Rights

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Rights are those actions capable of being performed by a human which all other humans are morally bound not to impede. A possible action is considered to be a right when and only when the action is never destructive in any way to the life of any other non-consenting human. A right is said to be "respected" if no human attempts to impede the action considered to be a right. Thus, a human is morally bound to respect the rights of another. The reason for this is because respecting rights is conducive to the lives of all parties involved.

If one person contravenes the rights of another, it is moral and proper for the victim to defend himself against his attacker, as well as to force the attacker to recompense the victim.

The notion of freedom is closely allied with the notion of rights. A person is free to do precisely that which he has the right to do. A person is said to be free (in general) if and when all of his rights are respected.

The most fundamental right is the right to life. Specific rights which derive from the right to life are:

  • Liberty (and the pursuit of happiness)
  • Property
  • Freedom of association

There is no such thing as a collective right. There are also several concepts designed to help obliterate the concepts of rights. As examples, Leonard Peikoff cites animal rights and fetal rights, among others.

See Also