Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Freeman Essay #93: “The State is the Source of Rights?

CH regurtigates old posts. Freeman Essay #93: “The State is the Source of Rights? contains some mistakes about Hobbes - the same one everyone makes - but also an interesting discussion on the source(s) of Rights and the source of Law. the discussion there is largely focussed around DB's - interesting - interest in Libertarianism, but coming from that it is also possible to look more fundamentally at rights. I plan to expand this at some point, but for now I'll just quote my comment:

Your discussion of law-from-govt isn't terribly convincing, but I think that is less interesting than the question of rights, so I'll comment on that. I think a more coherent view of "rights" is the (Hobbesian) idea that in a "state of nature" everyone has a right to everything (unlike Hobbes, you don't provide a coherent defn of "rights"). Accepting a government (whether a formally constituted one or even your merchants court) means losing some of your freedom of action (aka rights) in exchange, presumably, for law-n-order. On that view a govt is, intrinsically, not a "source" of rights by its very nature. It is something that naturally removes rights, and this is only to be expected. Your Dec of Indy says "all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable...", which is the same thing: those rights pre-date govt.

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