Natural Law and Natural Rights in Anarchy

October 9, 2020
To the anarchist, his natural rights are paramount. He does not concern himself with the laws of man, even though many of man’s laws are in accord with natural law, because of just as many conflicts with natural law.

The anarchist obeys natural law and respects the natural rights of his fellow citizen. The anarchist is civilized, regardless of what mental image comes to mind when you think of anarchy. The anarchist respects his fellow citizens’ rights to life, liberty, property, defense, and non-encroachment.  Contrary to popular belief, he does not engage in lawless behavior that violates the natural rights of others. In contrast, he stands ready to defend himself and his community from the lawless behavior of others that intend to violate him and his fellow citizens’ natural rights. When a man’s written law conflicts with natural law, the anarchist obeys natural law and does not compromise his morals to maintain compliance with statutes written by men not concerned with the People’s rights to life, liberty, property, defense, and non-encroachment.

Natural rights and natural law are viewed by philosophers and ethicists as intrinsic. Many other experts also concur that the concepts of natural law and natural rights are hard-wired into humans, from a psychological standpoint. The joyful feeling of a job well done is the consequence of following natural law. The internal feeling of wrongdoing is generally preceded by a violation of natural law. The fact that actions can make the actors feel a certain emotion about the action itself certainly lends to the belief that natural law is intrinsic in people.

The right to life is the most important natural right in that, without it, none of the following rights matter. When the right to life is mentioned in society, many think of the conservative opposition to abortion rights. While that topic certainly deserves attention, abortion will be exclusively covered in another essay. The anarchist generally expects others in society to respect his right to life by not intentionally physically harming him. Not only does every man have a right to continue living their life, but they also have the right to live at whatever quality of life they choose to live. Because a man has a right to life, the anarchist also believes that the man also has the right to elect for self-termination of life. And if he so chooses, he may seek medical assistance to end his life; however, no medical provider is obligated to provide assistance if doing so would violate their personal ethics or morals. The anarchist expects for disputes to be resolved without assault; however, if such offense is generated to cause two men to agree to combat, that combat should be legal and unhindered.  The right to life involves much more than simply living; it involves how you live just as much as that you live.

The anarchist views his liberty as an important right. Without liberty, the anarchist is unable to enjoy a right to property, non-encroachment, and defense. To show that anarchists are a civilized group, it is worth noting that there would be natural laws against kidnapping, rape, unwarranted restraint, slavery, etc because those are all violations of the right to liberty. To expand on liberty, anarchists have no issue with consenting adults introducing any chemical they wish to their body, with or without the assistance of a physician. They believe that consenting adults should be able to agree to any business arrangement, so long as the natural rights of another are not violated. They do not view recreational or medicinal production, distribution, possession, or consumption of substances to be criminal, because no one is directly harmed that was not involved in the decision to consume the substance. The anarchist believes that people have the right to freely move and settle, so long as they do not violate the rights of others in doing so. The anarchist does not worry about the immigrant receiving State benefits; he worries about the State benefits being dispersed. He has no problem with the actions of the immigrant. His concern is an empowered State.

The anarchist is able to secure his property once his rights to life and liberty are secured. The anarchist values his life’s work and is proud of his accomplishments. To further show that anarchists are civilized, it is worth noting that there would be natural laws against actions such as arson, burglary, theft, fraud, and destruction of property because those are all violations of a person’s right to property. The anarchist finds involuntary taxation to be one of the most intrusive policies of government against his right to property. While some may disagree, many anarchists can reconcile with elective taxes like sales taxes, fuel taxes, and highway tolls due to the voluntary nature at which a citizen pays that tax. For example, a citizen voluntarily agrees to pay a sales tax to purchase a non-essential consumer item; however, a citizen does not voluntarily agree to pay taxes on human needs such as food and beverage. One could argue that the State levying taxes on essential goods is also a violation of a citizen’s right to life, as such items are essential to the continuation of life. Another example of a voluntary consumption tax is paying fuel taxes. When you drive a car, you must purchase fuel for it. When you purchase fuel, you pay federal and state fuel taxes; but you do so voluntarily because you personally elected to drive your car out of convenience, as opposed to bicycling or walking. 

The anarchist also believes in the right to non-encroachment. By this, he recognizes that in his rights to life, liberty, and property, that he does not have the right to encroach on the rights of others in pursuit of his rights. In turn, he expects the same consideration from others as they pursue their rights to life, liberty, and property. To remember his responsibility to this right and the consequences of being selfish and violating another’s right to non-encroachment, he remembers The Golden Rule of Liberty: Tread on others as you would have them tread on you.

To defend all of this, this anarchist views the right to defense as a natural right as well; however, the anarchist does not limit himself or those with means from procuring armaments as they so desire, regardless of what anyone considers to be “reasonably” armed. If fact, the anarchist believes that it is no one else’s business what he owns or how he prepares himself for a perceived threat – imminent or not, real or not. He has the right to liberty to choose how, or if, he will arm himself for defense. Generally, the anarchist views the State as the greatest threat to the natural rights of man, therefore he expects the right to be armed equally, within his means, as the State. It is also common for the anarchist to not concern himself with statutes of the State that conflict with his right to defense or any other of his natural rights for that matter.  

To the anarchist, his natural rights are paramount. He does not concern himself with the laws of man, even though many of man’s laws are in accord with natural law, because of just as many conflicts with natural law. The anarchist lives a life that he feels is righteous, devoid of meddling in the personal affairs of his fellow citizen. The anarchist strives to live in peace but is not afraid to retaliate when his rights are encroached upon. The anarchist is the citizen that the world should strive to be.

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