On the intrinsic nature of rights

Human rights are neither granted not revoked, but merely recognized. This is because of the very nature of those rights, which is intrinsic to the human experience, as much a part of us as physical health or spiritual and emotional wellness, both of which can be in a greater or lesser state of health, but never the less are ideally fully functional.


I have struggled to explain what rights are in a Traditional and non-material-monist sense. In the introduction to Taylor’s “The Elysian and Bacchic Mysteries” Alexander Wilder M.D. mirrors to a lesser degree Guenons idea of sacred vs profane sciences when he says;

“The object of Plato is to present to us the fact that there are in the soul certain ideas or principles, innate and connatural, which are not derived from without, but are anterior to all experience and are developed and brought to view, but not produced by experience. These ideas are the most vital of all truths and the purpose of instruction and discipline is to make the individual conscious of them and willing to be lead and inspired by them”

I think this idea of indwelling ideas, ones not derived from experience can be seen even by the material monist who watches the child cry or nurse, but they extend far beyond that.

A right is not a permission granted by the government or any authority. It is inherent to nature, and much like an obligation, it can be honored or broken, but it can never be removed. For those for whom saying rights descend from God is offensive to their idea of reason, we could instead dance about the words and instead say that natural rights are natural, and hence part of the human experience, much like hunger or joy. A body can be starved and it can be sick, and it can be beaten, but that does not change that health and joy are the truest and ideal states of man, and to them all men aspire, excepting those who have been so badly compromised that they can no longer seek after their own best interest.

So it is with rights. A right is, to indulge only slightly in word games, that which is right or correct. It is the freedom which is the ideal and best state of man. Much as we would fight off a cold, mend a broken bone, or seek after joy when we are sorrowful, so also do right minded men seek after their own rights, and just as a physician becomes so not (always ;-p) for glory or a paycheck, but to help his fellow man return to their right state, so also should the politician and patriot both seek first to ensure the rights of man, which, to the properly minded individual, being that which is essential to the soul, are more important even than physical health and well being.

It is then a sign of unwellness when we seek to curtail our own rights, and of a deep sickness when we seek to harm those of others, just as it would be a sickness to seek to break our own bones, or cause sickness or injury to another human being.

Our modern search for safe spaces and the rejection of harmful language is, I believe, essentially right, in so much as it recognizes that the innermost being is as important as their physical being, but I believe they are flawed in so much as they do not recognize that health comes not from a lack of challenge, but from the complete freedom to explore and deal with these challenges, and come into being as a whole person, which can only be done when we move from the protection of our parents into the full rights and responsibilities of adulthood.

The use of force to defend ourselves from harm is right, and to meet spiritual or intellectual force with like force is also right. To come to the aid of someone being attacked is essential, and having a safe and secure place to be is of course a good and proper thing, essential for healing and time for contemplation. Where this becomes problematic is when we hide in these safe spaces for our entire life, not merely to recover from the battle which is life, but to avoid it.

So it is with the use of government (which is to say force of the masses) to curtail rights. When someone has shown that they will not honor the rights of others, (those being life, property, and freedom) it may become necessary to curtail theirs by force to thusly allow others to most fully exercise theirs. However, as it often is in medicine, sometimes the cure is more deadly than the disease, and we reach a point where in an effort to protect people, we have instead infantilized and irreparably harmed them.

For us to examine where that point is, we must begin by the acknowledgement that rights are not “granted” or “revoked” but rather are inherent, and our ability to exercise those rights in our own personal development is essential. We can then examine how governments and societies are either helpful or harmful to those ends.

I do not expect I will speak much of politics on this blog, but if I do, it will be from this core standpoint, that of the inherent freedom of the individual, and our own coming into better, as it were, health of freedom. The idea of the rights of man will, however occur regularly in my writings on Tradition and the role of the individual within a tradition.

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