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If rights are “natural,” why are they seldom respected?

In a discussion on another thread, Faithkills and I were discussing the statist religion and various related matters, and we got into the issue of natural rights. He suggested that “We know everyone has [natural rights], [because] we can observe a universal trope that everyone does feel they have a right to life, liberty, and property.”

This got me thinking: If the way “everyone feels” is valid evidence that everyone possesses natural rights, then . . . why isn’t the present state of the world – mostly unfree and getting WORSE – valid evidence that those “natural rights” to life, liberty and property – are not natural at all? By all available evidence, mankind universally submits to Authority. Freedom is NATURAL? Give me a break! SLAVERY is natural! It’s a failing that goes back to Biblical times, when the Jews demanded a king, to be like other nations. If men universally desire freedom, WHY ARE WE SO UNFREE? If “natural rights” are so “natural” and “universal,” then WHY ARE THEY SO RARELY RESPECTED by those we allow to rule us? Look at the damned world!

My own explanation: : Men are born without instinctive knowledge – but they must somehow acquire knowledge which they NEED in order to live and function within their social environment. This is mostly done by receiving instruction from parents, teachers, and various religious “authorities.” Thus are we taught to have respect for “Authority,” from our infancy. We are not raised to be self-responsible, self-motivated, independent-minded people; we are taught to do as we’re told and to believe as we’re told. We are not taught to be free; we are taught to obey.

It was not always thus. Once children were expected to help with household chores and family businesses from a young age, because of an age-old truth:

Parents bring children into the world helpless and ignorant, unable to survive independently. That is a great injury, which the parents are morally bound to rectify by teaching their children how to live in the world as independent, self-respecting, worthwhile adults. That is the ONE paramount debt that all parents owe their children. Once upon a time, children were taught to value hard work and they were taught the morality of love and trade – and to shun coercion and fraud.. No matter their religion, they were taught to live by the Golden Rule.

How times have changed. Nowadays children receive a twelve-year prison sentence to government schools and are FORBIDDEN to learn to work for a living. (Thank labor unions for those wonderful laws that protect them -- er, protect children from "exploitative" “child labor.”) Is it any wonder children no longer believe in freedom or independence? No matter what myths we hear, every smart kid realizes that HE is neither free nor independent.

The problem is: when do modern children become ADULTS? When do they STOP needing to be controlled by someone else’s “Authority?” For more and more people, it seems, the answer is “never.” They accept the authority of religious leaders, to guide their moral choices, and they accept the authority of political leaders to guide their practical choices. The acceptance of “authority” makes us a world of children – a world of SLAVES, to be bossed around and exploited by a few elites who have taken the adult responsibility of “caring for their children” – or domesticating their cattle.

To understand this is to GROW UP.

The purpose of twelve years of Government schooling – twelve years of obedience training and twelve years of indoctrination into the religious cult of Statism – is to ensure that you and your children never do grow up.

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Why do people always blame

Why do people always blame Satan for the problems on earth? If you believe in the bible, then you probably believe the story of the battle in heaven, right? You remember how that went, right? Lucifer was jealous of god because he had all the power, so lucifer, declared the only solution is revolution. He eventually lost the war,
and he was cast to earth or hell( not sure which one). Anyway how do you know that god is telling the truth on how it all went down? You need to read Lucifer's monologue from "Cain" by Lord Byron, it's freaken genius! Remember history is always told and controlled by the victor. Here's the link http://www.monologuearchive.com/b/byron_004.html Enjoy

Freaken genius!

"One good gift has the fatal apple given—
Your reason: — let it not be overswayed
By tyrannous threats to force you into faith"


Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Sounds like

God did a less-than-perfect job when he designed man, if "human nature" is corrupt, sinful, evil, yadda yadda yadda. God screwed up? How can that be? Explain it to the atheists among us.

On second thought, don't.

Let me suggest to you that Christians do not enjoy a monopoly on morality. I know atheists who scrupulously adhere to the non-aggression principle (a.k.a. The Golden Rule) better than 99% of the folks who call themselves Christians. You don't need to be a Christian to decide that killing, thieving and slave-taking are morally wrong. You don't need to be a Christian to love, to be honest, or to treat others decently. Get a clue.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose


God has given you the free-will to do as you please.

