Right

Assalam Alaikom,

Let’s kick start this article by specifying which of the various meanings of the title word is intended. I do not mean correct nor a direction nor an exclamation (Riiiight!!), nor good or truthful, nor perpendicular, even though it’s tempting to address all those subjects. I mean to discuss rights, as in constitutional and human rights. Now, I could have easily said that from the start but I opted not to. Not only so that I give those who took the trouble to visit this page two or three lines to read before they storm out the door in angry frustration, but also because it’s extremely tricky to define what is a right. To save you much needless discussions and differentiation, I will define it as Ayn Rand did, but bear in mind that this will differ in accordance with your perspectives of morality. “A right is a moral principle defining social relationships”, or another of the same meaning: “Rights are a moral concept- the concept that provides the logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others- the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society”.

By the nature of Man, there is only one fundamental basic right that all men are born with; that is Man’s right to his own life. All other rights are derived from this particular right. Man was given life, but to sustain it he has to work for it; to live, Man must work and produce the means for his livelihood; from this, comes the right to one’s own property, one’s own production and one’s right to the produce of his effort.

No matter what your definition may be, we can agree on two rules or concretes. One, is that those rights may never be taken away from any individual under any circumstance except when he violates the right of another individual. The other, if an individual’s right violates another individual’s right, then it wasn’t a right at all. Meaning, no man can have a right to kill other men, because it violates other men’s right for their own lives; no man could have a right to take another man’s property without equal payment, because it violates the other’s right to his own property. This brings us to the reason I write this article for; the false rights. Nowadays, and in the constitution we are about to approve, there were all kinds of demagogues discussing Man’s right to all kinds of luxuries. They speak of a man’s right to a home, a man’s right to a job, a man’s right to a healthcare and a man’s right to “Unemployment Aid إعانة البطالة”, avoiding, purposefully, the one fundamental question: At whose expense ?!.

Jobs, homes, education and money are the products of Man, the results of Man’s efforts. To give a man the right to the product of another is to turn the latter into a slave, to deprive him of his property, his means of survival, his life. No one man’s right may violate another man’s right, otherwise it’s no right to begin with. To give a man the right to a job, means to rob another of his earned one. To give a man unearned money, is to rob another of it. Just like Man has no right to happiness, only a right to freely pursue it, Man has no right to a job, he has the right to seek one. Man can live only by means of his effort. To take someone else’s effort is to rob him of his life. To give a group of people privileges, that are possible only at the expense of those that earned it, is a discrimination

Those who do not fully understand or choose to close their minds to understanding may proclaim that this is an exaggeration, that there will be no taking of products from anyone and that the state will pay for everything, but the answer to them is the the answer to the above mentioned question; the source of the state’s income, which is you. You will pay for it, willingly or otherwise, and the government will use brute force in order to get it from you if otherwise. An individual may uphold his rights, so long as he doesn’t violate others’ rights or use force against them; once he does, he forfeits his rights, becomes a criminal and we expect to be protected from him. Governments are the same. No individual or a group of people may initiate the use of force against another individual or group or violate their rights. If you want to help others, do so at your own expense, or with the voluntary consent of those that will aid you.

The worst of it is that people are starting to believe they hold a right to a job, a home and welfare money, and go out in protests heralding ‘Jobs or Unemployment Aid’ mottoes. They assume either that other individuals are responsible for them just for the mere fact that they exist, or that governments are to control and manage the individuals. They don’t realize or forget that the purpose of a government is not to control individuals and guide the distribution of their incomes, or what they call national resources and tax payers money, no, it is to serve the individual by protecting his rights; and the constitution protects the individual from the government overstepping its functions and violating Man’s rights. Man can live on a deserted island by himself and depending on his own effort enjoying the full application of his rights and fearing no violations of them, but he lives in societies for the benefits of knowledge and trade, in order to advance and improve the quality of his life. Governments are what protect his rights in that society, but they hold no power over him nor he any demands from it beyond their protection. Governments are, in essence, armed forces for protection against foreign enemies, police forces for protection against criminals, and a judiciary system to resolve conflicts among individuals based on the laws exacted in accordance with the constitution.

I will conclude by one of Ayn Rand’s lesser known quotes, that are most applicable to the present condition of this country: “‘For the good of the whole, sacrifice to the state’, whoever says that is or wants to be the state”.

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