Colin's Cornucopia

Welcome to my world of discovery


Human Rights

Return to Philosophy

The Rights of Man

Human rights are constructs of the human mind. They are those rules which we consider necessary for the maintenance of a valid civilisation.  Man can live and survive under a range of conditions from kingship to slavery but there is only one system of morals that is true for all men at all times. That is what we call freedom. There are plenty of definitions of freedom – most of them spurious. The only one that can stand the test of logical consistency is freedom based on universal suffrage. That is that all men are equal.  Every man must be treated equally in all matters.

It is certain that the best expression of freedom came with the Declaration of Independence of the United States in 1776. 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.

The word ‘happiness’ can have many meanings and it has been interpreted as a license for a huge range of bad behaviour but its original meaning is almost certainly contentment. 

We do not need to invoke a creator to hold these things vital. The source of freedom is existence. The very fact that you exist – and can construct an argument – means that freedom is vital to your life. Any other form of constitution is slavery. If freedom is vital to your life then it must be vital to the life of every other human. Only a system that recognises and upholds the equal rights of all men is valid.

For convenience I shall use the term Man to describe a Human Being. This includes women. It includes all humans. I shall not apologise for this usage again. This also means that only humans can have rights as it is impossible for any other known life form to understand the concept. Animals do not have rights. It ill behooves us, as a dominant species, to deliberately harm any animal but they are under our protection and do not have rights.

No group can hold a right. Rights are those things necessary for the life and liberty of each individual man and they cannot belong to a group of any kind. Nor can rights be given to you. They belong to you by Right. They can be denied by a huge range of immoral behaviour but no-one can give you your rights. They are not theirs to give. They belong to you.

Man's means of survival is his brain. He does not have massive claws or beak and cannot run faster than any other animal nor is he so huge that nothing can attack him. He must use his wits to survive – that is - his brain. To do this he is best advised to co-operate with other men. The grouping together of men is called community. The purpose of the grouping is firstly to increase security and then to co-operate in obtaining food and then the artifacts that make civilisation possible. In order to secure rights it is necessary to have a constitution in which the moral basis of freedom and the practical means of delivering it are clearly stated.

To control this community you need government and law. The laws made by government must protect each man from each other equally and the constitution protects men from the government. The essence of government is to control the use of force. Force used against a man separates his mind from his body and renders him unable to sustain his life properly. This is the ultimate evil.

To sustain his life a civilised man must earn his living in whatever honest way he can learn. This we call work and is a fundamental consequence of the right to be.


The basis of rights is existence.
Rights belong equally to everybody.
The fundamental right is to be free from force.
This is secured my means of a logically honest law administered by a constitutionally restricted government.
A man earns his living by work.

Colin Walker

Return to Philosophy