How are morals dictated? How does one know what is good or evil..morally right or wrong. In the Athiest worldview it would not matter if you did either because the opposite is also true..it would be arrogant to assert what is morally right and wrong because there is no standard its an illusion. Matter of fact if Athiest are correct..the Golden Rule is complete non-sense.

Morals are NOT dictated.

Morals are chosen. Every individual chooses his own set of morals, including the standard upon which his moral code is based. In addition to the many different religious standards (of which YOURS is the only true and correct one, speaking of arrogance . . .) many different non-theistic philosophies set forth different moral systems. Even statism is a moral system, in its own right. Everyone judges good and evil according to their own moral standard.

There is no homogenous "atheist worldview." Atheism is not, in itself, a moral system. Atheism is merely the lack of belief in a god -- a non-principle which provides no moral guidance whatsoever. When a person tells you he is an atheist, that tells you only what he does NOT believe -- it tells you nothing about what moral principles he DOES believe in. Your assertion that an atheist can have no moral standard is absurd. His own life and well being can be such a standard. Hedonistic pleasure can be such a standard. The welfare of his family, community, nation, or the whole natural world may be such a standard. Affinity for some particular philosophical principle can be such a standard. Lots of choices.

The Golden Rule is a particularly logical standard, in that it provides a code of conduct which can minimize conflicts among people of many different moral systems. When coercion is proscribed, people tend to live longer, happier lives. That makes it advantageous for everyone -- and the reason it does so has nothing whatsoever to do with "God said so," your personal moral standard.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Morals are indeed relative if

Morals are indeed relative if you are an Atheist, thus its reasonable to think there no moral standard since its all based upon either the individual, society, or the elites in power. What you find logical another person might find illogical..What you define as morally right the opposite is true. To assert the Golden Rule as a logical standard on others would be quite hypocritical as an Atheist.

Morality is subjective -- for everyone.

Morality exists in only one place: inside individual minds, and its precise form and interpretation is entirely subject to the understanding and judgment of each individual. There is -- and can be -- no universal or "objective" morality. All morality is subjective.

You seem to think that morality has something to do with objective truth. It does not. Your own predilection for supernatural fantasy should constitute ironclad proof of THAT. Morality is not a matter of facts; it is a matter of beliefs -- beliefs which may be accepted entirely on faith, by cold reason, or any combination thereof. WHATEVER an individual decides to base his morality on is HIS decision to make.

Not all moralities are created equal, however. The world is real, and moral systems which best take into account the actual nature of the world are likely to best serve an individual's needs. Principles which correctly identify the nature and properties of the world and its inhabitants are more likely to WORK than those based on wild fantasies or unrealistic ideals. There's nothing hypocritical about recognizing reality, or choosing principles based on it.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Objective Foundation

All morality is subjective. Not all moralities are created equal, however.

That's a contradicting statement.

Your right..It's not hypocritical about recognizing reality, or choosing principles based on it but it is when your an Atheist and you force your subjective views on others.

I believe we have a conscience a rational mind given from God so we can go back and fact check ourselves from what is right and wrong especially when we have fallen astray from indoctrination. Christ life is that Objective Foundation that standard that we all fall short of.

One more time:

1. All morality is subjective, by nature.
2. Not all moralities are equally efficacious, because the WORLD in which one exercises ones morality is deadly real and objective. Subjective morality guides our REAL actions which have REAL consequences.

The purpose of morality (and the reason why all people need SOME kind of morality) is to guide an individual in making the choices on which his life, happiness and relationships with other people all depend. Morality provides individuals with a reason to prefer one choice over another. Not all moral systems achieve those purposes equally well. Clear?

Am I FORCING you to listen to my subjective, atheistic moral views,peterpov? I don't think so. You initiated this exchange, commenting on my post. There's nothing hypocritical about stating what one believes to be true. Feel free to ignore my posts in the future, if you find them too thought-provoking offensive.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

I Understand.

I understand that there are different world views out there. I agree that this world is REAL an that moral values are just as REAL as that of the physical world. I also agree that atheist can be moral people. I would differ is that moral values are not subjective but objective because if that were the case these REAL moral values would not hold up any weight.

If Nazi Germany had won World War II the Holocaust would still be wrong. If moral values are subjective it would not be inherently bad about killing all the Jews if Hitler thought it was best for his society. If humans have any intrinsic value it would be because we been created in the image of God.

