Rights Are Santa Claus

Column by new Root Striker Dabooda.

I question the usefulness of the idea that people have natural, god-given, inalienable human rights.  It's been given a fair trial over the last several centuries, and it doesn't work.

As philosophers have noted, "rights" are a moral concept, without existence outside the human mind.  In the context of a particular moral code, one may properly speak of doing what is morally right as "a moral right," with the understanding that such a "right" imposes no obligation on anyone besides those who subscribe to that identical moral code.    But that is not the sense in which men commonly speak of "their rights."  They mean something grander, something that is universally possessed by all men, by virtue of -- what?  God's grace, man's nature as a rational being, Human Nature, the legacy of the Founding Fathers, or pure wishful thinking?  Take your pick -- they are all equally worthless.

Possession of a "right" has never protected men from the aggression of others, particularly the aggression of those who style themselves "governments". What has actually done the job but never received the credit is the moral choice of civilized people not to initiate the use of force against one another, and to defend themselves (and each other) from the human predators among us. When the idea of individual responsibility for the defense of life, liberty and property falls into disfavor, your society will not be free much longer. The men who step forward to "protect your rights" for you will soon become your masters. And so it has come to pass, time and again.

Libertarians hold to the idea of natural rights because they crave the behavioral consequences: they wish everyone would behave as though such things as "rights" actually exist, and must be respected. True enough: if everyone shares a fantasy, things will run smoothly until the first child stands up to declare that the emperor has no clothes. (Or until the first guy like Dick Cheney stands up to declare that he does indeed have the "right" to put people in cages and torture them to death.)

The problem with such fantasies is that they prevent us from becoming aware of exactly what forces actually work to make people free or unfree. As long as you believe in Santa Claus, you will not understand that it is your parents who love you and want to give you presents. As long as you believe in the literal truth of the Christian Bible, you will never be able to accept the fact of evolution, or even the fact that the earth is not flat. And as long as you believe in "rights," you will never realize that individual choices (i.e., to resist coercion) are the force that wins and preserves the freedoms which men claim to be their “Natural Rights.”

"Rights" do not exist. The power of choice does. Men are free to act with respect for the individual liberties of others, or to act without respect. There is no such force as a natural right that will reward virtuous action, or punish evil. There is only one force in human affairs. That is the force of individual will. Freedom is a choice, not a right.

The worst feature of the fable of "rights" is the belief that we are entitled to receive them -- by God or Nature or Society, or by great-grampa's victory on the battlefield -- some force outside oneself. This leads people to believe that it is the duty of that outside force to protect and enforce one's rights. Wait for God to protect you from a mugger, and you'll have quite a wait. Likewise, Mother Nature, or Society, or the Constitution. Your "right" not to be mugged is of no use to you, in the face of any random thug who doesn't believe in such nonsense. (Which makes him smarter than you.) So if you prefer not to be mugged, it is not useful to count on your "rights;" better to examine your choices. Your choice to carry a gun or to avoid dark alleys will be of infinitely more use to you than your "right" not to be mugged.

In a way, it is enormously liberating to give up the idea of "rights." You don't need to give up your own moral vision of good and evil, right and wrong. You just have to realize that it is individuals standing up for their own moral choices who are the only defense of liberty. You don't have to wait for someone else to deliver whatever "right" you believe you are entitled to enjoy.  Make the choice to defend those freedoms you value.  And if someone tries to stomp on your freedom, you will have to choose what to do about it.  You can accept the stomping, and lose your freedom, by default.  Or you can fight back.  If you do so impulsively, stupidly, ineffectively, you can still lose and get stomped.  But with planning, ingenuity and perseverance, you can win. Especially if you have help from like-minded friends and allies. Maybe you won't, but it's a chance, and you decide if it's a chance worth fighting for. Your own choices are the only control you have over your life; they are also the source of any security or liberty you will achieve.

