Our New Rights



She said that she supported Obamacare because it was a positive right. She said it was better than the Bill of Rights because positive rights were better. In fact, she said, the whole Bill of Rights is stupid because it is a charter of negative liberties.

I hate that way of describing rights. It illuminates nothing and causes simple things to be confused.

Philosophers and political scientists make a distinction between negative and positive rights (not to be confused with the distinction between negative and positive liberties). According to this view, positive rights usually oblige action, whereas negative rights usually oblige inaction. These obligations may be of either a legal or moral character. The notion of positive and negative rights may also be applied to liberty rights.

Pardon me. I bored myself to death for a second. Clear as ink. One would have to be arrogant, though, to think he could improve on the lesson taught in our universities. Am I that arrogant? Of course I am.

Rights come down to two types: Free rights and slave rights.

Free rights are those that cost nothing. All that is required is for no one to interfere with you. As in ‘Congress shall make no law….’ It is the old, independent ‘just get out of my way’ attitude.

Slave rights are the attractive ones. Rights to housing, or health care, or a spouse. Practical things we want.

But in order to get these things we have to enslave others, just a bit. If I have a right to housing, then I can demand somebody build me it. If I demand a doctor help me as is my right, then he must give up part of his life for a demanding petitioner. I don’t have to trade with him. I can demand from him. Beggars can be choosers.

If I buy a cake from a baker, it is a free exchange which he may refuse. If I demand a ‘Chthulu is the Only God’ cake with green tentacles from a Moslem baker lest I have the state put him out of business…. Well, I have just enslaved him a bit for my own pleasure. And there are those who take orgasmic pleasure in using the law to push others around. Legal Bullying. There are those who enjoy law because it gives them power which they don’t possess in themselves.

Do I have the right to demand some one think of me in a particular manner. Can I be required to call Bradley Manning Chelsea? That is an enslavement that the Czar could not enforce. Some of the new rights don’t just enslave the body but also the mind.

Now we come to the wasp in the ointment.

Some people can demand that free rights become slave rights. I have the right to an abortion. I don’t care if you are morally opposed. I don’t care if it’s against your Hippocratic Oath. You must provide it. Those who originally supported homosexual marriage couldn’t understand the resistance. I believe that many people thought that somehow a free right would come to enslave them. They were right. This says nothing about marriage rights. It is about the current political climate and the pushiness of the Left.

Nobody really wants to hire an uninspired artist. Or an ill-inspired artist. Imagine forcing a tattoo artist to make a tattoo which violently insults the artist!  Imagine the uninspired photographs of your long dreamt-of  wedding if you force the photographer. Artistry is inspired. It is occasionally purchased. Art is not bullied.

No this is about punishment. Domination.

In a free society this would not be an issue. We would not be looking for the hidden whip hand.


2 comments on “Our New Rights

  1. Dan says:

    That first paragraph, with the negative liberties comment, was painful for me to read. When people use language like that I have barely suppressed homicidal impulses.

    I think your explanation of free and slave liberties is spot on. I am still trying to reconcile where the line is in a modern society. On the one side, you have the extreme leftist state. A psychedelic 1984 where everyone is taken care of by the government and all “freedom” is carefully regulated so as to not offend anyone’s sensibilities. On the other side, you have a situation where any government is effectively a use of force against the individual by the masses. Self determination for everyone. All individual liberty is guaranteed through… threat of force by the individual. I don’t have an answer yet, but I am searching.

  2. […] A post from a friend’s blog…Source: Our New Rights « A Longer View […]

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