Sunday, April 12, 2009


Societies protect rights because they benefit from doing so. Religions are tolerated because most religions advocate altruistic principles that are socially beneficial, not to mention that the oldest constitutional government is less that two hundred and fifty years old, but several religions have survived for millennia. When governments try to force citizens to choose between political interests and religious beliefs, it can't be sure that the masses won't opt for the latter.

The right to privacy arises from the fact that when people must interact in a society, reputations and public impressions are necessary to the relationships that allow that society to function. Recognizing a right to privacy allows a person some measure of control over his public image, and consequently allows him to function as a productive member of society. Libel and slander laws, it should be remembered, protect not privacy in itself, but reputation.

Freedom of speech recognizes that most worthwhile adeas originate with individuals, collective creativity being so fanciful as to be almost an oxymoron. Freedom of expression is necessary to access individual inspiration, and recognizes that the great ideas of history were largely solo accomplishments.

The right to own property assumes that individuals will have an incentive to put property to its most efficient uses, and as a consequence maximize the benefits of enterprise.

Rights are not altruistic accommodations by tolerant government; they are the essential components of the success and ultimate survival of societies.

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