If You Think “Rights Don’t Exist,” You are Contributing to the Collapse of Civilization

By Joe Jarvis Via The Daily Bell

To say “I don’t believe in rights,” is like saying, “I don’t believe in language.”

Uttering the phrase contradicts your claim. Humans created language in order to constructively communicate. Language is real because people agree on the meaning of words.

In the same vein, humans created the concept of rights to facilitate peaceful human interaction. Rights are real because people agree (sometimes without realizing it) on what constitutes a right.

Even as someone utters, “rights don’t exist,” they are exercising their most basic human rights.

It is self-evident that they believe they have a right to live because they are alive. They believe they have the right to liberty; aren’t they saying what they wish to say? And haven’t they taken the time to ponder their beliefs? They have done so in their best attempt to understand the world, and thus apply that understanding to the pursuit of their own happiness.

Civilized Society is Built on Individual Rights

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” -Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence (emphasis added)

Of course, “men” in this context means humans, even though at the time women were prevented from exercising their rights to the same degree men could. And of course, at the time, a partnership between government and industry kept black slaves from exercising their freedom.

But Thomas Jefferson knew what he was writing. Despite his faults, he knew that he was setting the stage for women, blacks, and all people to be free.

And whether God, nature, the universe, Gaia, Allah, or whatever life force exists; humans are naturally born free.

This means rights are the free exercise of your will.

Absolutely every peaceful action you take is your right. When an action is measurably harmful to another person, that is where rights stop.

This framework ensures no conflict or contradiction between the ultimate exercise of your free will and the ultimate protection against those who would interfere with your freedom. This recognizes the equality of everyone.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote, “among these rights,” he was laying a foundation. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness encapsulate every other right.

Another way of saying this is the right to self-ownership. You own yourself. That is why rights cannot extend past the point of harming others. Once your actions hurt someone, you have violated their right to self-ownership. You are no longer dealing only with your life, your liberty, and your happiness. You have affected another person’s rights. You have taken their freedom to choose what happens to their most precious property, their own being.

Thomas Jefferson borrowed this concept from John Locke who wrote that the basic human rights are “life, liberty, and property.” Locke also wrote elsewhere extensivelyabout just how important it is for a human to have the unrestricted ability to pursue happiness.

The necessity of pursuing happiness [is] the foundation of liberty.  As therefore the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness; so the care of ourselves, that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty.

I suspect Jefferson’s marketing instincts made him change the wording. You always want to appeal to emotion if you want people on your side. Happiness sounds less greedy than property. And yet not only are property and the pursuit of happiness the exact same thing. Locke and Jefferson were four times redundant.

Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and property are all the exact same thing. And as we’ll see, these concepts have other synonyms as well.


Your body is yours. Your life is yours to live.

You may do with it as you choose. And no one else is justified in interfering with your life. And of course, that means you are not justified in commandeering another’s life without his or her consent.

Consent. That’s another synonym. Life, liberty, property, self-ownership, the pursuit of happiness, and consent in all matters concerning you. These are among your many rights.

And when someone violates your consent, when they stop you from pursuing what is best for you, when they act as if they own you, when they take or destroy the fruits of your labor, when they stop you from exercising any and all of your many freedoms, or when they take your life, they are wrong.

That doesn’t mean they will be punished. This is simply the best philosophical framework to facilitate peaceful human interaction.

It is the best because it assumes that it is a self-evident truth that all people are equal.

And it is a great litmus test to see if someone is a dangerous person. What kind of person would disagree with this live and let live philosophy?

Your life is your life, and when two lives clash, whoever caused the conflict is wrong. This is self-evident.

The fact that it is sometimes difficult to discover or understand who started the conflict does not diminish this truth.


What right does a man have to stop you from taking an action? Only the right to stop you from taking an action which harms him.

You have the same right to stop him from hurting you.

But when his actions do not affect you, you have no rightful say in the actions he takes. And he has no rightful say in the actions you take.

