Freedom is handmaiden to the pursuit of happiness. (rm)

There is nothing new under the sun.

Throughout history different cultures have developed different theories about the individual's place in society; Man's place on the planet, in the universe. The basis of almost all of these theories is that Man is subordinate to some higher "good" - the gods, God, the beehive of the Fascist state, the invisible hand of the marketplace, Gaia. Altruism.


The only thing I can be certain of, though, is that I exist, I can choose, and I want to be happy and avoid suffering. The universe, the planet, and society are important to me only insofar as they contribute to my own well-being.

Over the years I have of course incorporated several elements of the (external) universe into my self-ishness. If my family or friends or dog suffers, for example, I cannot be happy.

The Rights of the Individual

Rights are selfish (ie, "individual"). But the wise person does not proclaim his own rights while trampling the rights of others. Rather, he will value the rights of all human beings precisely because respect for their rights is in his own interest. By convincing as many people as possible of the validity of his claim (and so of theirs) he lessens the likelihood of having his rights violated.

Don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you.



It seems to me that the Law of Love ("Love your neighbour as you love yourself") is an efficacious method of dealing with oneself and with those with whom we are in some sort of proximity. ("Love" here means "act for the well-being of.". Emotion has nothing to do with it.)

If the well-being of another is threatened, it is in my best interests to act to end the threat.

So what?

I presume that you exist and can choose and want to be happy and avoid suffering, too. If you do, it is in your best interest (and mine, of course) to protect your rights. And that means denouncing the violation of the rights of others.

La liberté, ce bien qui fait jouir les autres biens... (Montesquieu)


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Amnesty International.