Tag: natural rights

Man and the Right to Govern Himself

By Benjamin Olsen | United States

Can individuals govern themselves? In a recent conversation I had, the claim was made that without laws, people simply could not govern themselves. This was during a conversation where the example was brought forward that if we ceased to have laws preventing murder, then everyone would take to the streets and murder each other in a matter very similar to the Purge series of movies.

When John Locke argues for a liberal democracy, he argues against Thomas Hobbes’ theory of an absolutist government designed to keep people from the state of nature. Locke, however, argues for that state of nature and it being necessary as a transitionary period between government types. As libertarians, we are not arguing for the absence of government, but rather the reform of government. This is not to say that all libertarians agree on the form that government should take, but rather that some government is established that protects our natural rights. The governments that are in place today do not think about our natural rights. They have gone beyond their duties and now seek to curb our liberties in the name of security. Human beings inherently value security, but we have given up all our liberties for just a little bit more. Human beings fear violent death, so doesn’t it stand to reason that humans, without laws, would restrain themselves to avoid a violent death?

We must establish a government that gets back to the roots of its mission. In order to establish this government, or even have a discussion about what this government should look like, we must do what Locke directs, we must rebel. When discussing the French revolution, we focus on the reign of terror and lawlessness. But we fail to mention that even while the reign of terror was going on, people were living out their daily lives. There was not mass murder committed by the average citizen in the rural areas of France. The reign of terror only applies to a few select cities, if not just Paris. If a country has only one city in a state of revolt, but the rest are living peacefully on their own, doesn’t this suggest that we are indeed capable of self-government?

The interim period is the scariest, it means that men will be in charge of their own destinies for years. It will, in essence, be lawless, but man is able to govern himself. Locke argues that even when we live in a lawless society, we will still be civil to one another due to man’s fear of violent death. We have a conscience. we have morals. We are not the beasts of the earth. We are humans with rational thoughts. Will there be those who abuse freedom? Yes, there will. However, when the smoke settles and liberal democracy rises from the dust, we must not let the monsters influence the proper way to govern. We have a right to govern ourselves. We have a right to revolt if our rights are not protected by the current form of government. We have the right to exercise our rights. It is time to stop watching from the sidelines and to take action. I am not calling for armed rebellion but we must not shy away from protests. If we want change we must protest. We must revolt. We must govern ourselves.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

Advertisements

Freedom of Speech Upheld in Face of ‘Nazi Salute’ Backlash

Nickolas Roberson | United States

School officials at Baraboo High School of Baraboo, Wisconsin, have decided that the students who were involved in a now-viral immage of them performing a Nazi, “sieg heil,” salute will not be punished. The picture was taken prior to Baraboo High School’s 2018 spring prom, and posted to the High School’s twitter account.

The school has faced significant backlash, with many claiming that the students are white supremacists and Nazis. In the face of the backlash, Lori Mueller, the superintendent of the school district stated in a letter sent to parents of the school district, “…we cannot know the intentions in the hearts of those who were involved. Moreover, because of the students’ First Amendment rights, the district is not in a position to punish the students for their actions.”

This is a tremendous improvement in the recognition of our natural and Constitutional rights in our modern-day school systems, as many high schools and universities crack down on almost any student or faculty member who dares speak out against the leftist collective opinions that run rampant in educational institutions. A prime example of this violation of our First Amendment right can be found at Shawnee State University, where a philosophy professor was forced to use a transgender student’s preferred gender pronoun rather than their name. The teacher, Nicholas Meriwether, referred to one of his students by their preferred name, as their proposed gender identity went against their biological gender of being a male, thus going against Meriwether’s evangelical Christian beliefs. Rather than respecting the professor’s freedom of speech and preference of using the student’s name, the university, donning their totalitarian jackboots, clamped down on his right to free speech, and forced the teacher to utilize the student’s gender pronouns of “she” and “Miss”.