Its not a matter of opinion or point of view that rape, cruelty, child abuse is inherently wrong if not moral abominations. If a person were to commit such an act, the society and I would assume yourself would think this person has committed an evil act and justice should be served to the victim. If that's the case I think we have a problem with intellectual consistency.

* wrong choice of words, no force intended..your obviously not the State.

*Sigh* I wish it were so.

Look, I share your view that violent crimes are morally wrong. But ALL moral judgment is subjective. I'm willing to defend myself and others from those who behave coercively, based upon my (subjective) moral judgment. But I don't expect that the people against whom I must defend myself SHARE my moral opinions. Tax collectors believe they are doing something good for "the country" -- I believe they are thieves. Our troops in Afghanistan believe they are "defending our freedom" -- I believe they're mass murderers. The people who do things that you and I both regard as "evil" mostly don't regard themselves as monsters or devil-worshipers, they think they're doing something right -- by a different moral standard than the ones you and I use.

The religion of Statism (yes, it is) is the most widely held moral system in the world, and it is responsible for most of the suffering and injustice we see around us. People believe it is moral to "obey the law," and immoral to "break the law" -- regardless of whether the "law" in question protects life, liberty and property -- or destroys life, liberty and property. The government soldiers and police and tax collectors all believe themselves to be "good" people -- while they murder, enslave and extort the rest of us.

Morality is subjective. Get used to the idea, or you'll never see the world the way it really is, or understand how "good" people do "evil" things. All men mean well -- they just have different ideas about what "well" means, or different priorities.

Understand that your subjective moral choices define your relationships with others. Believing that murder is wrong (even if a politician tells you it's okay) -- believing that theft is wrong (even if the IRS calls it a "tax code") -- makes you an enemy of the state -- and a friend of the liberty movement. Your subjective moral choices tell you what's worth fighting for, and worth dying for, if need be. Your subjective moral choices define who you are. Remember: The word "subjective" is not a synonym for "trivial" or "untrue" -- it describes properties of an individual mind. That's all any person has to work with -- there is no "group consciousness."

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Dabooda, I must say, you


I must say, you explain Larken's ideas better than he does in his book. You're more precise and succinct. You should write an article that summarizes the ideas his book, and maybe modifying it to improve it.

Thanks very much, limelemon

Most of what I write about rights, morality and ethics isn't what I learned from Larken; it's original. With a hat tip to David Friedman's short essay "Love Is Not Enough," which REALLY changed the way I think about ethics.

I've discussed rights/morality/ethics with Larken at some length. I'm not going to publish his letters, but I'll show you one of mine to him, my FULL critique of TMDS, with my ideas on how it could have been improved. Be warned, it's LONG. His reply was near-total agreement with my views on morality, but he had decided to focus his book strictly on the superstition of "Authority," not on the ethical foundations which underlie statism and liberty. Too big a can of worms, too much potential for alienating readers who might otherwise be persuaded of his central point. He may be right.

My letter:

Dear Larken,

I’m now reading The Most Dangerous Superstition for the second time. Too much to absorb in one reading. Thank you for writing it. It’s truly a great book. Unfortunately, this is not going to be a fan letter that dwells on all the many things you've done wonderfully right. I've already published that review on Amazon. Now I'm going to talk about how and why the book disappointed me.

My first problem is the idea of "rights." I'm afraid you need to swallow another Red Pill for this one. As the word is commonly used, "rights" is another superstition. Here's an essay on the subject that I wrote a couple years ago, as part of a letter to Ed Griffin. I was arguing against his use of "rights" in his otherwise neat essay "The Chasm: Two Ethics That Divide The Western World." I was all set for a tough argument, but Ed pole-axed me by agreeing with me. He said he just couldn't "sell" a vision of liberty that didn't include "rights."

Rights are Santa Claus
I have about doubts about the usefulness of the concept of "rights." It's been given a fair trial over the last several centuries, and it doesn't work.

As many philosophers have noted, "rights" are a moral concept, without existence outside the human mind. Possession of a "right" has never protected men from the aggression of others, particularly the aggression of those who style themselves "governments". What has actually done the job but never received the credit is the moral choice of civilized people not to initiate the use of force against one another, and to defend themselves (and each other) from the human predators among us. When the idea of individual responsibility for the defense of life, liberty and property falls into disfavor, your society will not be free much longer. The men who step forward to "protect your rights" for you will soon become your masters. And so it has come to pass, time and again.

