Rights vs. Risk – Where Do Freedom and Liberty Really Come From?

rights vs. risk

Freedom is the ability to think, choose and act freely. Liberty is the ability to exercise freedom without external restrictions. Rights are the watered down and repackaged versions of your freedoms and liberties that have been stolen and sold back to you at a higher cost but lesser value. Yet statists and anarchists on the left and right all seem to agree that they have rights endowed upon them as a fact of their birthright.

This attitude insists that we are owed our rights, that we are entitled to them. Even the stodgiest ancap who balks at all other attitudes of entitlement will be quick to defend the rights that existence owes them. Like the social contract of statists, right-leaning anarchists will insist that rights magically appear at birth and are beyond question.

In order to help pull the wool over their own eyes they will call these rights and the laws they entail ‘natural’ so as to remove any question as to whether they exist. It’s natural, of course they exist! Yet when asked to point out the source or causative agent of these rights they always come up short. No glowing gold tablet at the end of the universe has yet been discovered to verify these natural rights and laws they take as absolute constants. No booming voice from the heavens makes intermittent announcements to insure us of these rights.

At this point in the argument it will generally shift towards an explanation that it is reason which allows us to know these natural rights. Human rationale, they say, can make it obvious that these rights are our birthright. Fifteen minutes later they will be creating a meme to ridicule political enemies who believe that rights like healthcare, food and shelter also exist naturally and can be know from within, albeit with the heart instead of the brain.

“FUCK YOUR FEELZ!” they will say. And when you tell them that they too are generating their logic from emotion by insisting that certain rights naturally exist, based only on the fact that they really want them to exist, they will enter a feedback loop of denial rationale. Even worse, many of these cats have flipped the script on rights and used them to create some kind of hard and fast guideline for when it is okay for them to shoot someone. Even the Non-Aggression Principle, a document that was intended to promote peacefulness, is now often being used to green light the trigger fingers of those who use rights to wallpaper over their violent or greedy tendencies.


The way I see it, rights are nothing more than entitlements based on magical thinking. Freedom and liberty do not come from a rigid set of rules that protect them, they come from self-responsibility and risk.

Freedoms and liberties are always taken by entities that promise to protect them for you. In order to maintain them we must never allow them to be placed in the hands of others. We must accept all of the risks of our existence and accept all of the responsibility for dealing with their consequences if we wish to keep our freedoms and liberties and not trade them in for a consolation prize called rights.

You are not owed any rights, nor are you owed your freedoms and liberties. The price of them is maintaining them yourself and accepting the consequences of your actions while doing so.

The source of freedom and liberty are not in some magical cosmic constant or in a guarantee. In fact they are only possible and meaningful when they come without a guarantee. Only then can they be earned by the individual. You are not entitled to any rights, but you may acquire your liberties and freedoms – if you work to maintain them as an individual.


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