Individual Rights And The Meaning Of Freedom

Individuals possess rights because of which there are things that no person and no group or institution may rightfully do — not without being in violation of those rights — which is to say, without being in the wrong. It is no accident that “wrong” is the opposite of “right” in this context as well.

The proof of rights is found in the fact that the only alternative to acting by right is acting by permission. Now please ask yourself: whose permission? And who gives permission to the one whose permission you’re acting under and to the one above this one and then to the one above her and so on? And why?

If, for instance, the government says that one business can be open — let’s say a coffeeshop or a liquor store — but not another (a restaurant, for example, or a bar), these businesses and the individuals who own and operate them are all acting and operating not by right but purely by governmental permission.

Rights by definition can only belong to individuals — not groups — since it is only individuals who compose any group or so-called collective. Rights legally guarantee your freedom and independence as an individual human being.

Independence is autonomy. It is the freedom to govern yourself and to rely upon your own independent judgment.

Independence is the freedom to express your own individuality.

When humans are left free, they invent, they innovate, they create, they exchange — they freely associate, which in turns creates more innovation, more invention, more idea generation, more creation. In this precise way, freedom — the freedom to live and to produce and to keep the fruits of what you produce — creates prosperity and goodwill among human beings.

An adversary ethic and epistemology — i.e. a government governing not by consent but by consensus; knowledge gained not by processing all the relevant data and its context, nor by the hierarchy of facts, but by consensus — they negate the prosperity and goodwill among humans that freedom brings.

But what in the final analysis is freedom?

Freedom, in its most fundamental form, has only one meaning: it is the omission of force.

Freedom is the absence of coercion.

It simply means that you are left alone.

It means that every individual — regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, color, class, creed, gender, brawn, beauty or any other non-essential characteristic — every individual possesses the absolute right to her own life, and only her own life.

The thing that distinguishes the free person from the unfree person is voluntary action versus action that is compelled.

Freedom, like rights, is one of these things that virtually everyone believes in — that is, until everyone finds out what it actually means. And then almost no one believes in it.

The difficult thing for many people to accept or grasp about freedom is that it doesn’t actually guarantee much of anything. It doesn’t guarantee success or happiness, or shelter, or a certain income, or food, or healthcare, or a “level playing field,” or a level training field, or anything else that must ultimately derive from the production or labor of others. Freedom means only that you are free to pursue these things and that if you achieve them, they are yours unalienably, which in turns means: they cannot be taken, transferred, revoked, or made alien.

It is, for example, a simple-to-say and almost obscenely common platitude that you have the right to a job, or the right to healthcare, or the right to free housing. It is much more difficult to say what this implies: namely, that you have the right to the knowledge and labor and life of another human being. Because you do not. Nobody does.

The IHME is meanwhile suddenly realizing that Farr’s Law won’t be subverted — not even by Covid-19 or the panic it created — and that the virus is fading fast. And yet they nevertheless need to find a way to declare victory. But please don’t be fooled, not for a moment: the idea that social distancing by itself can kill off a virus is one-hundred percent pseudoscience. The IHME has realized that Covid-19 is somewhat seasonal and not nearly a big enough deal to justify the immense destruction that’s been wrought.