Saturday, April 9, 2011

How Self-Ownership Arises Through Egoism and Rights

Rights are not necessarily inalienable. They arise as concepts through social interactions when individuals make claims to things. It can be said that claims, rights and interests are synonymous, and to say that we are self-interested beings is the same as saying that we are rights claiming individuals. To claim a right is to establish interest for one's self.

It is human nature to claim all one encounters as his own, but it is his self-interest that makes him look to others to recognize his rights, or better said, it is in his own self-interest to mutually accept the rights of the others so that they accept his. Nevertheless, the tests of time have prove that mutual acceptance of rights is the best way to live, since there would be little life to live if one had to protect his claims against a perpetually unlimited number of intruders. Mutual acceptance of rights also allows for exchange of the things we have rights to – property (and their marks).

To have ownership of something is to say that you have a right to something. That is, the owner has the right to do whatever he wants with something. I claim a right to a book. It's my book. I own it. Therefore, I can take it and throw it across the room. Surely you can take it and throw it across the room, but you cannot claim the right to throw it across the room, (just as I cannot claim the right to throw it because you own it.). That is, it's because it is my right, not yours!

Assuming that I'm not walking on your property, you cannot stop me from walking. This is because you do not have the right to stop me from walking, as I don't have the right to stop you from walking (when you are not on my property). What makes this so is that I claim the right to my own body. That is, I claim self-ownership; I own myself. Just as I cannot own you, because you own yourself. As a rights claiming being I deny you the right to control my body - myself. It is in this way that I claim self-ownership.

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