Recently my Glib friends were kind enough to publish an article I had written wherein I laid out a case that there is empirical evidence of the existence of natural rights. I contend that natural laws existing independent of man govern both human society and the natural world. We don’t invent these laws, we discover them. When we attempt to concoct laws to better suit ourselves it has invariably resulted in failure of our attempts to shape the world around us.
Today we can successfully manipulate the natural world beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors. Because we have discovered many of the laws that govern nature people from even one generation past would be in awe or disbelief of the world we live in today. Our understanding of the natural laws governing chemistry and adherence to them has given us ever increasingly sophisticated and useful metals, plastics, medicines, fuels, and building materials. Combining that with our understanding of physics allows us to create ever more useful machinery for manufacture, transportation, communication and tools for discovery or deeper understanding of natural law. They have allowed us to discover whole worlds, both macro and micro that mankind never knew existed. Using that deeper understanding increases our ability to lengthen our own lives and improve the quality of that life. It enables us to vastly improve our ability to produce food and simultaneously improve our environment.
These applied sciences are not a God’s eye view of the universe. They are analogies. Underlying these sciences is mathematics which is also a human invention and an analogy. Underlying the mathematics of applied science are mathematical constants. These constants may be expressed mathematically but they themselves are not analogies. They are descriptions of the behavior of the natural world as it exists independent of man.
If we try to invent our own, such as changing the gravitational constant to G/2 instead of G to save ourselves a great deal of effort and expense in the construction of rocket ships, our rocket ships will fail disastrously. Using any number other than G will result in failure. From this we can infer that a gravitational relationship exists. We simply express it as G. It is not subject to our whims. It existed before humankind, it exists now and it will exist long after we are gone. The universe makes the rules, we do not.
In the same way that discovering and adhering to the laws of physics gives us success in manipulating the natural world, discovering and adhering to the laws of economics and human nature gives us success in social endeavors. Human nature is a product of evolution, not something we concocted. Any system we devise is subject to the body of natural law. Numerous efforts to change human nature have been tried in order to salvage some preferred but failing system and like The Good Ship G/2, all have failed disastrously. Our successes have been the result of observing human nature and creating a system to mesh with it. Our most notable failures have been the result of working the other way about. From this we can infer that human nature exists independent of our desires, it is not ours to invent.
By far the most successful political system in human history is the one currently in effect in the United States, and not just by a little bit. The success has been so spectacular as to almost defy description. It has allowed individuals, both natives and foreign born immigrants, to contribute more to humankind than all of the systems in history combined. It has created more wealth in a mere hundred years than all of humanity throughout history. Nearly everything that makes the modern world what it is was conceived or popularized by people in the United States.
This tells us that the premises that underlie that system are more comport with the natural order of things than any other system. The corner stone of that system is the premise that all people inherently and equally possess inalienable rights. Inalienable in that those rights exist as a product of our humanity. They cannot be granted or taken away. They are an integral part of every person. Building this system from the bottom up resting on that premise is the key to that system’s success. From this we can infer without doubt that inalienable rights are naturally occurring.
The key to other system’s failures is ignoring natural law and attempting to build the system from the top down, something that can no more result in success than attempting to levitate and build a house from the roof down. Starting with a preferred ideal outcome, ignoring simple truths and then inventing a system to achieve that outcome does not work. It does not work in politics or economics any more than it works in science. It is remarkable to me how far afield from natural law some systems go. We only have to miss one or two natural laws for the system to collapse, yet some systems ignore even stark truths, such as that happiness is better than sorrow, that strength is better than weakness, that wealth is better than poverty, that independence is better than dependence, that health is better than sickness, that success is better than failure, that good is better than evil, and of course that natural rights even exist.
Being of the mind that ends justify the means, that a few eggs have to be broken to make an omelet, leads one to commit all sorts of evil. Evil does not result in good. Wishes do not inform reality. That is farcical thinking, pure and simple, akin to magical spells. Recognizing that inalienable rights are naturally existing and respecting them results in success. Violating inalienable rights results in failure. Building up from sound principle gives us a sound house. Attempting to build on air from the roof down gives us a pile of rubble.
*I am not attempting to argue the origin of natural rights. That is an argument that cannot be resolved. My attempt is to give a sound argument that they exist not as an invention of man but are naturally occurring. Those that argue that they are in invention of man are doing so to justify hand waiving them away. As for the arguments over the origin, God or nature, I don’t care. It is good enough for me that both sides agree that they do in fact exist.