Libertarians cling to the idea of natural rights because they desire the behavioral consequences: they wish everyone would behave as though such things as "rights" actually exist, and must be respected. True enough: if everyone shares a fantasy, things will run smoothly until the first child stands up to declare that the emperor has no clothes. (Or until the first guy like Dick Cheney stands up to declare that he does indeed have the "right" to put people in cages and torture them to death.)

The problem with such fantasies is that they prevent us from becoming aware of exactly what forces actually work to make people free or unfree. As long as you believe in Santa Claus, you will not understand that it is your parents who love you and want to gift you with presents. As long as you believe in the literal truth of the Christian Bible, you will never be able to accept the fact of evolution, or even the fact that the earth is not flat. And as long as you believe in "rights," you will never realize that individual choices (i.e. to resist coercion) are the force that wins and preserves the freedoms which men claim to be their “Natural Rights.”

"Rights" do not exist. The power of choice does. Men are free to act with respect for the individual liberties of others, or to act without respect. There is no such force as a natural right that will reward virtuous action, or punish evil. There is only one force in human affairs. That is the force of individual will. Freedom is a choice, not a right.

The worst feature of the fable of "rights" is the belief that we are entitled to receive them -- by God or Nature or Society, or by great-grampa's victory on the battlefield -- some force outside oneself. This leads people to believe that it is the duty of that outside force to protect and enforce ones rights. Wait for God to protect you from a mugger, and you'll have quite a wait. Likewise, Mother Nature, or Society, or the Constitution. Your "right" not to be mugged is of no use to you, in the face of any random thug who doesn't believe in such nonsense. (Which makes him smarter than you.) So if you prefer not to be mugged, it is not useful to count on your "rights;" better to examine your choices. Your choice to carry a gun or to avoid dark alleys will be of infinitely more use to you than your "right" not to be mugged.

In a way, it is enormously liberating to give up the idea of "rights." You don't need to give up your own moral vision of good and evil, right and wrong,. You just have to realize that it is individuals standing up for their own moral choices who are the only defense of liberty. You don't have to wait for someone else to deliver whatever "right" you believe you are entitled to enjoy. Make the choice to defend those freedoms you value. And if someone tries to stomp on your freedom, you will have to choose what to do about it. You can accept the stomping, and lose your freedom, by default. Or you can fight back. If you do so impulsively, stupidly, ineffectively, you can still lose and get stomped. But with planning, ingenuity and perseverance, you can win. Especially if you have help from like-minded friends and allies. Maybe you won't, but it's a chance, and you decide if it's a chance worth fighting for. Your own choices are the only control you have over your life; they are also the source of any security or liberty you will achieve.

Fighting the gangsters (the worst of whom call themselves "governments") who want to rob or enslave you is dangerous. They will be perfectly happy to imprison, torture and murder you to make sure no one else dares to question their authority. Unfortunately, safety isn't always an option. Life isn't safe. Bad, dangerous people exist, and some of them mean to take what you have, by threat or by force. You WILL have to deal with them. Resisting them is dangerous, but giving them everything they want, your property and your liberty, is also dangerous. Do you think they will take LESS from you next year, once you submit to them? Won't the tribute they collect from you strengthen them and weaken you? It sure would be nice if someone "out there" would just take care of the problem for you -- except every time people set up an organization (i.e. a government) to protect themselves from bad guys, all the SMART bad guys join the organization, worm their way to the top, and take up looting where the last bad guys left off.

The whole idea of natural rights, like religion, has the advantage of being a ready-made code of conduct for people who haven't figured things out for themselves. Like religion, it works to restrain some amount of human savagery. Just as some amount of juvenile savagery is restrained by the belief that Santa Claus will leave lumps of coal in the Christmas stockings of bad boys and girls. But what will restrain us when we grow up and see through the myths with which our parents, priests and politicians have tried to con us?

