Burke Chester

The Idea of Rights

26 posts in this topic

AR stated that rights can only be violated by force (including fraud) and that the function of government is to outlaw the initiation of force by one against the other.

So why do we need to compile a list of rights, "enumerate" them as is done in the Bill of Rights? The Founders feared that listing rights would encourage the government to violate other rights not enumerated. Because of this, they added the 9th Amendment that insures all our rights. But their fears have come to fruition anyway. The courts have almost completely ignored all rights not listed and put procedural rules into effect making unenumerated rights almost nonexistent in the legal system.

Wouldn't it be better to take the approach that citizens can do anything they choose except initiate force against others? In fact, isn't freedom from the initiation of force exactly what liberty is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So why do we need to compile a list of rights, "enumerate" them as is done in the Bill of Rights? The Founders feared that listing rights would encourage the government to violate other rights not enumerated.

I can certainly understand your concern and, of course, I share it with the following qualifications. It is my reading that the Bill of Rights is not, in fact, an enumeration or list of citizens' rights. As example, take Amendment 1:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This amendment does not "create" or "establish" a right to freedom of speech, or press or assembly or religion. Those rights are PRESUMED in advance of the law. What the amendment does do is explicitly prohibit the government from interfering in any way with those presumed or pre-existing rights.

In fact, what is true for Amendment 1 is true for each of the original 10 Amendments of the Bill of Rights. What the Founders understood, and what citizens and their representatives today have forgotten or, rather, been induced to forget, is that Rights are not bestowed upon citizens by their government like membership privileges. This was the concern of those of the Founders who objected to the inclusion of the Bill of Rights -- even the appearance of rights enumeration was viewed (rightly) as a dangerous precedent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AR stated that rights can only be violated by force (including fraud) and that the function of government is to outlaw the initiation of force by one against the other.

So why do we need to compile a list of rights, "enumerate" them as is done in the Bill of Rights? The Founders feared that listing rights would encourage the government to violate other rights not enumerated. Because of this, they added the 9th Amendment that insures all our rights. But their fears have come to fruition anyway. The courts have almost completely ignored all rights not listed and put procedural rules into effect making unenumerated rights almost nonexistent in the legal system.

Wouldn't it be better to take the approach that citizens can do anything they choose except initiate force against others? In fact, isn't freedom from the initiation of force exactly what liberty is?

The problem is how to implement that when the natural tendency of government is to increase its power. The Constitution was an attempt because the Founding Fathers knew that that is what the government was founded for. But once a politician is in office with the ability to pass laws that control people's lives, pressure groups will naturally arise. By the 1890's, government was not an agent of force, it was an agent of the people to protect them from economic hardships and greedy business tyrants.

How would you propose to establish a document that will be independent of the ideas that the general populace accepts and then reinterprets the meaning of whatever document was originally written? Until Rand provided an objective definition of rights violation, the concept or rights was rapidly changed from political rights to economic rights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently reading The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson argued in a letter to Madison that although a Bill of Rights (which he called simply a "declaration of rights") would have its own deficiencies, it would be better than no declaration. In his words, “A brace the more will often keep up the building which would have fallen, with that brace the less.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm currently reading The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson argued in a letter to Madison that although a Bill of Rights (which he called simply a "declaration of rights") would have its own deficiencies, it would be better than no declaration. In his words, “A brace the more will often keep up the building which would have fallen, with that brace the less.”

I see I didn't make my question clear.

I understand that rights are natural and that the Bill of Rights refers to preexisting rights, not creating them. And I'm not suggesting that the Constitution should contain no reference to rights.

My question is, why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?

Why shouldn't people just be free to do anything they choose except institute force against others? I have some ideas about this, but I would like to know what others think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see I didn't make my question clear.

I understand that rights are natural and that the Bill of Rights refers to preexisting rights, not creating them. And I'm not suggesting that the Constitution should contain no reference to rights.

My question is, why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?

Why shouldn't people just be free to do anything they choose except institute force against others? I have some ideas about this, but I would like to know what others think.

