Monday, December 7, 2009

What Is The Polarity Of Your Rights?


A lot of us can remember back to those days of yesteryear when we first got to play with those colorful magnets in Kindergarten. This was where we learned about polarity. Some of those magnets were positively charged and some were negatively. We learned that magnets of the same polarity would repel each other and those that were opposite would attract each other. Now there is a socio-political theory that proposes our rights are also Negative and Positive just like those magnets.

In Nature when a man lives completely separate from all other humans, he can enjoy total liberty. The only constraints on whatever actions he may choose to engage in is the restraints placed on him by the physical universe. That man cannot flap his arms and fly to the moon is the natural limitation caused by gravity but he can choose to try as long as he likes. It might even be considered a good aerobic workout.

When that man chooses to enter into closer proximity with his fellow humans for whatever purpose that he finds beneficial to him, he must place a limit on his own freedom so as to avoid causing injury or harm to his neighbors or they may reject his continued company. If he were to try flapping his arms while standing next to another person he may inadvertently strike that person in the face and we can safely assume that person would become upset.

Our Natural Rights grow out of our substantiated claim to our original liberty that we can keep and exercise amongst our fellow humans after we have taken the precautions so that none of our neighbors are hurt. The man still has the right to flap his arms as long as no one is near or, if he is on his own real estate, no one is harmed except for uninvited visitors. Because these Natural Rights "negate" the justification, though not the possibility, of government or other social organizations interfering with an individual's liberty they are labelled "Negative."

Then there are some folks who have looked upon and studied the whole of Creation and found it terribly flawed. It is inherently unfair to them that should a person grow hungry that Nature does not provide a well-cooked nutritious meal from thin air. They believe that man is enslaved by his very biology and something must be done to lead to his liberation. They follow the old Russian proverb, "A man is not truly free if he must work for a living."

These people believe that man has a right to his subsistence being delivered to him and because this supposedly "adds" to a man's freedom, this type of right is called "Positive." Since genies in magic lamps are in short supply, they entrust a creation of man, namely government, to work the wonders of delivering the goods to each and every person based on their individual needs. If a man can't get to the moon by flapping his arms then, by gosh, the government should build him a rocket ship to get the job done.

The problem with "Positive" rights is that they are just basically demands for commodities. Commodities are goods and services produced and provided by individuals to sell to their fellow human beings so as to earn their livelihood. Since the government is incapable of creating anything of true value, what it has to give to some it must first take from others and that includes these commodities. Though some producers might be compensated in some form of money for their goods, the money to pay them had to be taken from others so this leads to a net zero gain for society if not a loss due to misdirected allocation of assets.

If a person believes he has a "Positive" right to have all his basic needs, wants, and a few desires - education, security, medical care, etc. - delivered to him at no cost (to him), then what he is claiming is a right to steal from and to enslave his fellow man. Just because the government is the one holding the gun to the head of the victim does not excuse him for his part in this act of robbery since the government does so at his request and upon his behest.

In the moral codes of many people the holding of such a belief is the very essence of evil and there is nothing "Positive" about it. They may choose to exercise their Natural Right to shun people who hold it and that can only be considered a "Negative" for those affected. So the question remains: What is the polarity of YOUR rights?

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