derived from God, not from government.

    I believe that the creator is superior to the creation. Since God created man, He is superior over him. Since man created government, he is superior over it.

    I believe that God-given rights include the right to life, the right and control of property and the peaceful free exercise of conscience; and that government may only deny these things justly to those who abuse the same for others.

  • Very well stated James!

  • Ash:

    James, You parrot Glenn Beck very well. The problem with your argument and the argument of all Libertarians is that reality and their Ideal don't match well. Having a sense of nostalgia for the past “glory” days is a good thing but trying to implement it doesn't usually work. Our nation is so different from even 50 years ago let alone 200 years that it is impossible to go back to when everything was hunky-dory. Besides, the time of the founding fathers was never as glorious for most people as Beck and Skousen try to make it out to be.
    While I do subscribe to the idea that government should be small and have little interference, I see that Capitalism's flaws have prevented government from being able to do that. Also, as much as I wish everyone would really be donating their time and money for the benefit of all men, I recognize that we as a nation have been terrible at doing it. When the people and businesses don't do their civic duty, the government will naturally step in and take over that responsibility.
    As for people being handed things and not valuing the fruits of their labor, it is not our place to judge. It is our place to give and help our fellow man and then leave it up to them and God as to how they use it. To withhold charity because you don't want people to live off the system is not our place as God's children. Imagine if God withheld from us his gifts if we weren't doing what he felt we should be doing!

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    It is the excesses of capitalism that have made the government the way it is. With capitalism comes a great responsibility. Health Care is a great example of where excesses are leading to a socialist takeover of the industry. Can the health care industry really think that double digit rises in the cost of health care not lead to blow back and further government interference? Much of the blame for our recent health care reform changes can be squarely attributed to the failure of capitalism in the private sector. Why do drug manufacturers charge so much for their medicines? Some of it is reinvested in new drug research, but the majority of profits are now going to investors who are not satisfied with just being profitable, but being ever more profitable by increasing margins, thereby driving the price of health care costs faster than the rate of inflation–putting it out of the reach of a growing number of people–leading to dissatisfaction and therefore government interference a.k.a. “socialism.” While pure Democracy can certainly lead to socialism, irresponsible capitalism can also lead to socialism just as quickly as history has shown.

  • Ash:

    Lewis, again you make a great point. The people have demanded government involvement in regulating capitalist industries since the end of the 19th century. How quickly people forget the working conditions of the industrial revolution and the way Free Market companies abused their employees, communities, and consumers. If you don't believe me then read “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair- a fiction novel based on reality and helped create the FDA. Since humans, including many Americans, have shown that Greed is the driving force in their lives they will do whatever it takes to gain more personal wealth. Way too often this has been at the expense of all those around them. I know that Libertarians believe that Capitalism should regulate itself, but it never has. Without government oversight and regulation we could once again have sawdust in our sausage; there would be almost no whales left in the oceans (government control of whaling has drastically increased the number of whales over the last 2 decades); corporations would continue to pollute ground water thereby killing or sickening people who have no control over the ground water that comes into their homes.
    There cannot be complete Capitalism. As you point out Lewis, the “excesses” of Capitalism cause the entrepreneurs to ignore the part of capitalism where they must be civically and socially minded. Even Adam Smith pointed out that if companies don't take care of society then they must be regulated. With Capitalism there is great responsibility and if that responsibilty is neglected the government must step in to protect its people. Over the years the people have demanded for government to step in and create a more socialist society and to be protected from capitalism.
    Personally, I really do wish that capitalism could have worked out and would create the dream it is supposed to. I did not like the government bailouts and stimulus package, but I also see that the effects of not having the government step in would have made our economy much worse. Yes businesses need to be allowed to fail. But what happens if a bank fails and businesses can longer get loans to keep growing or survive? The Great Depression is the answer. I am sure that some people would argue the Great Depression made our country stronger, but the amount of suffering that happened before WWII saved us from the depression should try to be avoided in the future at all costs.
    Unfettered capitalism will lead to socialism, not necessarily communism though. These paranoid fears of some that we are going to become communist are unfounded. Also, many of these same people who are saying we are generating this fear are pushing more people toward wanting a revolution. If that is the true desire of the Tea Party members then we should all be scared; not to mention that promoting overthrowing a government violates LDS doctrine.

  • This is exactly why the Founders said only a moral people can live in a Republic. Without morality being taught and encouraged, the “greed is good” mentality takes over when clearly the proper role of a people is to *choose* to help each other with true charity and a proper morality would include proper ethics which is the owner of a company giving a fair wage to employees.

    One other thing, no Tea Party group promotes the overthrow of the government. They are promoting an end to nonsensical spending in Washington.