Post #3 by Paul's Here answers your questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
-----------

My question is, why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?

Why shouldn't people just be free to do anything they choose except institute force against others? I have some ideas about this, but I would like to know what others think.

Because there is an inherent problem with implementation. How does one grant to government, an agent of retaliatory force, the ability to prevent force from being initiated, without the government becoming the agent of inititating force? Whether rights are enumerated or not, the problem exists within the nature of government power.

And, in my opinion, the only way to prevent that power from growing is the power of rational ideas within society. Once the rational ideas fade from people's minds, nothing will stop the government power from violating rights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To illustrate the growth of government power, as just one example that I've recently heard about, in the early 1900s, the Supreme Court actually ruled that laws that restrict the number of hours per day that a worker could work were unconstitutional because it restricted a workers right to contract. When I read about this, I was stunned because that is exactly the argument that is needed to overthrow all the labor laws within this country. Who, but a handful of people, would support such an argument today in the face of the dominance of altruism and collectivism within our society?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My question is, why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?

Because it's not clear exactly what this implies, in terms of what you can and cannot do. What if someone in the future again came up with the idea that property is theft and thus initiation of force? Then the government would conscientiously have to deny property. That's why we state the most basic, fundamental requirements for living -- liberty, property, etc. Having worked out that property is ok, we enshrine that in the Constitution.

That way, later on if a philosophical corruption happens, it can only corrupt and deny "lesser" rights, but the big ones must remain inalienable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
-----------

My question is, why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?

Why shouldn't people just be free to do anything they choose except institute force against others? I have some ideas about this, but I would like to know what others think.

Because there is an inherent problem with implementation. How does one grant to government, an agent of retaliatory force, the ability to prevent force from being initiated, without the government becoming the agent of inititating force? Whether rights are enumerated or not, the problem exists within the nature of government power.

And, in my opinion, the only way to prevent that power from growing is the power of rational ideas within society. Once the rational ideas fade from people's minds, nothing will stop the government power from violating rights.

This is a mistake, no? Retaliatory force does not equal preventive power. Ayn Rand was specifically opposed to preventive law.

I think the one principle, as stated, is pretty good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
-----------

My question is, why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?

Why shouldn't people just be free to do anything they choose except institute force against others? I have some ideas about this, but I would like to know what others think.

Because there is an inherent problem with implementation. How does one grant to government, an agent of retaliatory force, the ability to prevent force from being initiated, without the government becoming the agent of initiating force? Whether rights are enumerated or not, the problem exists within the nature of government power.

And, in my opinion, the only way to prevent that power from growing is the power of rational ideas within society. Once the rational ideas fade from people's minds, nothing will stop the government power from violating rights.

This is a mistake, no? Retaliatory force does not equal preventive power. Ayn Rand was specifically opposed to preventive law.

I think the one principle, as stated, is pretty good.

I'm not sure how you interpret what I said as implying this. If there is a law that says it is illegal to rob but if you do rob, you'll get 10 years in jail, that is not preventive law, that is retaliatory law. If a policeman sees someone getting beat over the head with a pipe, he will certainly act to prevent the force from continuing. If a criminal is in jail, is he certainly prevented from initiating force against others. Perhaps my use of the word "prevent" lead you to your conclusion. I meant no such implication.

In the context I was talking about, the issue I was trying to address was how to prevent the government from inititating force. In the absence of the correct political /moral philosophy, I don't think it's possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the context I was talking about, the issue I was trying to address was how to prevent the government from inititating force. In the absence of the correct political /moral philosophy, I don't think it's possible.

Since we do have the correct moral/political philosophy, saying that there is an inherent problem with implementation (of the idea of a single primary right) sounded to me like no matter what, this idea could not be made to serve. Was the question supposed to be about the viability of the idea in the current climate, or about possibilities?