What are we to put in place of belief in rights? The ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade. And a belief in choice. You may not have "rights," but you do have all the abilities and qualities of an individual human being -- which is all anyone else has. That means you have the ability to make choices and to direct your own action. You can choose what moral code you prefer to live by, and you can do so to the best of your ability. You can choose to respect other people's equal liberty to work to achieve their own values. You can choose to associate yourself with other people who share your important values, and you may enter into agreements with them to mutually defend and support one another against aggressors. And if you do this well, you will have all the same security that the notion of "rights" is supposed to give you, only with clear understanding of what your security actually depends upon. A child who understands that his gifts come from his parents is better equipped to deal with the real world than one who continues to believe in Santa Claus.

(end of essay)

If it is to have any utility at all, the idea of "rights" must be ancillary to a particular moral code. Morality defines what is right , and ones definition of morality in turn defines what one may properly claim as "moral rights." The idea that there can be "universal" or "human" rights NOT derived from a particular moral code is what makes the common use of the word such a contradictory nightmare. People who hold authoritarian moral views do not share our idea of what "rights" ought to be. A man who equates "goodness" with being "law-abiding" and/or "God-fearing" can't be expected to agree that anyone has a "right" to disobey the orders of his perceived "authority." He sees the disobedient as heretics or criminals, doing what is wrong, not what is right. He may accept the non-aggression principle in parts of his life, but only in contexts where it does not conflict with whatever his chosen Authority commands. And by his moral standard, he is right to do so!

That brings me to my second major issue with TMDS: Your view of morality seems muddled. Sometimes you recognize moral systems based on religion (perhaps even the statist religion), and other times nothing but the non-aggression principle or strict individualism qualifies as "morality." I think you need to clarify your own thinking.

Much of your argument proceeds from the premise that the non-aggression principle is IDENTICAL with “morality.” By this stratagem, you have tacitly defined “freedom” as “moral good.” You have tacitly defined authoritarianism as “moral evil.” Using such definitions, it is not surprising that you can prove that “rightful rulers” cannot logically exist. It is not surprising that you can prove that one person’s moral obligation to obey another cannot exist. You’ve won the battle by defining the enemy out of existence. But somehow, the enemy is still there, stubbornly refusing to go away.

Other moral systems do exist. Any criterion a person can use to make his life choices is a moral standard. And the criteria many people use to make their choices frequently are accepted as Truth because an individual chooses some person or holy book as a “moral authority.” Not everyone looks beyond who makes a moral assertion, and tries to figure out why it makes sense. Little children are not allowed to do so. Schoolchildren are taught not to. (And thank the god of your choice that government teachers are so totally inept that some kids escape learning that lesson!) And of course, every theistic religion teaches people to obey "the Word of God." Authoritarian moral systems can and do exist. Is there a good way to reach the people who hold such beliefs, and make them susceptible to your message? I think there is.

Here's another pertinent essay I posted on the Daily Paul website:

Some people think that we'll never be able to agree on matters of morality -- that our ideas of right and wrong are too diverse.


The particular subset of morality called "ethics" is what separates liberty lovers from statists of all stripes. "Ethics" means what is "right or wrong" in interpersonal conduct. The range of ethical options open to us is really very limited: you can deal with others by means of trade, coercion, or for emotional reasons (love, charity, shared purpose, etc.) In other words, you can get the things you want from others as a trader, as a thief, or as a beggar. That's it. Three options comprise ALL of human ethics. People can and do have hundreds of different moral codes, which they use to set their goals and guide their conduct -- but only three different ethical choices, about the ways by which they deal with other people. [footnote: this idea was inspired by David Friedman's essay "Love Is Not Enough," in his book The Machinery of Freedom. READ IT.]

People who believe in individual liberty generally agree that dealing with one another VOLUNTARILY, without coercion, to achieve their individual purposes is morally good. We can usually agree that coercing peaceful people to do things that they don't want to do is morally evil. "Freedom" means people being free to do what they think is right, by their own standards, as long as they act with the consent of all those they deal with. That's why freedom is popular. Being free doesn't force you to share a common moral code with everyone. Follow any religion that pleases you, or none. But freedom does require us to share a common view of ethical behavior: that it is EVIL to initiate coercion. Without that common belief, there can be no respect for liberty (or life, or property.)

Statists, on the other hand, believe that it's morally okay to coerce people "for a good cause." (Meaning, of course, whatever THEY would like to do with YOUR wealth, time and life.) Statists refuse to understand that "government" is not a fourth method by which people can deal with one another; government is by nature entirely coercive. They tell themselves that coercion done by the government is something other than evil -- that mass murder isn't wrong if you call it "war," and theft isn't wrong when you call it "taxation." They even tell themselves that forbidding a peaceable and productive person to move from one place to another isn't wrong if you call it "immigration policy."