Fighting the gangsters (the worst of whom call themselves "governments") who want to rob or enslave you is dangerous. They will be perfectly happy to imprison, torture and murder you to make sure no one else dares to question their authority. Unfortunately, safety isn't always an option. Life isn't safe. Bad, dangerous people exist, and some of them mean to take what you have, by threat or by force. You WILL have to deal with them. Resisting them is dangerous, but giving them everything they want, your property and your liberty, is also dangerous. Do you think they will take LESS from you next year, once you submit to them? Won't the tribute they collect from you now strengthen them in the future, and weaken you?  It sure would be nice if someone "out there" would just take care of the problem for you -- except every time people set up an organization (i.e., a government) to protect themselves from bad guys, all the SMART bad guys join the organization, worm their way to the top, and take up looting where the last bad guys left off.

The whole idea of natural rights, like religion, has the advantage of being a ready-made code of conduct for people who haven't figured things out for themselves. Like religion, it works to restrain some amount of human savagery. Just as some amount of juvenile savagery is restrained by the belief that Santa Claus will leave lumps of coal in the Christmas stockings of bad boys and girls. But what will restrain us when we grow up and see through the myths with which our parents, priests and politicians have tried to con us?

What are we to put in place of belief in rights? The ethics of non-aggression, peaceful voluntarism, and free trade. And a belief in choice. You may not have "rights," but you do have all the abilities and qualities of an individual human being -- which is all anyone else has. That means you have the ability to make choices and to direct your own action. You can choose what moral code you prefer to live by, and you can do so to the best of your ability. You can choose to respect other people's equal liberty to work to achieve their own values. You can choose to associate yourself with other people who share your important values, and you may enter into agreements with them to mutually defend and support one another against aggressors. And if you do this well, you will have all the same security that the notion of "rights" is supposed to give you, only with clear understanding of what your security actually depends upon. A child who understands that his gifts come from his parents is better equipped to deal with the real world than one who continues to believe in Santa Claus.

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Dabooda's picture
Columns on STR: 1


tzo's picture

"Coercion is the method of cannibals, looters, thugs and megalomaniacs, and the fruit of its operations is widespread misery, poverty, and war. Trade and voluntary charitable works, on the other hand, lead to peace, goodwill to man, and prosperity."

This is either an objective fact, or you are stating an opinion. If the latter, you may as well sit and type "Vanilla is the best flavor for ice cream" all day. Is the quoted paragraph nothing more than an insipid inanity?

Knowledge, the knowing of objective facts, is hierarchical. It begins with axiomatic propositions and builds its way up in a logical chain. Concepts that are not chained to the axiomatic floor are not knowledge.

I hold that the quoted paragraph is not just your opinion, but is fact. It is no more mysterious than claiming that plants that have sufficient light and water will prosper more than those that are deprived of such essentials. One condition is good (as far as plants are concerned) and the other is bad. There is nothing subjective about it—the reason plants exist is to grow. Fact. Things that aid this purpose are good. Fact. Things that thwart this purpose are bad. Fact.

The objective purpose of human life is to survive and thrive. That is why we are here. In this context, actions are objectively good or bad in how they relate to the objective purpose of human life. Jumping off high cliffs is objectively bad. Pushing others off of high cliffs is objectively bad. If plunging to death were not bad, it would either be good, leading to the end of the human race, or it would be neutral, and we should expect half the population, at any given time, to take the plunge.

Sure, I am using an extreme example. But if the logic holds, it should be able to be applied universally to *discover* what is good and bad for human survival. The NAP is probably the simplest, universally applicable way to express the logical manner in which human beings should interact with one another in order to ensure their survival and prosperity, which are the objective purposes of human life.

There are ways to define good and bad to make them objective. There are ways to define good and bad to make them subjective. If you do not wish to use good and bad objectively, then we will invent other words that will cover the concepts.

(Runs "Objective Ethics" flag up flagpole once again and salutes it)

Dabooda's picture

Your root error: "The objective purpose of human life is to survive and thrive." Ain't no "human life" around, friend tzo, nor any "human race" -- just us plain folks. Individuals. Each and every one of us perfectly free to choose and pursue our own "purpose." The existence of words and concepts which describe large numbers of people does not obviate the fact that only individuals actually, physically, exist -- all the fancy collective nouns are tools of thought or figures of speech, and nothing more.

As I said, some moral standards and ethical behaviors are more conducive to healthy, prosperous life than are others. But I cannot impose my own preferences in this regard on others. If they choose to regard the purpose of their lives as carrying out the commandments of some imaginary Super Spook, or following the orders of some megalomaniacal human Authority -- free will allows them to do so. You can choose your own purpose. You can't choose mine. Or anyone else's. That's an objective fact.