I was thinking in terms of the latter, and offhand, didn't see problems. I mean, I haven't thought much about it yet (though I think I may have wondered about this, or something like it, before). It's just that no obvious problems leap to mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the context I was talking about, the issue I was trying to address was how to prevent the government from initiating force. In the absence of the correct political /moral philosophy, I don't think it's possible.

Since we do have the correct moral/political philosophy, saying that there is an inherent problem with implementation (of the idea of a single primary right) sounded to me like no matter what, this idea could not be made to serve. Was the question supposed to be about the viability of the idea in the current climate, or about possibilities?

I was thinking in terms of the latter, and offhand, didn't see problems. I mean, I haven't thought much about it yet (though I think I may have wondered about this, or something like it, before). It's just that no obvious problems leap to mind.

Burke Chester asked, "why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?" Fundamentally, that right is what a proper government protects: it bans the initiation of force in social relationships. But that is not the only right we have. I was asking Burke how his proposal would be implemented. If all rights were replaced with that one right, how would the replaced "rights" be recognized in law if they weren't recognized as rights? Without the right to property explicitly held, am I initiating force when I prevent someone from walking on my property?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Burke Chester asked, "why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?" Fundamentally, that right is what a proper government protects: it bans the initiation of force in social relationships. But that is not the only right we have. I was asking Burke how his proposal would be implemented. If all rights were replaced with that one right, how would the replaced "rights" be recognized in law if they weren't recognized as rights? Without the right to property explicitly held, am I initiating force when I prevent someone from walking on my property?

It seems to me that the answer is contained in the question, i.e. in the meaning of my property. The very concept of property includes the right to its use and disposal by the person to whom it belongs. So... I guess right there is the need for that right to be explicit somewhere, if only in the definitions of life and property and so on.

Maybe 'replacement' is not right. Integration? But this may be an integration (or attempted integration) of concepts, even principles, in disregard of necessity. Clearly, I haven't thought a lot about this, but still find the topic interesting. I hope it's okay to (to use Jean Moroney's phrase) 'think on paper' here. If not, just tell me, and I'll go away and play with my toys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My question is, why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?

That's similar to asking, why should we designate various virtues like honesty and justice since all virtues are merely instances of rationality.

The reason we enumerate the various virtues is that each is rationality as applied in particular contexts. When faced with the choice of standing on one's own judgement versus going along with the crowd, "Be rational" isn't as specific or as helpful as "Be independent."

When it comes to political philosophy, it is very important to be as specific and concrete as possible, because that makes for understandable objective laws. Spelling out specific rights and specific crimes makes clearer, in real, concrete instances, what the right to life (the basic right) and the initiation of force (the basic violation of rights) really mean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Burke Chester asked, "why don't we replace all our rights with just one: the right of citizens to not have force (or fraud) instituted against them?" Fundamentally, that right is what a proper government protects: it bans the initiation of force in social relationships. But that is not the only right we have. I was asking Burke how his proposal would be implemented. If all rights were replaced with that one right, how would the replaced "rights" be recognized in law if they weren't recognized as rights? Without the right to property explicitly held, am I initiating force when I prevent someone from walking on my property?

It seems to me that the answer is contained in the question, i.e. in the meaning of my property. The very concept of property includes the right to its use and disposal by the person to whom it belongs. So... I guess right there is the need for that right to be explicit somewhere, if only in the definitions of life and property and so on.

Maybe 'replacement' is not right. Integration? But this may be an integration (or attempted integration) of concepts, even principles, in disregard of necessity. Clearly, I haven't thought a lot about this, but still find the topic interesting. I hope it's okay to (to use Jean Moroney's phrase) 'think on paper' here. If not, just tell me, and I'll go away and play with my toys.

I would never tell anyone to go away, especially if there were toys to play with. What kind of toys to you have? Can I play too? :lol:

Whether "replacement" is right or not, Burke would have to address that. I don't think it is a correct formulation, as Betsy indicates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's similar to asking, why should we designate various virtues like honesty and justice since all virtues are merely instances of rationality.

The reason we enumerate the various virtues is that each is rationality as applied in particular contexts. When faced with the choice of standing on one's own judgement versus going along with the crowd, "Be rational" isn't as specific or as helpful as "Be independent."