It is a dreadful shame that public schools and universities, the proposed and advertised catalysts of innovation, expansion in logic and reason, and scientific progress and expansion, are strangling themselves of the freedoms of thought, expression, and speech. Nowadays, they choose to adopt the tantalizing, yet dreadful, ideologies of thought control and suppression, attempting to please the wicked idealogues of cultural Marxism.

Hopefully, with the recognition and respect of the First Amendment right of the students at Baraboo High School who participated in the Nazi salute photograph and Twitter posting, other public schools and institutions will follow this same path of respecting our natural and constitutional freedoms and liberties. Now, this absolutely does not mean we should accept the terrible, malevolent, and oppressive ideas of Nazism; on the contrary, one should always speak out against any and all totalitarian idea groups and theories. However, even though these students are most likely not Nazis and the photograph was a joke, we must respect the opinions of our fellow countrymen. To quote the author Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

There Is No Moral Reason to Prohibit Hate Speech

By Teagan Fair | United States

The First Amendment, naturally, comes first in the Bill of Rights. As such, it is the most important right. It has become an emblem of American society since our founders wrote it into law. Founder and hero George Washington once said the following on free speech:

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

He was absolutely right. He, along with the other founders of this country, and any man or woman that values liberty, knew that there is simply no moral reason to prohibit free speech, even hate speech.

Allow me to ask an interesting hypothetical: If we can limit speech, then where exactly does one draw the line? The Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment does not safeguard “advocacy of the use of force” if it is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action,” and is “likely to incite or produce such action”. So, if you wish to draw the line there, it already exists. This makes sense and is just, as we must take action against serious threats. However, there should be no more limitations on free speech.

Hate Speech is Free Speech

Anything else, including hate speech, is simply one group of people enforcing values onto others. Ultimately, there is nothing that makes one set of values more or less important than others. This strikes a second question: whose values become proper, and whose become hate speech?

Let’s take a blatantly brazen and noxious group as an example: the Nazis. Many people may support a prohibition on the hate speech of Nazis. This is not morally correct. Sure, I hate Nazis as much as the next guy. Almost all can agree that Nazism is an ideology of hatred. However, provided that they are not advocating for direct and violent action, the Consitution still guards their rights.

Though they are morally wrong in intent, it is just as wrong to prohibit them from speaking. This goes for any ideology, on any side of the political spectrum. No matter how politically radical you may be, you have the same rights to free speech as anyone else. As said by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Hate speech, without a doubt, is free speech.

Violence and Hate Speech

Many people claim that hate speech is either violent itself or can provoke violence. Yet, hurt feelings do not mean that something is violent. On a moral level, it may be practical and/or moral to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. However, it is truly horrendous to ask the government to steal someone’s money or lock them away for espousing an opinion you do not like. This is no different than the government arresting an innocent man. Using violence itself, the state is enforcing the values of one person onto another. There is no other way to put it: this is a form of oppression, by the government and by fellow citizens. If the speech incites violence, it is another story. But there is a clear difference between a brash insult and a call to violence.

Moreover, it is worth noting that these rights apply universally. Age, gender, race, and creed, among other things, cannot take away free speech. The phrase, “You don’t get free speech until you’re an adult” is fairly common. Surprisingly, many children actually repeat it. This is completely untrue. As I noted previously, in 1969, the Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines that the First Amendment does apply to public school students, in a 7-2 majority. This applies to charter schools as well, as they act as public organizations.

The right to free speech is arguably one of the most important ones. Speaking is something that we do every day. To narrow it down, speaking about controversial topics is also quite regular. The government already influences or controls your business, your car, your money, your devices, your weaponry, and countless other rights. If the State controls our right to something as basic as free speech, what kind of society do we live in? Certainly, that would not be one that is civil or desirable.


Get awesome merch. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

Groupthink Is a Threat to Justice and Reason

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

In the world today, it seems as though there are more people who identify with one group or another. All the while, they attempt to dispel any criticisms of that particular group. We see groups with extra protections under various laws such as “hate crimes,” for example. Also, the State often grants special rights to various groups, such as “gay rights” and “women’s rights.” These protections and positive claims rights came about as a consequence of groupthink, collectivism, and variants of so-called “social justice.”

