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Objectivism Online Forum


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  1. To softwareNerd: I am refering to the essay "man's rights" in the virtue of selfishness and to chapter 10: "government" subchapter "individual rights as absolute" in objectivism: the philosophy of Ayn Rand. To DavidOdden: thank you! That was clarifying to me. I had been struggling with the issue of rights for weeks and it all makes sense now. Until I read your comment about a pile of atoms, I wasn't even aware of the implicit mind/body dichotomy in my first post. I realize now that the rights to property and to the pursuit of happiness are two sides of the same coin, property in the material realm and pursuit of happiness in the spiritual realm. Even if the rights to life, liberty, property are recognized, I see now that a majority could vote that the purpose of my actions has to be for god or for society instead of for myself, which would be evil.
  2. My understanding of Ayn Rand is that individual rights are there to protect the individual from the collective. From that perspective, it is obvious that my right to life has to be a right. Otherwise, a majority could vote to kill me, just as the Athenians voted to kill Socrates. The right to liberty also has to be a right, because otherwise a majority could vote to put me in jail even if I haven't infringed on anyone else's rights. The right to dispose of the product of my work must be a right as well. What good is it if I am free to think and act on my thoughts, but if a majority votes to confiscate everything I produce ? This would be incompatible with the requirements of life. So far, so good. What I have trouble understanding is why the right to the pursuit of happiness has to be a right. I don't see what a majority could vote that would prevent me from pursuing my happiness if I already have the rights to life, liberty, property. Was Ayn Rand only trying to echo the declaration of independence ? Or is there a better reason ? Thanks in advance to anyone who could explain it to me, or point me to another thread if the question has already been answered. And sorry for any language mistake as I am not a native english speaker.
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