When it comes to political philosophy, it is very important to be as specific and concrete as possible, because that makes for understandable objective laws. Spelling out specific rights and specific crimes makes clearer, in real, concrete instances, what the right to life (the basic right) and the initiation of force (the basic violation of rights) really mean.

That's a really good point. I was thinking something similar, that without this enumeration who's to say how "force or fraud" would be later interpreted? Marxists use those words, but obviously with a different meaning. Some of the Founders, Jefferson in particular, were very worried about how the government would evolve under the leadership of Americans with English sympathies (namely he was concerned that it might be made into a monarchy). Also with enough Christian support, we might now be living under a state religion, had it not been for the explicit separation of Church and State. I think maybe it isn't generally understood that even among their American contemporaries the Founding Fathers were political revolutionaries that had to fight tooth and nail for their principles. They had to battle against irrational power lusters just as rational politicians (if they existed) would have to today. This enumeration in the Bill of Rights, I believe, was necessary, and we are far better off today because of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's similar to asking, why should we designate various virtues like honesty and justice since all virtues are merely instances of rationality.

The reason we enumerate the various virtues is that each is rationality as applied in particular contexts. When faced with the choice of standing on one's own judgement versus going along with the crowd, "Be rational" isn't as specific or as helpful as "Be independent."

When it comes to political philosophy, it is very important to be as specific and concrete as possible, because that makes for understandable objective laws. Spelling out specific rights and specific crimes makes clearer, in real, concrete instances, what the right to life (the basic right) and the initiation of force (the basic violation of rights) really mean.

That's a really good point. I was thinking something similar, that without this enumeration who's to say how "force or fraud" would be later interpreted? Marxists use those words, but obviously with a different meaning. Some of the Founders, Jefferson in particular, were very worried about how the government would evolve under the leadership of Americans with English sympathies (namely he was concerned that it might be made into a monarchy). Also with enough Christian support, we might now be living under a state religion, had it not been for the explicit separation of Church and State. I think maybe it isn't generally understood that even among their American contemporaries the Founding Fathers were political revolutionaries that had to fight tooth and nail for their principles. They had to battle against irrational power lusters just as rational politicians (if they existed) would have to today. This enumeration in the Bill of Rights, I believe, was necessary, and we are far better off today because of it.

The Founders originally promulgated the Constitution with no Bill of Rights. They believed that all they had to do was enumerate the powers the govt could exercise and rely on it not to exceed them. Essentially, they were assuming that everyone knew what their rights were. But they were having trouble getting the Constitution adopted by all the states because it had no Bill of Rights. So the Bill of Rights was added about 2 years later. Even then, they had trouble getting the Bill of Rights adopted because some feared that an enumeration of rights in the Bill of Rights would be construed as authority for the govt to violate others not enumerated. So they added the 9th Amendment to guarantee all our rights.

As a practical matter, no one has ever been able to enumerate all our rights. Few would agree as to what they are.

My view is that people should be free to do anything they choose as long as they aren't initiating force or fraud on others. This is an objective rule, but it raises the question of what exactly force is. If I trespassed on your property, am I using force on you? I would say that I am because I am interferring with the use of something you have earned and use to live. That's why we have a right of property. Similar considerations could be used to identify all our rights. People have the right to do the things necessary to live and enjoy their lives as long as they are not using force against others.

I believe that we should have one paramount right. We should all be free to do anything we choose except that we should not be free to use force or fraud against others. We would call it the right of liberty. We can then begin to identity more clearly what that means with more subordinate rights, such as the right of property, the right of free speech, etc. This second-level list of rights should probably be in the Constitution also. After that, legislative bodies should undertake to enact other laws that protect rights. These laws would be subordinate to the Constitution and could not contravene it.

This would eliminate a lot of problems we have now such as the perversion known as "human" rights (i.e. the "right" to use force to compel others to provide you with things you need such as food, education, health care, etc.)

