Thursday, June 21, 2007

against rights

Arguments for a free society suffer most from their weak foundations, i.e. their over-dependence on the notion of "natural rights." As with most "theories" designed to claim that one's detractors are irrational for disagreeing with one (including, at least, all ethical and political theories), the theory of the "free" society began first with a conclusion, a mode of living which the theorist desired, and proceeded via the invention of a justification for said theory, in this case, the spurious notion of "natural rights." Yet "natural rights" are the most absurd and unmotivated of all political postulates. Even the most cursory examination of nature reveals that the only right shared by the living is the right to eventual death. The very essence of nature is conflict; the abuse, domination, and exploitation of some living creatures by others is the rule which defines life itself. Without such exploitation, there can be no survival, there can be no life. Only if one posits a benevolent creator who has accorded man special status in the natural order might one coherently defend any notion of "rights." Yet such a posit contradicts the most compelling doctrine of the free society, the acknowledgment of a "reasonable pluralism" of belief-systems and values. This pluralism is observed, and the consistency of the free society with observation in this case speaks strongly in its favor. Yet if the free society can only be defended by appealing to a particular belief system, i.e. one with a benevolent deity, then it ceases to be internally coherent.

The wise man says: let us seek a new foundation for the free society, or resign ourselves to the eternal oppression of ignorance, inconsistency, and wishful thinking!

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