Isn’t this a self-evident framework for how humans should interact? Doesn’t it place everyone on equal philosophical grounds?

The fact that those who commit wrongs are not always punished does not negate the right to liberty. It is easy to see that the liberty of every individual is not always respected.

So humans create systems to enforce this framework. The rule of law or common law frameworks help to enforce the system of individual rights. Common law proceedings attempt to identify exactly when and where someone crossed the line from exercising their own rights to violating another’s rights, and punish the perpetrator accordingly

This creates a civilized society based on natural law by resolving conflicts without further violence.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Why would you ever try to stop a person from pursuing their own happiness? A civilized person would not.

A civilized person recognizes that every individual’s life is their most precious possession. And every person must have the liberty necessary for them to even attempt to make their life a happy one.

The pursuit of happiness is the freedom to forge your own path, to take the actions you feel are best for you. It is self-determination, self-ownership.

And of course, it is absolutely no guarantee of actual happiness. It is rather the philosophy that it is wrong for anyone to stop you from taking the actions which you deem to be most likely to lead to a fulfilling life.

If your version of happiness includes robbing others of their life, liberty, and property, you are wrong for doing so. Again, the limit of all rights is when they interfere with the free exercise of others’ rights.

This reciprocity creates equality.


You believe in the right to property.

I know this because you are alive. And to be alive means you eat food and drink water. When you eat and drink you monopolize those resources–you claim them as your own, your property.

They become your property when you exercise your liberty to pursue a quality life. Certainly being fed and watered is necessary for happiness, necessary for life.

By combining your labor with a natural resource, you make something your property. It becomes an extension of you. Because you own yourself, you own everything your labor creates.

Of course, advanced economies make the interactions more intricate. We deal with transfers of property and substitute payments for labor.

Yet respect for individual rights ensures society remains civil no matter how advanced and interconnected the economy becomes.

You cannot force others to labor for you, because that robs them of their property, their liberty, their ability to pursue happiness, and their freedom to control their own life.

Taking the products of someone’s labor by force is the same as forcing labor from someone. You stole what they created. You failed to gain their consent and thus violated their right to own themselves, to choose where their energy goes, to determine where their energy goes.

These are all different ways of saying the same thing.


If you don’t understand the meaning of a word, the word does not cease to exist. If some people incorrectly use a word, it does not mean belief in language should be abandoned. If people use language as a tool to confuse rather than communicate, it does not change the underlying purpose of language.

In fact, the perversion of language and the desecration of rights have much in common. How can we communicate effectively when the true meaning of words has been so muddled? And how can we interact peacefully when the concept of rights is so misunderstood?

It all starts with life, the most self-evident of rights. Since your life is your own, you are at liberty to do as you choose with it. You are free to use your liberty and do with your life whatever it is you believe will bring you the most happiness and fulfillment in this world. Whatever work you do in those interests, is yours to keep in the form of property.

These concepts are all inextricably linked, and all refer to the same framework which has built civilization.

Individual rights are the foundation of everything we hold dear. They form the bedrock of human interaction, meant to ensure to the best ability of humans, that all men and women are created equal, and have the right to do anything and everything they wish, in the course of determining their own destiny.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

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This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It’s not as hard as you think…

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Memedada secretargentman Mon, 06/18/2018 - 04:52 Permalink

"Boy everyone in this country is running around yammering about their fucking rights. "I have a right, you have no right, we have a right."

Folks I hate to spoil your fun, but... there's no such thing as rights. They're imaginary. We made 'em up. Like the boogie man. Like Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Mother Goose, shit like that. Rights are an idea. They're just imaginary. They're a cute idea. Cute. But that's all. Cute...and fictional. But if you think you do have rights, let me ask you this, "where do they come from?" People say, "They come from God. They're God given rights." Awww fuck, here we go again...here we go again.

The God excuse, the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument, "It came from God." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. Personally folks, I believe that if your rights came from God, he would've given you the right for some food every day, and he would've given you the right to a roof over your head. GOD would've been looking out for ya. You know that.

