Re: Rights

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 14 Jan 1999 09:43:37 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> > > So, Mr. "Macht macht recht"
> >
> > You joke about it, but actually "might makes right" can be
> > taken quite literally. Rights without might are paper tigers.
> An argument I have found effective in communicating this point:
> During the cold war, the USSR constitution included a guarantee
> of free speech to all citizens, just as the US constitution does.
> Why then was reality such that Americans had moderately free
> speech and Soviets did not? Because in the US, the people with
> the guns (cops, federal agencies, military, and many citizens)
> /believed/ in a greater level of free speech than did the Soviets
> (though still not very free by some measures).

Using might to enforce rights is merely one possible manner of enforcing respect for natural rights. Since the right to defend oneself is a natural right, using force *as an individual* to defend one's rights is a matter of natural law. Using force to deprive others of rights is against natural law. This shows that while force is not objectively moral or immoral, it can be used to either objectively moral or immoral ends. So you see, force is merely a means to an end, not the end in and of itself. "It is the right that defends all other rights."

Subjectivists try to deny that force follows from the natural right to defense, because they want to deny the existence of natural rights. Nothing scares me more than subjectivists in government positions, because they are the ones who have the greatest potential to become tyrants.

Mike Lorrey