Many people think government is a necessary evil -- none should doubt that it IS evil. Forcing peaceful people to act against their best judgment and depriving them of their property against their will is the exact opposite of freedom, the exact opposite of all that men of good will hold dear.
(end of essay)

Larken, I entirely agree with your moral premises -- at least, I have accepted them for my own life. BUT! You need to explain the relationship of the non-aggression principle to morality in terms that will be meaningful to even your enemies.

This is such a major omission that it makes me want to scream and break things. Your arguments are brilliant, your conclusions are breath-taking. But in the final analysis, you’ve built a castle in the air, without a foundation. You've tried to debunk the superstition of "authority" with the superstition of "rights." It won't fly.

So that's where I think you went wrong. Or failed to go "right." Ambitious as it is, your book is not ambitious enough. You're preaching to the choir of people who already agree with the non-aggression principle and who hold it as superior to any moral commandments from God or Country. You have a wonderful gift for cutting through the crap and writing very uncommon sense. I had hoped you would write something that would show even the ungodly (statists) the error of their ways. I don't think you have.

I hope my second essay suggests how you can slip some bedrock under that nifty flying castle.

Clearly you don't want to argue against every variant of every authoritarian religion, whether theistic or secular. In fact, you don't want to argue against any of them. At the same time, you need to lay a moral foundation under your argument, without immediately alienating the people who hold authoritarian moral codes. It can be done. The key is to distinguish "ethics" (meaning the ways people deal with one another) from "morality" (meaning the whole range of things an individual considers right or wrong). Don't challenge entire religions or moral systems; just explain the available options in ethics, and make a pitch for the Golden Rule/ Non-Aggression Principle. The advantage to be gained is that you shift the argument to principles on which even benighted statists can agree with you. People can defend government all day long for its supposed necessity (or just the difficulty of visualizing what life would be like without it, coupled with fear of the unfamiliar & unknown), but shift the argument to a discussion of the respective merits of trade, emotion and coercion as ethical motives, and you've moved the debate to a different plane of thought, one requiring original thought, and one that has NOT been proscribed by any perceived "authority." You fight on ground of your choosing, with terms you define.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Thanks for sharing that, it

Thanks for sharing that, it was very useful to me. I actually got a lot more from your letter to Larken about rights than your article on Strike-the-Root.

I always had trouble understanding the difference between ethics and morality, thanks for clearing that up.

About the difference between ethics and morality

Yeah, even some dictionaries don't make a clear distinction between morality and ethics. In morality, you see the real diversity of human beings, the different things they regard as MOST important. In ethics, you discover whether or not you want to be around them at all. What I find most fascinating about ethics is how FEW options there are, for dealing with other people. I mean, you have hundreds or thousands of different religions, cults and philosophies (i.e. moral systems) -- but ethics? Three. Only three. When people understand that clearly, coercive government doesn't look so "good" any more. Ya think?

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Well said

and well conceived.

Thanks. :)

Just open the box and see

Definition of TROPE 1 a : a

Definition of TROPE
a : a word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech
b : a common or overused theme or device : cliché
: a phrase or verse added as an embellishment or interpolation to the sung parts of the Mass in the Middle Ages
See trope defined for English-language learners »

The way Faithkills was using the word,

I figured it meant "a common theme." It's possible he thought it had something to do with a "tropism" -- a tendency or instinctive behavior. Perhaps he will enlighten us?

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

i figured he was just using

i figured he was just using it because it was used in the OP, in quoting your friend. whatever the reason, it needs to stop.

Noun 1. tropism - an involuntary orienting response; positive or negative reaction to a stimulus

Nope, his word, not mine.

I had to look it up myself, and I do share some of your doubts that he used it correctly, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

ahh, i see now. anyway, the

ahh, i see now. anyway, the use of it below is unbearable.

mr. kills will continue to argue that humans are entitled to natural rights because animals fight over stuff and therefore "know" it to be their property. the animals of course aren't entitled to the rights. but people are because they have an instinct for possession. like when a 3 year old takes a toy from a two year old. err, wait.

somehow this makes sense to him, though. and of course no one is entitled to enforcement of their rights, just to be "right" itself... even while being used like a two dollar hooker, one has the right to be in the right... or something.

but if you happen to not have a big gang of philanthropic rights enforcers, who happen to like you, you're pretty much sh1t out of luck, because no one can coerce anyone into contributing to a mutual rights enforcement apparatus.

your rights just entitle you to claw for your own survival, which you could already do, with or without the right. but at least faithkills will have a good opinion of you as you do it?