As far as I can tell, none of this contravenes AR's view of rights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe that we should have one paramount right. We should all be free to do anything we choose except that we should not be free to use force or fraud against others.

Again, the problem is applying this principle to know what you can and cannot do. Those words might mean something different in the future. In the future the idea of force might be corrupted (as it has been in the past, by Proudhon) to mean that property is initiation of force.

The point of clarifying some basic, fundamental, rights, is that while people are figuring out what the heck is the right meaning of this or that word, that people have the ability to continue functioning in their lives. If a meaning of force changes as specified above, then no dispute or challenge will be possible; all property will be gone, government will take over, it'll be already too late. Whereas, as long as we have property and can live on our own land, working with our own property, we have the ability to fight and combat corruption of other lesser rights.

Some rights are existentially necessary, at every moment of living; not just the ability to move around and say what you want (liberty), but the ability to own something of yours (property), and lay claim to it independently of the government or any other authority.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I believe that we should have one paramount right. We should all be free to do anything we choose except that we should not be free to use force or fraud against others.

Again, the problem is applying this principle to know what you can and cannot do. Those words might mean something different in the future. In the future the idea of force might be corrupted (as it has been in the past, by Proudhon) to mean that property is initiation of force.

The point of clarifying some basic, fundamental, rights, is that while people are figuring out what the heck is the right meaning of this or that word, that people have the ability to continue functioning in their lives. If a meaning of force changes as specified above, then no dispute or challenge will be possible; all property will be gone, government will take over, it'll be already too late. Whereas, as long as we have property and can live on our own land, working with our own property, we have the ability to fight and combat corruption of other lesser rights.

Some rights are existentially necessary, at every moment of living; not just the ability to move around and say what you want (liberty), but the ability to own something of yours (property), and lay claim to it independently of the government or any other authority.

You don't think the idea of rights has been corrupted now?

Recognition of rights and protecting them is what the administration of justice should be. It's a field of endeavor like engineering, teaching, medicine, etc.

Say first that people have the right of liberty, to be free of the initiation of force by others or by the government. That's what AR says the function of govt is, the abolition of force as a way of men dealing with one another.

Few people fail to understand, at least at some level, that it is wrong to use force against others. There is nothing wrong with enumerating rights more explicitly after stating that force is outlawed, stating that people have the right of free speech, the right of property, the right of assembly, etc.

Right now we have a mess, leftists claiming all sorts of rights--the right to welfare, the right to a "livable wage," and on and on. And they have no dificulty claiming that govt force should be employed to protect these "rights."

On message boards with leftists, I can back them into a corner quickly by asserting that they are thugs who want to force the lives of others who are doing nothing to anyone else. I have the moral high ground, and they are on the defensive. I've been doing it for years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You don't think the idea of rights has been corrupted now?

Oh sure I do, but the reason why we can discuss it and try to fix it is precisely because the most famous and fundamental rights, that we need existentially in order to combat these pernicious ideas, have been protected in the founding documents. If neither liberty nor property were specified in the Constitution, do you think we'd even be here right now? That's the point, that besides mentioning an abstract notion (don't initiate force), also concretize it in the most severe and fundamental cases, so as to leave no mistake on the matter.

Enumeration of liberty and property is not the same thing as a Bill of Rights, by the way; it does not aim to exhaustively enumerate all of rights we're supposed to have, and thus doesn't fall into the same mistake which the Founders were against. Instead it specifies the existentially critical rights that we must have recognized, so that we can work on fixing everything else.

An example of a non-existential right is something like the ability to vote. Isn't it important to vote and choose the men who will rule over us? Sure it is, but it doesn't define our existence. We don't need it expressely defined, and instead can leave it implicit. If it gets violated, then as long as we have liberty to walk and speak freely, as long as we can own independently of another authority, we can speak out against violation of our ability to vote, speak out against other infringements of rights, etc. These two qualities, liberty and property, are fundamental to everything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My view is that people should be free to do anything they choose as long as they aren't initiating force or fraud on others. This is an objective rule, but it raises the question of what exactly force is.