(Dabooda belches, thinks: "now tzo is in my . . . stomach," smiles benignly at a small dog saluting a nearby flagpole with a lifted leg.)

tzo's picture


"The objective purpose of every individual human life is to survive and thrive."

I meant no collectivity. Every living person is living proof of the objectivity of this statement. Every action you take is purposeful, not random. And what is the purpose of each and every action you take? To further your own survival and prosperity. Are there many choices to make at every moment? Yep. Will you always make the best decision? Nope. You may make mistakes, and if the mistakes are serious enough we will no longer see you here among us.

Interacting with other human beings is a part of this equation. You will not eat me in order to win this argument, because the consequences outweigh the benefit. This is logic. This is reason. Yes, any individual unit may make irrational or accidentally bad decisions and cause his own downfall.

If you truly believe that the human race (yes, collectively) has stuck around and will continue to stick around because each individual is completely random and illogical in his actions, then that is a bizarre thought.

Wolves are pack animals. Some will go off on their own. They may do well, maybe not. The fact remains that wolves are pack animals and if they are to continue to survive on the planet, they will, as a whole, continue to act in the manner that allows them to thrive.

Humans are rational animals. Some act irrationally, often to great advantage for themselves. The fact remains that humans are rational animals and if we are to continue to survive on the planet, we will, as a whole, continue to act rationally in order to allow ourselves to prosper.

Natural law is a statistical phenomenon, like Boyle's law. It is quite accurate about the collection of atoms in a contained gas, but says very little about the specific actions of each individual atom. And yet the statistical "overall" behavior of the atoms describes the entire collection that makes up the contained gas.

Is Boyle's law objective or subjective?

You say, "You can choose your own purpose. You can't choose mine. Or anyone else's. That's an objective fact."

It is interesting that you can magically choose which of your subjective opinions get promoted to objective fact. I guess you are free to do so, as long as you acknowledge that all your declarations of objective fact are, in objective fact, your subjective opinion.

So it's still turtles, all the way down. Sorry for the mess I just made on your keyboard.

Dabooda's picture

* Existence does not imply purpose. Your argument amounts to: "people exist, therefore their purpose is to exist." Come on, tzo, does that make any sense? "Purpose" presupposes an entity capable of choosing from among different alternatives. Individual people can and do choose different purposes for themselves besides simple "existence." You're rapidly approaching the black hole of solipsism.

* You compare mankind to a cloud of gas atoms, and use Boyle's Law as an analogue to an objective system of ethics. I see only hot air here. When each molecule may consciously choose its own direction, we'll talk about your analogy further.

* I did not say human beings chose their moral codes randomly or arbitrarily. They absolutely do not. The function of morality is to guide each individual in making the choices presented to him by the real and objective world -- and objective reality is not kind to those who try to adopt random or arbitrary behaviors.

* You are correct: I will not eat you in order to win this argument, because the consequences do outweigh the benefits: I fear a tzomachache.

* Things that necessarily happen only inside an individual mind are by definition subjective phenomena. Morality, for example. Observations about the outside world and real behaviors are statements of objective facts -- or lies. You decide which of my statements is which.

* I haven't heard the story of the turtles. Enlighten me, please?

Suverans2's picture

G'day Dabooda,

"Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another...” ~ Voltaire

If we define a "right" as a "just claim"[1], would you still say "Rights are Santa Clause", i.e. there's no such thing as "just claims"?

I think you, and perhaps many others, may be defining "right" as, "That which is just, morally good, legal, proper, or fitting," and therein lies our apparent disagreement. We cannot, however, define a "right" or "rights" that way; as can be plainly seen, it simply doesn't fit.

[1] Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, found at noun definitions 5, 6, 7 and 10

Dabooda's picture

A note on that spam filter: I've had several problems with it myself. I tried to post a link to the web address of Ed Griffin's essay "The Chasm: Two Ethics That Divide the Western World," and the spam filter nailed me. It's a big pdf file that takes a minute or two to load, so I guess that makes it "suspicious." Try taking the links out of the next post you have trouble with; that will likely solve the problem.