He wouldn't have been worried making sure you have a gun so you can get drunk on Sunday night and kill your girlfriend's parents.

But let's say it's true. Let's say that God gave us these rights. Why would he give us a certain number of rights?

The Bill of Rights of this country has 10 stipulations. OK...10 rights. And apparently God was doing sloppy work that week, because we've had to amend the bill of rights an additional 17 times. So God forgot a couple of things, like...SLAVERY. Just fuckin' slipped his mind.

But let's say...let's say God gave us the original 10. He gave the British 13. The British Bill of Rights has 13 stipulations. The Germans have 29, the Belgians have 25, the Swedish have only 6, and some people in the world have no rights at all. What kind of a fuckin' god damn god given deal is that!?...NO RIGHTS AT ALL!? Why would God give different people in different countries a different numbers of different rights? Boredom? Amusement? Bad arithmetic? Do we find out at long last after all this time that God is weak in math skills? Doesn't sound like divine planning to me. Sounds more like human planning . Sounds more like one group trying to control another group. In other words...business as usual in America.

Now, if you think you do have rights, I have one last assignment for ya. Next time you're at the computer get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, i want to type in, "Japanese-Americans 1942" and you'll find out all about your precious fucking rights. Alright. You know about it.

In 1942 there were 110,000 Japanese-American citizens, in good standing, law abiding people, who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That's all they did wrong. They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers, no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had was...right this way! Into the internment camps.

Just when these American citizens needed their rights the most...their government took them away. and rights aren't rights if someone can take em away. They're privileges. That's all we've ever had in this country is a bill of TEMPORARY privileges; and if you read the news, even badly, you know the list gets shorter, and shorter, and shorter.

Yup, sooner or later the people in this country are going to realize the government doesn't give a fuck about them. The government doesn't care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. it simply doesn't give a fuck about you. It's interested in its own power. That's the only thing...keeping it, and expanding wherever possible.

Personally when it comes to rights, I think one of two things is true: either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all."

  • George Carlin

In reply to by secretargentman

NidStyles Memedada Mon, 06/18/2018 - 06:30 Permalink

The issue is that Carlin mistakes abuses of rights for revocation of them. 


The rights don’t go away because some asshole wants to try and remove them from you. They were enumerated, as in they are always a right whether the government wants to acknowledge them or not. If the government truly had power, they would be able to say no, you can’t have weed, and then that person would never be able to have or find weed again for the rest of their lives.

I know for a fact, I can walk across the street and buy a joint if I so wanted, and no one would do a damn thing.


Get it straight, Carlin was a clown. You want him to be right, because he made you feel good about yourself when you realized that the government isn’t actually real. It’s the name we give a group of self-aggrandized assholes, that have no real power, because they are nothing more than mostly ugly actors on a stage. They get paid to say certain things, and support specific items, and this has been the status quo for decades now.


Just like Jews use their system of self- hypnosis and hash to convince themselves they are chosen, chosen for, no one knows..

In reply to by Memedada

HillaryOdor Sun, 06/17/2018 - 20:02 Permalink

I don't hear people claiming rights don't exist.  What I hear a lot is people claiming that rights only exist because people let them exist, which is a pretty horrible belief showing that they have no idea what a right actually is.  They think a right is some privilege codified in some statute and enforced by some agent of the state at his own discretion.  Scary stuff.  I guess this is what you get when the state runs education.

King of Ruperts Land HillaryOdor Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:26 Permalink

I am sorry to say, but as a foreigner captured by a tribe of head hunting cannibals, you do not have any right to not become dinner.

In the forest, you don't have any right to not be attacked by a bear. Civilization is civilized because it is dominated by a group with a common view of everyone's rights and customs. If that is messed with and upset and changed so quickly that there is no longer common consensus then it all breaks down.

SJW, progressivism, woman's studies, post modernism, post enlightenment, LGBTQ and other "advancements" are destroying civilization. Soon you may not have a right to not be killed for no good reason. Sorry.

