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Devil's Advocate

The Inherent Rights and Forbearance of Individuals

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Hello again,

I have been considering the reality of an inherent right, as suggested by the DOI.  Those who have exchanged ideas with me in the past know of my appreciation for Ayn Rand and her philosophy, and my attempts to integrate it with Locke, Jefferson and ideas expressed the founders of our country.  In the midst of today's political upheaval, there has been much discussion (but less understanding, IMO) about the nature of rights.  What follows is an attempt on my part to establish a baseline by which "a right to" anything might follow.  AR defined rights primarily in a social context, which I believe left a gap between the man on an island and men in general.  The following is my attempt to bridge that gap, and (as always) I'll appreciate any feedback that you'd care to offer.

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A right is freedom of action, which implies having the ability to exercise or refrain from exercising it. A right with no ability to exercise it is useless, and a right with no ability to refrain from exercising it is a compulsion. Common examples are freedom of speech and the right to remain silent. Derived from an ability to communicate, speech exercises a right and silence forbears it.

Inherent rights are the freedoms necessary to exercise inherent abilities. Thus having an inherent ability for movement implies an inherent right of movement, and this (existent) right is made apparent (self-evident) when self-governing movement occurs. Inherent rights are also considered inalienable from individuals because, following the prior examples, the voice and movement of one cannot be transferred to another even by force.

When individuals form or enter into communities, representatives are often called upon to regulate their activities. But the legitimacy of governance depends entirely upon the voluntary forbearance of the individuals being governed. Because governance is a service to individuals, and not the other way around, when governors fail to recognize and secure inherent rights, the responsibility falls back to individuals to exercise their independence.

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17 hours ago, Devil's Advocate said:

A right is freedom of action, which implies having the ability to exercise or refrain from exercising it. A right with no ability to exercise it is useless, and a right with no ability to refrain from exercising it is a compulsion. Common examples are freedom of speech and the right to remain silent. Derived from an ability to communicate, speech exercises a right and silence forbears it.

I think you (improperly) combined two senses of the word "right" that should be left as two separate concepts. One is what people refer to as one's needs to flourish among others, needs that should never be denied. For Rand, this is based off of man's nature and his survival needs, and these needs are irrevocable lest we start living by the laws of the jungle. 

The other sense of "right" is an agreement or acknowledgment that within organizations or government operations, there are things you are promised or offered to keep it running well. Speech per se is not an irrevocable right, there are times when speech is making a threat, or means to incite violence. There are reasons to allow a -general- right to speech, if for no other reason than major regulation would in fact violate your means to live. It isn't unreasonable to ban possession of child pornography, but if the law to do so included a broad "whatever one deems to be offensive" that would impinge on all communication. Speech though has no special status, not any more than a right to vote - its purpose is maintaining a pro-individual country even if it isn't required by your nature.

EDIT: See this act and its subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/104th-congress/senate-bill/314

http://www.emcp.com/intro_pc/reading18.htm

Edited by Eiuol

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As a freedom of action, I believe the word right is as appropriate as the word proper to describe the freedom necessary to accomplish a physical action, and I defend this term as part of the action itself because it's descriptive of an ability in action.  Seeing legs, for example, doesn't indicate what legs can do, but seeing walking does.  One immediately understands the freedom necessary to walk, and that binding legs negates their proper action.  So I believe it's fair to say that inherent abilities demonstrate inherent rights sufficiently enough to posit them as an existent part of the nature of man by the law of identity.

As to the SCOTUS appeal, my position is that having the right to do something doesn't imply every action is harmless.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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