The post is self-contradictory...

It begins with the presumption that freedom is not natural and, then, goes on to profess that people must be unnaturally taught to obey varying forms of authority.

I believe the concept of natural rights is one of the least understood items of the philosophy concerning individual liberty. First of all, we must realize the historical context in which the description "natural" was given. At that time, science was called Natural Philosophy. The development of Newtonian Mechanics revolutionized society in more than one way - not only the industrial revolution but also the intellectual revolution that lead to most of the world realizing that kings aren't necessary. Natural philosophy lead to a greater understanding of the Laws of Nature - and not even the government can break the laws of nature.

Since, in that respect, nature has not exalted any particular human above those laws, men are considered to be equal before nature (or the creator(s) of nature for concerned believers). Life - and property derived therefrom - naturally belong to individuals - NOT to the collective of individuals or subgroups of individuals.

The institution of slavery requires heavy maintenance. Why else would tyrants spend so much on propaganda or government school indoctrination? States still exist because the People think they are necessary. As that illusion is slain - like that of the necessity of kings - so will the state be slain.

In society, (the great majority of) people naturally learn right from wrong - simply because others don't tolerate nonsense. For instance, in an environment where kids aren't made into passive slaves, bullies soon get a bloody nose and learn to leave people alone - whereas in modern schools, kids are forced to put up with bullying "because the adults will handle it." This adds to the problems because some of those bullied kids grow up to be angry adults that eventually snap and kill or hurt people. Most people eventually have to learn from the natural school - the school of hard knocks.

People have to learn to be slaves. Freedom is the natural state, and all men are equal before nature.

Point well taken.

I deliberately mis-described slavery as "natural," not because I believe it so, but to discredit the use of the word "natural" to describe moral choices which may be made in a number of different ways. I do not believe in that any particular group of "rights" has any particular claim to being called "natural," nor do I believe that any particular human moral preference can properly be called "natural law." See my post Rights Are Santa Claus, for my reasoning.

People have choices, and the free will and intelligence to make them. That's natural. All choices are not created equal. Some lead to harmony and prosperity; others lead to tyranny and suffering. Some choices are more rational than others. But as long as men DO have free will, some men can and will make even the stupidest choices. (choosing to be "governed," for example) That's "natural" too.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

If killing is wrong, then why do people commit murder!!??

If killing is wrong, then why do people commit murder!!??

Same reason your "natural" rights are disregarded on a daily basis!

Here is George Washington's FIRST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS (here's a snippet from near the end of it)


To the security of a free constitution it contributes in various ways - by convincing those who are intrusted with the public administration that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people, and by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness - cherishing the first, avoiding the last - and uniting a speedy but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.

Love Liberty, be Vigilant

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Faith in God will prevail all things!

Better question:

If murder is wrong, why do governments do so much of it? And the answer to both questions is similar:
There is no universal, "natural" moral system. In the moral system of statism, men have only the "rights" to do whatever "government" tells them to do. In the moral system of statism, whatever the rulers declare "lawful" DEFINES right and wrong. They murder whomever they choose, and declare it lawful.

Washington's speech primarily defended "lawful authority" and "inviolable respect to the laws." Statism. In light of his actions in the Whiskey Rebellion, it's not clear how much Washington really valued liberty, and how much he just wanted a different gang to have the privilege of controlling the people.

If you value the rights which derive from the nonaggression principle (the rights commonly mischaracterized as "natural") , the first step is to reject the moral premises of statism.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Too many cooks...

spoil the child?

Defeat the panda-industrial complex

I am dusk icon. anagram me.

Spare the rod... in the

Spare the rod... in the kitchen?

What do you get when you leave the rod on the stove?

A hot rod?


Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

Oh no you did not. lol

Oh no you did not. lol

I think we should refer to

I think we should refer to them as "rational rights". They are born out of the capacity to reason, and public education does it's best to hinder the development of this capacity.