The Generalist

What are rights?

If you live alone on a desert island you have no need of rights. To you, they are meaningless.

You do, however, have responsibilities. These are things you must do if you are to continue living.

You have no choice in the matter. These rules are inextricably linked to your existence by a power much greater than any living being. Sickness, weakness, and, ultimately, death follow any attempt to avoid them.

You must, for example, find a way to obtain food and shelter.

If you want more than just bare survival, you must find ways of understanding your situation so that you do not toil needlessly thereby causing yourself more pain than happiness. The rules must be obeyed if you are to obtain your goals, whatever they may be.

At this point, you have no rights, only responsibilities. You must do these things or suffer the consequences, which might, depending on how well you perform them, include death.

But, what if, one day, you notice that you are not alone on the island. There is another person there!

You might realize that cooperation with this other person would benefit you. Everything becomes easier where there is cooperation.

You might also realize that things could be worse, too. What if this person tries to steal from you? What if you fight with this person? All you’ve worked for could be lost.

If both of you clearly understand the situation, you will realize that each person has these same responsibilities to provide for himself – nourishment, health, rest, shelter… all the way to happiness.

You might realize that these responsibilities come from a power much greater than either of you and that the responsibility to respond correctly in how you treat the other person also comes from that greater power.

You might both realize that any attempt to stop your neighbor from carrying out these responsibilities will be destructive. You know this because you know you will fight for your ability to perform them. You don’t have a choice. A higher power has determined that you must do them or die. You will fight so that you can do them.

With this realization that you have both made, the concept of rights is born.

You have both recognized each other’s responsibilities and you have agreed to respect them. These are rights.

Put simply, your rights are your responsibilities seen from the point of view of another party.

It now becomes easy to see why rights are “Creator” given, doesn’t it? It doesn’t matter what you call that higher power. You can call it God if that suits you. You can call it the universe, or nature. Or creator. Whatever you call it, you were created by it and you are dependent upon it. Its edicts are non-negotiable by anyone anywhere. No higher power exists.

It also now becomes easy to see why these rights are unalienable. As long as you exist, you and only you will suffer the consequences of not performing these responsibilities. If someone chooses not to respect their existence, they don’t disappear because of it. You still have them. In fact, you have no means of avoiding them, or transferring them to anyone else, in any way at all.

It now also becomes evident what happens when these responsibilities, i.e., rights, are not respected.

Now you know what rights are. You know they are creator given. You know they are unalienable. Now for your homework:

Does government grant rights?

What are the consequences when rights are not respected?

Do states have rights?

Is healthcare a right?

Does one have a right to bear arms?

Do animals have rights?

Do fetuses have rights?

I may write answers to these questions or I may not. You don’t need me to. If you bother to think a bit, and you are honest, you’ll see the answers clearly for yourself.

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