Of course, this is not to say that these groups, or others, do not deserve rights. Rather, the point of Justice is that all are equal under the law and have the same negative claims rights as others. When everyone is equal, there is no need to specify additional rights for any specific group. Thus, adding classifying terms to “rights” and “Justice” negates the purpose of both. Without any modifiers, equality under the law guarantees Justice.

Throughout history and today, there have been many situations where groups, majorities, or the judicial system itself have hurt individuals. Even when the innocent face negative impacts, there is no need to provide extra rights for them or their groups. There should, instead, be a movement to correct the imbalance and enforce equal rights. Providing extra weight for the side of the proverbial scales that someone is robbing is a dangerous idea. When you add to one, you must either take away from another or grant extra rights. Regardless, equality fades, and with it, so does Justice. When an unjust act occurs, it is brought before the law to help determine retribution for the losses or grievances as a cost to the offending party. This, of course, brings the scales of Justice back to an even keel.

What is Groupthink?

As people continue to scramble for their identity found within a group rather than by themselves, they neglect their very own person and trade it for a herd mentality. This, in turn, leads people to form collective beliefs and partake in groupthink.

‘Groupthink’ is a word that social psychologist Irving Janis coined in 1972. Dr. Janis provided eight symptoms of what he determined to be ‘groupthink’ that are as follows:

  1. Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
  2. Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
  3. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
  4. Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
  5. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
  6. Self-censorship – Members do not express doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus.
  7. Illusion of unanimity – Members assume the majority view and judgments to be unanimous.
  8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

A Destroyer of Justice

Much like Orwell’s 1984, the concept of ‘groupthink’ arouses the mind to do one of two things. First of all, it can dismiss correct claims when one already has a particular groupthink and blind faith. This idea, called Identity-Protective Cognition, is often observable across the spectrum of ideas.

Alternatively, ‘groupthink’ can spark the awareness of the reader to be self-critical and skeptical of our own place in the world as an individual, while pushing to rid him or herself of the mob mentality. As social creatures, we often rely on groupthink, as it is a lazy way of finding knowledge and belonging. However, it is a philosophical sloth, detrimental to logic, rational thinking, and Justice itself.

Groupthink robs the individual of their Reason, as it relies on subjective beliefs of elites and majorities. Groupthink also robs the individual of exploring and growing, as it limits the interactions and thought processes of what one can and cannot explore. A species of collectivism, groupthink breeds the “us versus them” mentality over truth and Justice. In turn, this acts as a conduit of human and social regression, rather than flourishing and progress.

How to Avoid Groupthink

In order to best combat ‘groupthink,’ the individual must self-assess and question him or herself. This is especially true when red flags of collectivism and groupthink arise. As the study of methodological individualism demonstrates, through and through, only the individual acts and only the individual thinks. To rob yourself of your own individualism and capacity to Reason by granting it to the sporadic oscillations of groupthink is the antithesis of what it means to be a person. Simultaneously, it obliterates the very Justice that the groupthink mob falsely claims it fights for.


Get awesome merch. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

Featured Image Source

The Fallacy of Limited Government and Classical Liberalism

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

Since the founding of America, countless individuals have used the doctrine of classical liberalism to define the American way. More often than not, this leans towards ideas such as limited government and a protection of natural rights. After all, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most well-known phrases in the Declaration of Independence.

Since 1776, politicians have uttered the words as a call to action for the people. After all, the protection of these three critical rights is what sets the United States apart from the rest of the world, right? In the modern day, the usage has shifted slightly: more advocates of limited government use the phrase as a rallying cry, hoping to return to an age of freer markets and freer people. However, everything about the expression is simply a lie. The very idea of a government that naturally limits itself to these basic functions is simply impossible.

Negative Rights vs Positive Rights

First and foremost, what sets limited government and classical liberalism apart from other modes of government is a belief in negative rights. Basically, this means that the people only have protection against other people harming them. The right to life does not mean that a sick person can demand free medicine. Instead, it merely means that someone else cannot kill him against his will.

