The recent discussion on natural rights has resulted in yet another concept that libertarians and others of their ilk don’t seem to get. See, there was one libertarian who was honest and admitted that “natural rights” was just his opinion. Well no, it’s really not because for every single natural-rights advocate I’ve ever come across, it’s never stated as an opinion, it’s stated as a fact. There is a difference.
An opinion would be “it is my opinion that everyone has these particular rights”. A statement of fact is “everyone has these particular rights”. In close to 100% of cases that I’ve encountered, natural-rights advocates have said the latter and I’m only hedging because I’ve never seen anyone say the first, I’m just giving the benefit of the doubt. Even our libertarian who admits that it’s his opinion, stated it as a fact and when I pointed this out to him, he didn’t correct his error.
What he did do, though, is declare that it was a “core value” and therefore, not open to debate. Wrong. Everything is open to debate. Absolutely everything, without exception. If you cannot provide a compelling case for your arguments, no matter what you want to call your position, you lose. He says, though, that no core values can be defended, that’s the nature of a core value. I call bullshit. All of my “core values” are defensible, I can argue why I think they are important, why they have an important impact on society and why they ought to be in place. I just don’t claim that any of them are necessarily true or that everyone actually respects or recognizes them because clearly, they do not.
The natural-rights crowd doesn’t do that though. They pretend, and most are actually convinced, that these things are actually so and in that, it places them in the same camp as the religious, who are similarly supremely convinced of their own delusions. In fact, I’ve run into plenty of theists who claim that they don’t have to defend their “faith”, just because it’s faith. No, the only way to avoid having the burden of proof for your views is to not talk about your views. The moment you bring them up, you’re automatically on the hook for defending them. That’s the way rational debate works, you don’t get to just opt out.
Maybe if both the libertarians, at least those who are natural rights advocates, and the religious figured that out, we might have more productive debates. Instead, we’re just left with the religiously and politically faithful demanding things they cannot show to be true and the rest of us are left shaking our heads.