|In a the recent poll discussion, Robert Bidinotto wrote ...|
If one believes, for example, that "rights" are natural and inherent (the "intrinsic" view of rights, held by the Founders), one will tend, over time, to be drawn toward the anarchist and "non-interventionist" conclusions prevalent in many libertarian circles. But here are the kind of premises required for this kind of faulty reasoning ...
Likewise, a religious view of "inherent natural rights" will lead to the anti-abortion views of conservatives. Etc. Ron Paul's understanding of "rights" is clearly of this traditional, "intrinsicist" variety, as witness his positions on a host of such issues.
(1) If one believes that rights are natural and inherent, then one has to believe -- on pain of contradiction -- in a universal NIOF rule (rather than a properly-conceptualized NIOF principle).
(2) All anarcho-libertarians believe thusly.
Therefore, anarcho-libs -- without exception -- are "non-interventionists" because of a belief in natural, inherent rights.
While this argument may be valid, it is not sound. That's because Premise 1 is false. Rights can be conceptualized as natural and inherent without contradicting a properly-conceptualized NIOF principle (rather than universal rule). Here's a lifeboat analogy ...
If it's you and Gilligan on the sinking USS Minnow, and there's one life-jacket left -- then it's contextually-appropriate to take it from Gilligan by force and to let the poor man drown. Now, the reason it's proper to "violate" Gilligan's "inherent" right to a human life -- is because the context doesn't provide for a humanly-livable life. Emergencies are valid exceptions to NIOF.
Also, if you were in a real-life "Survivor" or "Lost" kind of a situation; and you witness a man rape and kill another man's daughter; it's okay to "off him" right on the spot -- even though you're not the daughter's father. Even though the rapist/murderer has done NOTHING to you, personally. The reason that it's okay to "off" people who are so inhuman, is because acting human is required for the exercise of human rights. Now, I'm not saying that you only have the right to do what's right; there are situations were you do wrong -- but you do wrong in a humanly way -- and you get a pass or maybe a "slight" retributive backlash.
If a toddler forceably takes a toy from another toddler, then the proper response -- in the absence of disciplining adults -- is for the victim to physically harm the offending "toddler-perpetrator." This is a natural and healthy reaction to getting "jacked" like that. The same goes for adults in the absence of an orderly society. They should "jump" or "beat-down" one another whenever there's a predatory offense. As a bystander to such retributive behavior, I would not feel any natural threat by the physically-forceful (harm-inducing) reaction of the victim. Here's more on this subject from a guy named "Jim" ...
- The medieval/legal definition: Natural law cannot be defined in the way that positive law is defined, and to attempt to do so plays into the hands of the enemies of freedom. Natural law is best defined by pointing at particular examples, as a biologist defines a species by pointing at a particular animal, a type specimen preserved in formalin. (This definition is the most widely used, and is probably the most useful definition for lawyers)
- The historical state of nature definition: Natural law is that law which corresponds to a spontaneous order in the absence of a state and which is enforced, (in the absence of better methods), by individual unorganized violence, in particular the law that historically existed (in so far as any law existed) during the dark ages among the mingled barbarians that overran the Roman Empire.
- The medieval / philosophical definition: Natural law is that law, which it is proper to uphold by unorganized individual violence, whether a state is present or absent, and for which, in the absence of orderly society, it is proper to punish violators by unorganized individual violence. Locke gives the example of Cain, in the absence of orderly society, and the example of a mugger, where the state exists, but is not present at the crime. Note Locke's important distinction between the state and society. For example trial by jury originated in places and times where there was no state power, or where the state was violently hostile to due process and the rule of law but was too weak and distant to entirely suppress it.
- The scientific/ sociobiological/ game theoretic/ evolutionary definition: Natural law is, or follows from, an ESS for the use of force: Conduct which violates natural law is conduct such that, if a man were to use individual unorganized violence to prevent such conduct, or, in the absence of orderly society, use individual unorganized violence to punish such conduct, then such violence would not indicate that the person using such violence, (violence in accord with natural law) is a danger to a reasonable man. This definition is equivalent to the definition that comes from the game theory of iterated three or more player non zero sum games, applied to evolutionary theory. The idea of law, of actions being lawful or unlawful, has the emotional significance that it does have, because this ESS for the use of force is part of our nature.
Utilitarian and relativist philosophers demand that advocates of natural law produce a definition of natural law that is independent of the nature of man and the nature of the world.
Also, it's not true that ...
... "inherent natural rights" will lead to the anti-abortion views ...... and, though I realize that you prefaced this with "religious" -- which makes your statement right, but contextually irrelevant; because the "R"-word effectively taints every attempt to even reason from premises -- I want to address the logic of actual, de-mystified Natural Rights (the "right" Rights).
In my first encounter here at RoR (then SOLOHQ), I had a go-around with a wily character calling himself: "G. Stolyarov II." In that "go-around" -- I demonstrated (not postulated, demonstrated) how natural, inherent rights don't contradict abortions.
In short, rights are that which are -- in order to avoid contradiction -- exercise-able. When it would be impossible to exercise your individual rights -- such as when you're not yet an individual, but instead depend on another's nutrition and circulation for your minute-by-minute existence -- then you don't have any rights yet (because it isn't yet even possible for you to exercise them). Indeed, even the concept of "you" is still fuzzy -- while you're physically-inseparable from another freely-existing individual.
When someone's born human, they've got inalienable rights (in virtue of the kind of a thing that they are). We often limit someone's exercise of their natural, inherent rights -- as when we restrict a criminal's freedom to do anything that he chooses -- but we cannot ever limit their actual rights, per se; as we're not even in charge of that kind of thing, Identity is. Freed criminals don't get "rights" back (their rights were never taken away) -- they get the exercise of their natural rights back; that is, until and unless they "F"-up again and act inhuman to the point of violating others' rights!
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 10/28, 5:42pm)