In reply to by HillaryOdor

NidStyles King of Ruperts Land Mon, 06/18/2018 - 05:59 Permalink

Turnabout is fair play, and right now I hold all of the power.

About a year ago, I was told that if I dropped everything I have said and changed my positions to adopt the Agenda 21 nonsense, they would stop the assaults on me. Well, I don’t believe that for a second, and I will never adopt this New World Order garbage, because that’s exactly what it is, garbage. It’s leftist advocacy of genocide.

Here’s the biggest thing, the original reason they came after me is because I won’t lie and say that so many millions of Jews were systematically murdered by my relatives during WWII. They weren’t, this never happened. I have falsified every piece of evidence used against me on more than one occasion. It was proven in court that this is impossible in any way shape and form. It simply could not happen. The laws of physics can not be bent with the powers of your mind, or imagination. 


It’s not bad enough these people steal from me constantly or rape and assault me on a daily basis, and constantly drug my fucking food. It’s that these lying scumbags want everyone to lie for them and forget the past that points out that they are lying scumbags that do not deserve respect.


Yes I did shoot my gun, so fucking what? What are you going to do about it? I went blam blam blam blam all over her face.


Robert, you’re a scumbag.

In reply to by King of Ruperts Land

roddy6667 Sun, 06/17/2018 - 20:21 Permalink

Yes, rights exist. They were invented by men. They exist in the minds of men and are only real as long as people act like they are real. Otherwise they don't exist.


looks so real Sun, 06/17/2018 - 20:31 Permalink

It's just rich people have more rights than everyone else these people will lose their privilege if their attempts to take everyone's rights causes to much pain the population will switch to a different currency then it will be the rich and powerful's turn to suffer.What suffering you may ask well let's take Bernard Madoff he is psychopath so he's crazy but his family the pain embarrassment shame the fall from grace suicide mental break downs all to much to bare.Trying to hold on and control to much risk losing it all.I used Madoff as an example because to me the ones at the top are all schemer's full of scams.

Grandad Grumps Sun, 06/17/2018 - 20:39 Permalink

Everyone has the right to do anything they want ... they just have to deal with the consequences... whether those consequences are fair or legal or unfair and administered by a bunch of criminal goons.

21st.century Sun, 06/17/2018 - 21:43 Permalink

Rights and language ?  If a cynical politician makes a promise-- then repeatedly proclaims to the citizens that a promised benefit will: "...... come to you as a right"

they make this promise as an attempt to build support for a certain action, pass a bill, push a program-- but the laws clearly state just the opposite when passed..

then the language of rights is corrupted.

and the real life example is--- FDR went on the radio when selling the SS Act of 1935 and said:

" you and your employer will contribute to your account (Trust Fund)-- and a check will come to you as a right" 

over and over that language was used-- and it was complete bullshit. your "contributions" were payroll TAXES- bastardized language-- These TAXES were always general revenue to the Treasury-- and NO ONE has any right to a check. But, how many in this century believe otherwise? 

oh, and you have a "right" to a job too-- just ask Bernie .


Boris Gudonov Sun, 06/17/2018 - 21:52 Permalink

Another point is that the rights to life, liberty, and property are NATURAL RIGHTS.  Like natural laws, these rights exist independent of the actions of mankind, i.e., whether a society honors and protects them or not.  Jefferson said that when a society or government begins to fail to protect natural rights, it is the right and duty of the people to overthrow it.  This is because societies that fail to honor and protect natural rights all fail, as in Venezuela, the USSR, etc, eventually though it may take a long time and entail much human misery first.  Socialists, take note.


BarnacleBill Boris Gudonov Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:34 Permalink

Boris is correct. The concept of human rights is that rights exist. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was approved by all the nations of the United Nations General Assembly after the Nuremberg War Trials. It is the prerogative of individuals and governments to refuse to recognise them, and to honour them in their own fashions: but that doesn't mean they don't exist. That all sounds a bit religious, doesn't it? It's what religions say about their respective gods: "Hey, they exist, whether you accept them or not." Well, nevertheless, it's all we've got. Without the concept, we have only the law of the jungle, where might is the only "right". And that's a law that most humans (except for the sociopaths among us) tend to reject.

