Thursday, December 8, 2016

Our Right to Ourselves - by Eric Peters

This business of varying rights – based on what’s between your legs (or where you put what’s between your legs or what gets put into what’s between your legs) or the color of your skin or some other characteristic… it’s like exchanging Pesos for dollars – but vicious because it devalues human beings.
Gay rights, women’s rights.
Rights for people “of color” (the translucent ones had better shut up and sit down).
Rights for the “differently abled.”
Rights defined by the “community” – the collective – you’re (supposedly) a member of.

These aren’t rights. They are grievances. A demand – based on group identification – that a need must be serviced. For example, the “transgendered” asserting their “right” to access the bathroom of their choosing.  Notice that this supposed “right” imposes an obligation on others to provide a material benefit. This is a clue that the “right” being asserted is in fact a wrong.
A good way to make sense of rights – real ones – is to view them from an economic perspective. As a species of property.
As a function of ownership.

We can start with a proposition that’s pretty self-evident: We each own ourselves exclusively. Our physical bodies are our property. Who else can lay claim to ourselves? (Possibly, God – if such a being exists. But whether he does – or does not – the point is that other people aren’t god. And other people don’t become gods by becoming government officials.)
To allow even fractional ownership of ourselves by another person is to allow a degree of slavery – which is defined by physical ownership of another person; which is defined by having the power to control that person’s body, or the products of that person’s body.
By having the power to direct (or constrain) his acts.
By having the power to make him work for your benefit, contrary to his will. To take from him that which was created by his body or produced by his mind.

When we speak of rights, then, we are really speaking of being able to use our property – that is, ourselves. And to not be forced to use our property for the material benefit of other people.
Thus, I have the right to use my body to do physical work – such as build a structure. Or use my mind to produce the wealth necessary to pay others to do that work for me using their bodies. No one’s rights have been violated – no slavery is involved – because each person is freely using (or bartering the use of) their own property – their bodies, their minds – toward an object each wishes to see realized. 
Nothing has been taken from anyone.

Along comes the aggrieved “transgendered.” Rather than use his (her?) body/mind and resources to erect a structure in which there is a bathroom open to all, regardless of sexual equipment or “identity,” he/she demands that a structure be provided by others, who must use their bodies and minds and the resources that flow from these things, to provide it for him/her.
That is slavery.
Someone’s else’s property has been hijacked. Their rights have been abused.

The transgendered person’s feelings may have been hurt when he/she is told that the Men’s room is the Men’s room and the Ladies’ room is the Ladies’ room. But his/her rights have not been violated.

The same goes for the “differently abled” person who cannot easily access a hot dog stand because there is no ramp or lift. The hot dog stand is the property of another person and unless the “differently abled” person acquires (freely) an ownership stake in the hot dog stand, his rights are limited to expressing to the owner that it would be really nice if there were a ramp or a lift. His impairment does not impose an obligation on the owner to accommodate the “differently abled” person’s disability, which means – accept the yoke of slavery, to whatever degree, to provide a material benefit against his will to another person (“differently abled” or not).

We each have a right to speak and to write, to express our views – whatever those views may be. This is another manifestation of property rights. Our minds – each one uniquely ours – produce thought, which finds tangible expression in the spoken and written word, or through the art and so on we each create.

No other person creates these things and so no other person can lay claim to these things. This includes suppressing these things. That is a variant of the “transgendered” person asserting the “right” to force another person to provide him/her with a bathroom and to lay down the terms and conditions of its use. If another person can tell you what you may (or may not) say or write, they asserting control over your mind (and your pen), which is to say, over your property.
Again, slavery.

The antithesis of rights.
Like Occam’s Razor, this can be applied to almost any question, to separate a right from a demand.
Is there a “right” to health care? Only if you take the position that you have the “right” to compel other people to provide it for you. In other words, to enslave them.

Do you have the right to possess a firearm? Of course, provided you’ve used your own resources – the wealth created by your body/mind – to purchase the firearm. You certainly have the right to defend your self. To resist being denied the use of your body – or to ward off a physical threat to your body. To your property.
Once again, to claim otherwise is to argue, openly or not, that you do not have a right to yourself; that others have an ownership stake in your person. In your literal corpus delicti.

Which brings us right back to slavery – the anti-matter opposite of rights.
Being sympathetic toward another person who is less fortunate is laudable; choosing to help others using your own time and resources (that is, your own property) is commendable. Electing to do business with other people or accommodate their needs to the degree you wish – all within you right to do so.

Forcing other people to “help,” or to do business with you – or to accommodate you on their nickel – is a violation of their rights.
It’s simple economics.

And while God (if he exists) may approve, his approval isn’t necessary to make the case. We either each own ourselves – or other people have joint stock interest in ourselves. Have somehow acquired a piece of us, without our ever having agreed to the deal or even being presented with a contract to sign. We are enslaved – to whatever degree – merely because these other people say so.
Maybe it’s time we said something different.

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