Defining "a right" as a "just claim" is fine, as far as it goes. However, "justice" is a derivative of some specific moral system, not the other way around. Morality >> Ethics >> Justice >> Rights. Look again at the list of definitions you linked. The very first definition is "conformity to the will of God." That should be a clue: without a defined moral standard, you can have no agreement on what IS "right," no agreement on what constitutes "justice," and no agreement on what "rights" men ought to have.

You are correct that i define "right" as synonymous with "moral." Further, I can and do define "rights" that way: One has A (moral) right to do what IS (morally) right. But such "right" and "rights" are meaningful only in a particular defined moral context. If you recall, this is the same derivation of "rights" that Ayn Rand used in The Virtue of Selfishness(I believe in the essay "Man's Rights.")

Suverans2's picture

G'day Dabooda,

Read your sentence with your "synonyms" inserted and you will see that it is nonsensical, "One has A moral to do what IS morally." You used (moral) as an adjective and (morally) is an adverb.

"Defining "a right" as a "just claim" is fine, as far as it goes."

"As far as it goes?" It is our "just claim", (read that "right"), to life, liberty and property that makes it morally wrong when someone takes any of them without our consent. Your list (Morality >> Ethics >> Justice >> Rights) puts the cart before the horse.


    Section I.

    The science of mine and thine ["just claim"] --- the science of justice --- is the science of all human rights; of all a man's rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


    "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property ["just claim"] existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." ~ The Law by Frédéric Bastiat


    Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.” Excerpted from Man's Rights by Ayn Rand
Suverans2's picture

G'day once more Dabooda,

Let us try this. Here is another sentence excerpted from Ayn's essay entitled Man's Rights.

    "There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life."

Substitute, first, "moral", then "just claim" for the second appearance of "right" in that sentence, and it may help clarify the matter.

    There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s moral to his own life.
    There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s just claim to his own life.

As we can all plainly see the only way that first sentence can make sense is to use "moral claim", which, for all intensive purposes, is identical to "just claim".

Suverans2's picture

G'day Dabooda,

I'll 'prolly' be labeled a "tzo lackey" for this observation, but "human life", in my opinion, is not a "fancy collective noun". And stating things in a rude manner, like that, does nothing to "establish [your] bona fides as a worthy Rootster". It feels more like you are trying to establish a "pecking order", with you at the top. "Worthy rootsters", in my opinion, treat each other with respect, until disrespected.

p.s. By the way, have you read tzo's Failed Theory of Relativity yet. It is well worth the read.

    "(Runs "Objective Ethics" flag up flagpole once again and salutes it)"
Dabooda's picture

* Sorry to have confused you, Suverans2. I was giving a definition of "right" as an adjective, synonymous with "moral," also as an adjective. You spent a lot of time on misunderstanding me.

* Please restate your problem with my formulation: Morality >> Ethics >> Justice >> Rights. I'm not understanding your argument. Note the definitions I used way back in my reply to tzo's second comment. In YOUR opinion, which concepts subsume the others? [Note: has it occurred to anyone responsible for the design and upkeep of the STR website, how nice it would be, to be able to link to a specific comment? Check out the Daily Paul website for an example worth emulating; it does this beautifully.]

* I was not intentionally being rude to tzo in saying "fancy collective noun" -- I did not expect that he would take offense for any slight to a collectivist idea. And I don't believe he did. He has subsequently revised his statement, quite properly, and I respect him for it. If offense was taken, I do apologize.

* I have been deliberately refraining from comment on tzo's "Failed Theory of Relativity," and plan to continue doing so. I've read it, and agreed with little of it, for reasons that should be apparent by now.

* Your feeling that I am trying to establish a pecking order is likely a result of my unforgivable presumption in presenting superior arguments. (Quoth Robert Heinlein: "When the fox gnaws, smile.") Strike that; I'm just messing with you. Actually, there is more than a little truth in what you say. But recall whose article we are discussing here. My ego is involved. When you write a comparable essay of your own, you will understand the true joys of watching the children of your mind being eaten by hyenas. See if you don't get defensive.

* Ayn Rand, alas, was not an anarchist. She believed that men need governments to protect their rights for them, never mind that governments have always been the greatest violators of all rights, natural and otherwise, by many orders of magnitude. To justify the monopoly of power to be given to the rulers, she theorized an "objective" morality and "objective" ethics into being, which she claimed could be justly applied to all men, regardless of their personal beliefs about morality and justice. I could write pages on this subject, but Larken Rose has already done a bang-up job in The Most Dangerous Superstition. (Suverans2, if you want a copy,but can't get it in Australia, let me know. I can send you one.)

