The Myth of Natural Rights
by L. A. Rollins

A defense of amorality (the most logical alternative to natural rights philosophy).

L. A. Rollins is a legal positivist (a sociopath). He thinks natural rights are mythical, fake or metaphorical rights. They are invisible. "But of what use is an invisible 'no trespassing' sign?"

"A moral philosophical barrier" is a metaphorical barrier that will not prevent encroachment. Real rights are those actually enforced by the state or the customs of a social group: positive rights. Real rights come from real laws. Imaginary rights come from imaginary laws. Natural rights are imaginary rights. They are human inventions not discoveries.

Natural law is man-made law as much so as positive law. But positive law is enforced by the state and natural law is not enforced by nature or the state.
Implication: A law is not real unless it is enforced.
Translation: What ought to be is not real if it is not enforced. (Natural law is what ought to be enforced.)

"Natural law" has been used to justify a variety of incompatible political systems.

"Natural legislators" try to manipulate people (dupe them) into accepting the values of the natural legislators as the values of nature. (page 6)
They try to pass off their subjective preferences as objective values or requirements of nature.
Morality is a myth invented to promote the agenda of its inventors. (page 8)

A duty is a fake coercion. (page 8)
When you can give no good reason why someone should act in a certain way that you want, tell them it is their duty. Why should someone do his duty? Simply because it is his duty? A person who falls for this is gullible.

Murder is not wrong or immoral. (page 9)
Same for rape, robbery, etc. To be safe from us amoralists, you better build real walls.

"Why is it only the pursuit of happiness as an ultimate value that provides a basis for 'rational morality'? Is it, for example, irrational to pursue personal autonomy as one's highest value?' (page 10)

He makes a good point about George Smith's morality not being morality in the sense in which most people use the term, because it does not involve any element of duty or unconditional obligation.

It contains good arguments against Ayn Rand's contention that: since man cannot function successfully under coercion he has a right to freedom. If so, the same would be true for animals. Need does not make a claim valid. Good attack on Ayn Rand's argument for rights (pages 13-20)

Tibor Machan has not proved the necessity for all people to make moral judgments. (page 10)
Good attack on Tibor Machan's argument for rights (pages 20-25) He attacks Tibor Machan's theory that we have a right to liberty, because the morally good consists of being as fully aware as possible. As long as a person is not totally deprived of freedom of action, he can think and judge and act on his judgments.

He also attacks Rothbard's argument for natural rights with some success. Good attack on Murray Rothbard's argument for rights (pages 125-32)

Good attack on Paul Lepanto's argument for rights (pages 32-36)

Good attack on Ronald Cooney's argument for rights (pages 37)

Natural rights did nothing to stop the Nazis. The only thing that stopped them was power. Moral criticism will not change the course of action of a state. How many Jews were saved by their natural right to life? None.

To deny that there are ethical differences between governments is not to deny there are other differences between governments. (page 41)

Year Read: 1986, 1997


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This page was last updated on October 1, 2011.
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