Do you have a right to “your” car, “your” house, or even to “your” life? Why? Because the government says you do? Suppose they change their minds? Wouldn’t it be better if you could prove that you have a right to your property, including your own body?
This book offers such a proof. The proof begins with the premise that people have free will. A “right” is defined as a valid claim to the use of a physical thing, and the author argues that free will implies that the first person to use an unclaimed physical thing acquires a right to that use. For example, we acquire rights to use our bodies when we first use them.
Rights are transferred to another person when the right-holder abandons his right and the other person claims it. Rights are violated when another person uses the same physical thing in a way that conflicts with our use.
Difficult questions are tackled in this book, such as: What rights can children acquire? Can we acquire rights to intellectual property? How can retribution against criminals be implied by free will? Does a judge violate rights if he sentences a defendant who is in fact innocent? And, do rights conflict with survival?
This book is for people who enjoy thinking about political ideas. What should the basic principles of government be? To protect our safety and provide a system of justice? To give us housing, an education, and jobs? To make sure that we buckle up, stop smoking, and don’t get fat? Whatever you believe, you should be able to justify your beliefs. No, more than that. You should be able to prove that your beliefs are correct and that contradictory beliefs are incorrect. If you cannot do that, your beliefs are just another opinion, like all the other opinions out there. In this book, I tackle the job of trying to prove that people have rights, natural rights, and I try to show as exactly as I can what those natural rights are. Most of those rights are what you would expect - the right to own property and the right to control your own body, for example. But many of my conclusions about rights are contrary to the “rights” we now have and would require significant changes in our government. For example, I conclude that you have no natural right to a trial by jury or to cross-examine a witness. On the other hand, you do have a natural right take drugs and start a business. Is my proof correct or did I slip up somewhere? You decide.