Suverans2's picture

G'day Dabooda,

I am of the opinion that it may be someone else who is confused. In your sentence, "One has A (moral) right to do what IS (morally) right," I believe you will find that moral is an adjective[1] describing the noun[2] right, and morally is an adverb[3] describing the adjective right.

What I've been trying to point out, to you, and others here, is the fundamental definition of "right" as a noun, i.e. a "just claim".

I don't have a "problem" with your formulation, Dabooda, other than, as earlier stated, "the cart is before the horse", in my opinion. It is "rights", i.e. "just claims", that determine what is moral, what is ethical, and what is just. Without this critical foundational stone, "relativity" reigns supreme, which is, in truth, what has "been given a fair trial over the last several centuries, and it doesn't work".

It is evidently I who need to apologize, since you point out that it was apparently only I who thought your verbiage a bit rude. Ah, so anyone who challenges "the children of your mind" are "hyenas". How dare I challenge "superior arguments"?! What was I thinking?! I extend to you an apology equal to the one you have given me.

Whether Ayn Rand was an anarchist or not, adds no value whatsoever to this conversation, and remember, it was you who brought her up, not me.

Oh, and by the way, you inadvertently forgot to answer this question [slightly reworded for clarity]: If we define a "right" [noun] as a "just claim"[4], would you still say "Rights are Santa Clause", i.e. that ""Rights" do not exist"? If so, we may want to end this discussion right here, since we will seemingly be at an impasse.

Thank you for your very kind offer to send me a copy of The Most Dangerous Superstition, but that won't be necessary.

[1] In grammar, a word used with a noun, to express a quality of the thing named, or something attributed to it, or to limit or define it, or to specify or describe a thing, as distinct from something else.
[2] In grammar, a name; that sound or combination of sounds by which a thing is called, whether material or immaterial. [See Name.]
[3] In grammar, a word used for describing a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or a whole sentence. Adverbs in English often consist of an adjective with “-ly” added, for example “quickly,” “mainly,” and “cheerfully [or, as in this case, "morally"].
[4] Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, found at noun definitions 5, 6, 7 and 10

Dabooda's picture

* Suverans2, I'm sorry, but I've lost interest in your definitional quibbles. As we've both noted, the word "right" has about a gazillion different definitions. Your notion that only "a just claim" is the fundamental and proper one is sounding more and more like an evangelist's sermon about his One True God. i know that sounds insulting, and let me say that I do not intend to belittle your intelligence or your rationality. I do respect both. I just mean that you seem to have a fixation that I do not share, and I'm tired of it. Anything else you'd like to talk about?

* I explained my defensive attitude toward the comments on this article; I didn't apologize for it. If you don't like it, my regrets.

* I brought Rand into the conversation to help explain how I derive the idea of "rights" from fundamental moral premises -- which happens to be the same derivation Rand used. You proceeded to offer another quote from "Man's Rights" supporting your position; fair enough. Rand is now a legitimate part of the discussion, since we both seem to be familiar with her work on ethics and rights. My point about her not being an anarchist is a relevant tangent because her idea an objective ethics is quite similar to your own. (I won't say "identical" because I haven't read The Virtue of Selfishness in the last twenty years and no longer have a copy of it to refresh my memory.) Anyway, my point about her being a statist was intended to suggest that she suffered from what Harry Browne called "The Dictator Syndrome", a belief that she possessed a universally true vision of morality, ethics and rights which could righteously be imposed on all of mankind via the institution of government. She had to believe her own idea of "proper government" had a foundation in an objective system of ethics, else it would clearly amount to imposing an arbitrary, unjust rule over all mankind.

It then occurred to me to wonder -- what is even the ultimate POINT of trying to craft an objective ethics? Men have free will, so even if you or I can come up with an ethical system totally in tune with objective reality, will all people everywhere adopt it for their own? Clearly not. We are not philosopher kings, let alone gods to coercively impose our will on others. If we possess integrity, we will each personally adopt the most rational moral standard we can conceive, and may try to persuade others to likewise adopt it. But will we try to impose it on others by force? By government? Rand was fine with that. I'm not. What about you?