The basic right is the right to life, without which there can be no other rights. A blog-post of mine from a few years ago puts the case for that "right". It's a two-minute read, and explains the situation as best I can.


In reply to by Boris Gudonov

The Terrible Sweal Sun, 06/17/2018 - 22:39 Permalink

This column is full of sophistry and windy pomposities. 

BTW, calling thing self-evident is the weakest part of the Declaration of Independence, and was not in Jefferson's original draft. 

Alananda Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:02 Permalink

Nice advert.  Long, windy, insubstantial.  Great!  Try substituting "freedom" for "liberty".

Neither usury nor "private" property seem so easy to discuss.  I assert that we can dismiss neither usury nor "private property" as inconsequential "sticking points", debated for centuries and contended with spears, swords, arrow heads, and hollow-head bullets.

We have to come to grips with what we like to call "money" -- which what we "have", cash in hand, is NOT -- and with "ownership" of land, soil, sea, air, and, ultimately, the planet Earth itself!  Perhaps our fearless h_h can consider that a topic for next year's outing in Marfur, TX.  Home of the shrine to lights....

rwe2late Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:46 Permalink

"Property" is a term often used loosely to justify all manner of evils.

There can be a distinction made between "private" property and "public" property.

There can be a distinction between "personal" property and other property.

There can be limitations and conditions as to what can be "owned" as "property".

For example, owning human slaves can be banned.

Not everything should be commodified.

Owning certain wildlife and wildlife products can be banned.

Ownership may have responsibilities and can be limited. Mistreatment of animals prohibited.

What "property" inherently means is a "right" to limit access and use of something.

The notion that a private individual may "own" unlimited natural resources without restriction is a self-contradiction.


"Property rights" beyond  possession for personal use are social privileges.





rwe2late Boris Gudonov Mon, 06/18/2018 - 07:55 Permalink

Lawyers will be able to parse the definition/meaning of just about anything.

But let us say that which one personally uses, like clothing, kitchenware, residence, bicycle, etc. And even then , how one uses what one possesses may be restricted. One may own cigarettes but be prohibited from smoking in a hospital. Or shooting a gun. Or fireworks when there is wildfire danger. etc.



In reply to by Boris Gudonov

44_shooter Mon, 06/18/2018 - 00:39 Permalink

Rights don’t exist.  The PERCEPTION of rights is what exist.

I dare you to try and express your right to self defense by openly carrying a handgun in California.

see- rights don’t exist, just the perception of them.

rwe2late 44_shooter Mon, 06/18/2018 - 08:25 Permalink

You may be right in a sense. Do any of humanity's philosophical/mental constructs exist outside the human mind?

But if we are to discuss within the construct of "rights" existing, then to recognize only "individual human rights" is rather limited (egoistic? hubristic? ). May other life forms have "rights"? May there be social "rights"? When "rights" conflict, "who" adjudicates?

How will "rights" be defined and parsed? The claim of an indisputable  "right" to privately own land, water, air, other life forms, ideas even and deny/limit the use/access by others,

and then to forever pass on that "right" to self-selected kith or kin

is certainly a most, if not the most, questionable oft-asserted "right".



In reply to by 44_shooter

Testosterone C… Mon, 06/18/2018 - 04:40 Permalink

We live in a period of history in which intensifying gender, race and religious wars are leading to political disputes over nationalism versus globalism are threatening Western liberty with a return to primitive tribalism. Each side in the conflict, from conservatives and libertarians on the right, to liberals on the left, has its own high ideals and vision for the “social good” and the appropriate structure for our cultural, social and political institutions, which are deemed morally fit in accordance with each ethical view. Moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt terms this as “morality binds and blinds”, binding us together into social groups and blinding us from appreciating the moral values that guide the opposite side.