The same idea follows for liberty and property. An individual may act freely, as long as his actions do not prevent another person from also acting freely. Driving over the speed limit, for example, is an act of liberty. But, as soon as that driver hits another car, he has damaged the other person’s property. If he inflicts injury or death, he also has, of course, taken away that person’s negative right to life and liberty. To summarize, the idea of negative rights suggests that individuals have rights to their lives, liberties, and property, but only insofar as that right does not prevent another from also owning their own lives, liberties, and property. To each his own.

Positive rights, on the other hand, require the use of force against another person to bring about. So, a positive right to life would create an obligation for others to defend the life of an individual. If someone was sick, for example, he would, under a positive protection of life, be entitled to any medicine that may aid or cure him. In terms of property, a person may be entitled to a house, even if it means someone else must buy and build it.

The Classical Liberal Viewpoint

Of course, the classical liberal viewpoint is one that rejects positive rights. A number of practical reasons exist for such a dismissal. In the event of life, for example, let us imagine that same sick patient. A doctor may be able to find a cure if he labors for a thousand hours and abandons all other work. However, this doctor is also a mother. By fulfilling the positive right to her patient’s life, she may not be able to fulfill her duties as a mother. Moreover, she may have multiple patients with different needs, each requiring full attention. She cannot feasibly fulfill her obligation to every person involved, but cannot realistically be at fault. So, the classical liberal argues, there is an obligation to protect rights negatively, but not positively, as such creates unjust duress on the individuals doing the protecting.

The Fallacy of Negative Rights

Clearly, a government cannot adequately or justifiably protect positive rights. In reality, though, the same is true about negative rights, too, especially in a democracy. What breaks the soundness of the argument? Two things: taxation and voting.

On a surface level, a government can claim to only protect negative rights. Specifically, what comes to mind is the minimalist state. As many limited government advocates have outlined, such a government would only control the police, military, and courts. Yet, it appears that this notion cannot come true without taking from others. All of these organizations require the tax dollar, and this, of course, comes from the people, who may or may not have consented to give up a portion of their income. Regardless, the second that the government forces the money from the people, it becomes a positive right. Thus, a limited government cannot truly protect only negative rights: taxation turns this on its head.

A Vote for Change?

In a functioning democracy or republic, many citizens vote, either for laws or representatives. Yet, it is clear that the vote itself is also an example of a positive right. When a citizen votes in an election, he or she is exercising power, albeit small, over the electorate in order to influence political affairs. In other words, they are telling the government to use its force over other people.

Negative rights do not change. They always include, exclusively, the right to life, liberty, and property. So, if a society was to truly protect only these rights, there would be no need for a figurehead. After all, if nothing is to change, why should someone have the power to make changes? If a society ever was to only guard negative rights, any change in policy or executive order must necessarily be a violation of these rights. The only things a government could justifiably do is determine the salaries of its troops and judges, and carry out other business matters.

Theoretically, we could vote on these matters. But, as long as taxation was the end result to obtain them, the majority is still inflicting its will on the minority. If one person does not consent to the collection, then it becomes unjust. Alternatively, the collection of funds could be entirely voluntary, through donations. But, at this point, it is no longer a state, as it is neither coercive nor compulsory.

A Logical Impossibility

Thus, the notions of classical liberalism and limited government appear to be at odds with the principles they claim to safeguard. The logic works in a bit of a circle. In order to protect these rights, the limited government must become no government at all. But, by becoming no government at all, it no longer has the power to safeguard these negative rights.

Therefore, a government cannot both exist and solely protect negative rights. Every action is ultimately some form of force, whether it comes from voting or taxation. Even in the early days of the United States, citizens voted on which figures could use power over others. Eventually, these figures levied higher and higher taxes, increasing the coercion. The world’s great thought experiment has failed, and it is clear that a government cannot exist to guard negative rights. Only through the absence of government can a society exist without widespread force.


Get awesome merchandise. Help 71 Republic end the media oligarchy. Donate today to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!