See, if you take away the idea that we need a government to impose and enforce ONE ethical system on all humanity, and allow competing private systems of justice to develop, the most rational system will eventually prove its superiority over all others in the free market for justice. Or so I believe. Trying to impose ONE system on the world, on the other hand, NO MATTER HOW RATIONAL AND OBJECTIVE YOU BELIEVE IT TO BE, is much more likely to lead to absolute tyranny and widespread injustice. (Which is another reason why you should read Larken Rose's book; he delves into this precise subject in depth, and brilliantly.)

Suverans2's picture

"If offense was taken, I do apologize." ~ Dabooda, posted on March 05, 2011

“The philosophy of liberty is based on the principle of self-ownership”, i.e. the right, or “just claim”, to one's own life. This is NOT a mere “definitional quibble”!!

But I will trouble you no longer on the subject, because I have lost interest in your sophistic arguments. And, if offense is taken, I extend to you an apology equal to the one you have given me.

Darkcrusade's picture

lol.I knew it. Pure B.S. ,that a child can see though. When you were about to pin him down to the fact that right = just claim(personal souvreignty) He was forced to back-pedal quicker than a chuck norris round housed drunk. Notice also that he was the only one mudding the waters with the verbose,qualified rights.That is the government granted privliges or simply stated ' benifits '. The dogma he is pushing distills down to Might is Right. http://technoccult.net/library/mightisright.htm
Or the divine right of kings.This is how the elite veiw the slaves, We have the right to do these things to the serfs,if this was not so, we would not be in the position we are (that is,at the top RULLING).

The agenda is transparent.........i hope no one partakes of that kol-aide.

Dabooda's picture

What can I say?

How about: "Hahahahahah! So you found me out! Yes, I am a shill for the New World Order, paid by my evil masters to justify a return to the Divine Right of Kings. But you'll never take me alive! Hahahahhah!" (vanishes in a cloud of noxious black smoke.)

Or: "Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life down here." (Well, actually there is. But you, Darkcrusade, are not it.)

Hogeye Bill's picture

This is a case where a precise definition clears almost everything up.

right (general moral right) - a moral claim to freedom of action

Once you know the definition, things fall into place. Obviously rights do not automatically protect anyone. They are only a claim. Obviously what one deems rights depends on one's morality. But is the concept useful? I say yes, because it gives a common starting point - a common premise - for liberty. Theists can base rights on supernatural critters; atheists can base it on the observed nature of humans or an implicit contract upon interacting with society. Egoists can base it on egoism; altruists can base it on serving mankind. From various diverse bases, people can agree on certain moral claims to freedom of action. IOW the concept of rights allows us to ignore the various underlying justifications and still agree on a starting place. There are certain claims common to all these various philosophies. For a more detailed discussion of this topic, see the chapter of my e-book "Against Authority" entitled "Listen Egoist!" at http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/library/aa/p027.html

Suverans2's picture

G'day Hogeye Bill,

right n. ...2. That to which one has a just claim... ~ Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, copyright 1916-1960, page730

Probably the main contributing factor to the lack of understanding of "rights" is the fact that there are a number of different kinds of "rights". Although you and I may not necessarily agree with Noah's [Webster] particular enumeration under the heading, "RIGHT, n. ...10. Just claim ...Rights are natural, civil, political, religious, personal, and public," they nonetheless make the point. A Dictionary of Law, (Black's first edition c. 1891), page 1045, classed them as "natural, civil and political". I am reminded of the story of the blind men and the elephant .

The problem you point out with "general moral rights" occurs because there are, in fact, no such thing as "general moral rights".

Morality is a slippery slope to traverse, which is exemplified by definition number 4 below.

mo·ral·ity (mō ral′i tē, mô-, mə-)
1. moral quality or character; rightness or wrongness, as of an action
2. the character of being in accord with the principles or standards of right conduct; right conduct; sometimes, specif., virtue in sexual conduct
3. principles of right and wrong in conduct; ethics
4. a particular system of such principles

Natural rights, on the other hand, "are rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity".

Darkcrusade's picture

Try the test to see what you come away with? >


Absolute Truth - True for all people at all times everywhere?