  • James Davis:

    There was no reference to the past in my post. The principles which I am advocating aren't rooted out of nostalgia nor are they anachronistic as you imply they are. The principles of natural rights, voluntary charity, and liberty are, in my mind, eternal. They apply just as much today as they ever have or ever will. I am not parroting Glenn Beck. He is not my teacher and I have plenty of disagreements with him.

    “To withhold charity because you don't want people to live off the system is not our place as God's children.”

    I was not advocating withholding our charity. I was pointing out that charity is only charity when it is voluntary. When government forces people to involuntarily surrender their property to others that is properly called legal plunder. We should help those who are in need but we shouldn't force others to be “charitable” via government force. The government cannot create wealth. The only way government can give wealth is by forcefully taking it from other individuals.

    In regards to our economic system- where force, fraud, or injury damages one party- the government’s only legitimate role is to be a negative force- punishing the offender and vindicating the victim. Our government has neglected its proper role. In recent decades it has undertook a corporation/government alliance at the expense of the people. Much of what you see as the failure of the free enterprise system is actually not capitalism but corporatism.

    Also, you're absolutely right that a capitalist system doesn't guarantee that the needy will be taken care of. As Oak points out- a free people must be a moral people. But while we hear plenty from the media about the greed of this nation we rarely hear of the good. According to a recent Hudson Institute study Americans are the most generous with their own money than any other country and the private sector voluntarily gives more than double what the government takes for welfare programs. Imagine how much more Americans would be able to give to the needy if a large portion of their property wasn't being stolen by the government for someone else's “benefit”. Also, imagine how much less of a need there would be to take care of people if a system existed which incentivized hard work instead of indolence. There is still enough good in this country that the needy can be taken care of the right way- by free choice.

    “A liberal is very generous… with other people's money.”

  • James Davis:

    “…not to mention that promoting overthrowing a government violates LDS doctrine.”

    Disclaimer- I don't advocate a violent revolution. But to say that “overthrowing a government violates LDS doctrine” is only half true. Many members focus solely on the 12th article of faith:

    “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

    But few read it in context- D&C 134:5

    “We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected…”

    Allow me to re-emphasize when sedition and rebellion are unbecoming: When they are protected in their inalienable rights.

    So yes, overthrowing a government violates LDS doctrine…when that government is protecting its citizen's inalienable rights.

  • James Davis:

    There was no reference to the past in my post. The principles which I am advocating aren't rooted out of nostalgia nor are they anachronistic as you imply they are. The principles of natural rights, voluntary charity, and liberty are, in my mind, eternal. They apply just as much today as they ever have or ever will. I am not parroting Glenn Beck. He is not my teacher and I have plenty of disagreements with him.

    “To withhold charity because you don't want people to live off the system is not our place as God's children.”

    I was not advocating withholding our charity. I was pointing out that charity is only charity when it is voluntary. When government forces people to involuntarily surrender their property to others that is properly called legal plunder. We should help those who are in need but we shouldn't force others to be “charitable” via government force. The government cannot create wealth. The only way government can give wealth is by forcefully taking it from other individuals.

    In regards to our economic system- where force, fraud, or injury damages one party- the government’s only legitimate role is to be a negative force- punishing the offender and vindicating the victim. Our government has neglected its proper role. In recent decades it has undertook a corporation/government alliance at the expense of the people. Much of what you see as the failure of the free enterprise system is actually not capitalism but corporatism.

    Also, you're absolutely right that a capitalist system doesn't guarantee that the needy will be taken care of. As Oak points out- a free people must be a moral people. But while we hear plenty from the media about the greed of this nation we rarely hear of the good. According to a recent Hudson Institute study Americans are the most generous with their own money than any other country and the private sector voluntarily gives more than double what the government takes for welfare programs. Imagine how much more Americans would be able to give to the needy if a large portion of their property wasn't being stolen by the government for someone else's “benefit”. Also, imagine how much less of a need there would be to take care of people if a system existed which incentivized hard work instead of indolence. There is still enough good in this country that the needy can be taken care of the right way- by free choice.

    “A liberal is very generous… with other people's money.”

  • James Davis:

    “…not to mention that promoting overthrowing a government violates LDS doctrine.”

    Disclaimer- I don't advocate a violent revolution. But to say that “overthrowing a government violates LDS doctrine” is only half true. Many members focus solely on the 12th article of faith:

    “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

    But few read it in context- D&C 134:5

    “We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected…”

    Allow me to re-emphasize when sedition and rebellion are unbecoming: When they are protected in their inalienable rights.

    So yes, overthrowing a government violates LDS doctrine…when that government is protecting its citizen's inalienable rights.