Here's my definition of force (in a political context): Physical contact made by one person with another person's body or property without the other person's consent.

If I trespassed on your property, am I using force on you? I would say that I am because I am interferring with the use of something you have earned and use to live.

If, by "trespassing," you mean being in physical contact with my property without my consent, then it is force. Thus, if you are standing on my lawn and it has a "Keep off the Grass" sign, you are using force. If you are standing on my lawn because I invited you to a lawn party, thus giving you consent, you are not using force. If you are looking enviously at my beautiful lawn and I tell you to stop staring, you don't have my consent but there is no physical contact, so there is no force.

That's why we have a right of property. Similar considerations could be used to identify all our rights. People have the right to do the things necessary to live and enjoy their lives as long as they are not using force against others.

That requires that we first have a proper definition of "force" in a political context. Without that, how would you counter the claim that when you speak out and tell the truth you are violating the rights of the ignorant because you are forcing them to accept your arguments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My view is that people should be free to do anything they choose as long as they aren't initiating force or fraud on others. This is an objective rule, but it raises the question of what exactly force is.

Here's my definition of force (in a political context): Physical contact made by one person with another person's body or property without the other person's consent.

If I trespassed on your property, am I using force on you? I would say that I am because I am interferring with the use of something you have earned and use to live.

If, by "trespassing," you mean being in physical contact with my property without my consent, then it is force. Thus, if you are standing on my lawn and it has a "Keep off the Grass" sign, you are using force. If you are standing on my lawn because I invited you to a lawn party, thus giving you consent, you are not using force. If you are looking enviously at my beautiful lawn and I tell you to stop staring, you don't have my consent but there is no physical contact, so there is no force.

That's why we have a right of property. Similar considerations could be used to identify all our rights. People have the right to do the things necessary to live and enjoy their lives as long as they are not using force against others.

That requires that we first have a proper definition of "force" in a political context. Without that, how would you counter the claim that when you speak out and tell the truth you are violating the rights of the ignorant because you are forcing them to accept your arguments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My view is that people should be free to do anything they choose as long as they aren't initiating force or fraud on others. This is an objective rule, but it raises the question of what exactly force is.

Here's my definition of force (in a political context): Physical contact made by one person with another person's body or property without the other person's consent.

If I trespassed on your property, am I using force on you? I would say that I am because I am interferring with the use of something you have earned and use to live.

If, by "trespassing," you mean being in physical contact with my property without my consent, then it is force. Thus, if you are standing on my lawn and it has a "Keep off the Grass" sign, you are using force. If you are standing on my lawn because I invited you to a lawn party, thus giving you consent, you are not using force. If you are looking enviously at my beautiful lawn and I tell you to stop staring, you don't have my consent but there is no physical contact, so there is no force.

That's why we have a right of property. Similar considerations could be used to identify all our rights. People have the right to do the things necessary to live and enjoy their lives as long as they are not using force against others.

That requires that we first have a proper definition of "force" in a political context. Without that, how would you counter the claim that when you speak out and tell the truth you are violating the rights of the ignorant because you are forcing them to accept your arguments?

Fine. Let's take Betsy's definition of force and ask the question again.

Why can't we just say that individuals have the right to do anything they choose except initiate force against others?

(Putting aside for the moment the fact that fraud is a kind of force that does not necessarily involve physical contact and that the threat of physical destruction is also force that does not always involve physical contact.)

What I'm REALLY doing here is starting out with the idea that we should be free to do anything we choose unless someone can establish that we should not be free to do it rather than trying to identify all the things we should be free to do as is done in the Bill of Rights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What I'm REALLY doing here is starting out with the idea that we should be free to do anything we choose unless someone can establish that we should not be free to do it rather than trying to identify all the things we should be free to do as is done in the Bill of Rights.

As Ayn Rand noted once:

In a free society, all which is not explicitly forbidden is permitted.

In a dictatorship, all which is not explicitly permitted is forbidden.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites