You are on page 1of 9

Properties of Unalienable Rights

Morals and Ethics


Prof. Alex Izrailevsky
Justin Irving
http://myslccjustin.weebly.com

Properties of Unalienable Rights

Properties of Unalienable Rights


The majority of this essay will be drawing on the works of Aristotle in excerpts from the
Nichomachean ethics. His ideas that a society is intended for the service of human virtues paints
a picture for me that society might not be a cancer to the planet. It could be a natural process and
that nothing in nature happens except for more goodness. We need only wait till the end to see
how it will unfold. In the meantime however we need to conduct ourselves fairly so that we do
improve as a species. We are only as strong as our weakest link seems to be a fitting mantra that
Aristotle aims to give a solution to amend. Through my research I will touch on the main 3
components of natural rights that John Locke lays out being Liberty, Life and the right to
Property, property will include the concept of security. The following paragraphs will go in depth
on my reflections about these concepts tying in what I have learned from readings on Aristotle as
well as other literature. Within the whole debate of natural rights there are two camps the camp
on natural rights and natural law. Which is where I derive the majority of concepts from and how
I would logically construct conclusions from either of those precepts. Lastly I will conclude with
the pragmatism relating to the natural rights. Primarily how believing in natural rights has
affected our human ethics in a positive direction.

Liberty:
A profound concept that entail the capacity for humans to exercise either their natural rights or
their natural law. To understand my own capacity to exercise my freedoms I need to take to one
or the other philosophical standing to know where my rights are. If I were to understand myself
2

Properties of Unalienable Rights

as Aristotle puts it as a political animal then I would see myself with a right to my property, to
my family and having a responsibility to my state to its maintenance and to maintain myself as a
well-balanced person to live by the mean. This is a voluntary choice since I would still have full
right to become of the beasts or of the gods. However by choosing to retract from society I
would also deny my virtues to flourish. My time would be spent gathering berries and bear steak,
chopping wood and building shelter, tending to my own injuries as well as my families. This
would occupy all of my time as well as my own desire for leisure, the entire reason I would have
abandoned to the woods in the first place, making my mental faculties or reason wither away.
Reason being the primary component to man having natural rights as opposed to animals, also
why women are/have been/being treated unequally in political, economic and social affairs
having been excluded from educational expectations. So devoid of reason I would lose the whole
greatness of what man is which is what he can be. Or which is much less likely I would become
an internal force for reason creating logical connections through renunciation like Emerson, or
the Buddha. Even then it was their original associationintermissioninteraction with society
that allowed their influence to be great or to have made those connections anyway. Without
society a person will experience moments of profound beauty that is hard to judge qualitatively
but will perish without having passed on what is required to experience that beauty. Now say I do
decide to be a part of society I will then have renounced certain freedoms such as walking to the
market nude, which would inflict on others freedom to enjoy their day unoffended. But I would
be enamored like a crown with various ornaments of other human contributions. Men will
provide food, objects, shelter, entertainment and a never ending plethora of mental pursuits. Of
course the mountains never disappeared but as long as I admit to the rules us as free men have
decided to have, and I provide my own contribution to these men. My time will be spent not

Properties of Unalienable Rights

surviving but thriving as the strength of my will encourages me to. At first it is difficult to
believe that we are political men since I was raised thinking I am the son of god. A high
dubious thought that leads to nothing else but an admonished dismissal of hegemonic relations. I
doubt that even Aristotle would agree with having a mean of thought between the two.
So it is for men that society grows, I do not understand what is intended by Aristotle to say that
the State is prior the individual when it was the individual that created the State. Unless the point
is that after the States arrival individuals come into the state through birth. They are then
propelled into life through the states assistance. Which this process enables the state to gain an
upper hand by being a machine like process always growing dependent on its creation. While
men must grow from their birth a much shorter time than a state. So when men become
misunderstood of the states intentions being born of such distant language as well as dissimilar
education systems. A revolution can be a misplaced faculty thereby reversing years of progress.
On the other hand a state must be equal to the modern generations philosophy otherwise there
will be contention through lack of sympathy. The liberty of one generation must be equal to the
current needs of the mass population, a fantastic idea. That basic human rights should be granted
to everybody within a society regardless of sex, race, age or cultural background. Needs do not
change by nature; they change by ones sense of self. Which is why freedom also entails
empowering all with an equal sense of self. Having a societal standard for living with a
minimum as well as maximum the floor and ceiling reasonably low and reasonably high. An
imperative aspect to having basic human liberty. Which yes impairs freedom for some and
encourages for others but since the basic premise for being human is possessing unalienable
rights. The measure of a nations worth is not net worth, but how the general population is
enabled to exercise their reason as an equal part in their society.
4

Properties of Unalienable Rights

Life:
7 years ago my dad had a severe injury that disabled him from working it shattered his
pelvis confining him to a wheelchair for 6 months. He was self-employed as a general contractor
we have lived well but he was discontent I dont know why but he had tried attempting suicide 2
times prior. During this period of 6 months he was taking pain medication with a side-effect of
severe depression. His doctor took him off of this medication but during the withdrawal period
he shot himself. Was this immoral of him to do? It had always been his inclination but that could
have been a prior hormonal imbalance which had come to balance with age, the medication
being the rock painted gold that tipped over the scale. If you create a thing it is now your duty to
take care of the well-being of that thing as a philosopher, as a machinist, as novelist and as a
father. It seems it is in human nature to only want the flourishing of what we create that seems
like a most natural aspect of humans, anywhere. So to avoid that duty or even privilege for
having the capacity for creating, is within reason to think that there is an unnatural occurrence.
Through repression by having an unreasonable sense of duty gently chained to a person at birth
would cause a need to depart. By lacking reasoning properties due to whatever factors would
make death seem like the only way out. So to say that all men have a right to life except the right
to take their own as well as taking others; but I will touch on the latter point soon. Is to dismiss
all biological and psychological factors we are now aware of which is planted squarely on the
chest of the society. Just as those in prison are largely not bad people but are there because law is
not just, it is the result of the powerful. Those that commit suicide are the result of a twisted
societal philosophy, lacking empathy and livelihood pathways for self-preservation.

Properties of Unalienable Rights

If we were to look at murder rates across the globe we would notice that there is a discrepancy
from country to country, square foot by square foot it changes in proportion from who will kill
and who wants live and who wants to thrive. It is because of this that once again I do not find it
immoral to kill just as I do not think that a man will burn in hell because he was not born into the
correct religion. I do not think that man should go unpunished since we have laws, but the eye
for an eye model is affirming that men are born killers and men are born saints. Which
statistically is not true. Life as a natural right is true that men are born but as to how that life will
play out is largely dependent on the way men conduct themselves within and without the state.
This still does not give the right of men to take the lives of other men, but that the solution is not
in capital punishment, but through organizing ourselves away from unhealthy mental formations.
Suicide is considered a great sin because it is the usurpation of the right of God. This makes it
clear I agree with natural rights.
Property:
For John Locke property is that which is manipulated by mans hand that is within nature
is therefore that mans. So long as it is general and there is plenty of it for other people. Freedom
is our natural state say the naturalists, then the theologians state it is granted to us by filling
obligations by a sovereign entity. If freedom is our natural state then we must strive to exist in our
natural state of association with property. However this freedom must be sacrificed partially if
we want to recruit the assistance of other men to protect our property. As to gain use of their
property by lending use of our own in this relationship we create security. The further we
sacrifice freedom for security the further away we depart from a natural state, through use of a
social contract. In this social contract those who possess sovereignty are the natural people
within rather than a king or a god this is what democracy is. Thomas Hobbes justifies this
6

Properties of Unalienable Rights

because there is no difference between men in a general sense some are faster and stronger sure
but by looking at a skeleton there is no difference. For me this tunes in to the channel of Karl
Marx on alienation, that man is most natural when he creates a product, uses or sells the product
and also enjoys its benefit. When man is separated from a portion of this cycle he is alienated
from a natural state. So its a natural right for men to do be apart of the full economic process
which we all can and do at times, but that it is something man does not insist on doing is a
problem. That many of us are fine to not risk our security for the sake of an easy pay check
shows that we do not value our natural association with property. We have some of the best
dressed impoverished population in the world due to this. That companies can incentivize their
positions so well; people are willing to enter a life of servitude is reflective on our willingness to
submit security as well. It is this willingness to submit liberty for the sake of security that has a
dangerous snowball effect. Defending a right is far easier than reclaiming a right or demanding
one. If a person is willing to deny their amor fati for comfort it would seem not a very far stretch
to give up a basic freedom such as privacy to be protected from marginal groups. So long as
people do not feel empowered to take control of their lives as Dr. Victor Frankl expresses in
Mans Search for Meaning. If man does not see a purpose or meaning to his life he gives up, as
nihilism becomes the common attitude how could it possibly be that people will defend ardently
their basic human rights. When much more pressing and apparently immediate concerns are pile
driven into the human psyche by entertainment news. It is disconcerting to say that the only way
to awaken the public awareness of human rights is after they are gone. Look at the advances the
NSA has made, and the Patriot Act all immediately after a marginal experience. They are rare,
they are to be dealt with by taking appropriate measures to recover, but to prevent again from
happening by the use of security is ineffective. Like building a dam the water will flow another

Properties of Unalienable Rights

direction or build up to erode the dam until it breaks. More resources will be depleted in the
maintaining of this dam, however life will continue in an isolated way so long as the dam is
maintained. Anti-American rhetoric will continue so long as America does not learn to empathize
with other cultures, we are making a mistake by not allowing immigrants in for the sake of
security we sacrifice something much more precious in the process. Security in its very nature
is a box and the thicker this box gets the more distant its inhabitants get from reality by not
staying in tune with the outside demands. So America would be endangering herself more and
more in the future by not making intimate bonds with currently neutral countries and especially
her enemies. But are other countries the real threat? Or is the threat internal such as Nazi
Germany or the Bolshevik Revolution? Could it be that America is less concerned with attacks
from other countries than it is from upset citizens demanding change? Is Bentham right in his
acute disagreement with natural rights and the mentality they foster?
Bentham brings up a healthy dose of self-awareness to any sense of exceptionalism. It is
entirely hypothetical to assume the status of man pre-civilization. Under what other conditions
does man need to create terms of rights except within his own relationships? It is only within
conversation that you can demand free speech, a rock will not vehemently object! Man has lost
sight of the right of speech within the expansion of modernity priorities get mixed up in the head
rush of progress. The great injustices though were due to a lack of natural rights respected and
enforced. Whether or not they were natural having basic demands for human existence is
something that should not be given up to easily.

Properties of Unalienable Rights

Bibliography
Bambrough, Renford, and Aristotle. The Philosophy of Aristotle: A Selection. New York,
NY: Signet Classic, 2003. Print.
Hayden, Patrick. The Philosophy of Human Rights. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2001.
Print.
Frankl, Viktor E. Man's Search for Meaning. Boston: Beacon, 2006. Print.