In short, you;re saying that if one last man was left alive on earth, he would still have rights? If yes, what does this mean in concrete terms "to have rights"? Is there some way to describe this state or to compare it with something analogous?
I am sure you agree that possessing individual rights essentially means one be left alone by Society.
(i.e., 'negative rights'.) Therefore, outside of society, no rights are needed.
But, in this imagined asocial context, and preceding it, what value does an individual own?
Rand's statement "It is on a desert island that you would most need it" pertained
to O'ist rational morality. But a morality based on what, and for what purpose?
I take her meaning to be not only that this man would have to survive physically, (finding food, shelter and so on) - but first and foremost that he would have to survive *metaphysically*:
i.e. continuing to perceive value in himself, in his hard existence outside society,
and completely alone.
Which means, by preserving his very sanity: his mind.
One could present extremes such as this deserted island - or, say, a totalitarian State - in which individual rights are either redundant, or abolished, but fact is - in the metaphysical sphere - we are all alone anyway, and always: Within a 'normal' society, equally as in any place and time.
This fact permeates Rand's literature and essays, implicitly mostly.
(I think, like Leonid submits, that she took this as "self-evident", and assumed her readers would as well.)
Such metaphysical 'aloneness' (or total autonomy) of man figures as a large component of her starting point for Objectivist morality, therefore, Objectivism's political rights, don't you agree?
The "good news" is self-evident too. Even given this, (our fundamental nature) through awareness, volition and action, our lives can be as rich with value and people, as we want them to be.
Which, very simply, all the rest of Rand's philosophy is taken up with: ..."to enjoy yourself, and live." (Conveniently quoted at the bottom of the page, as I write.)
Edited by whYNOT, 26 April 2012 - 06:58 AM.