Monday, July 16, 2007

Right One and Right Two

There's a disputed passage somewhere where Rand argues something like:

It's right for a man to do X, therefore he has a right to do X.

Where X is some virtuous behavior generally necessary for human survival.

The 2 occurrences of the word "right" are a bit different in meaning, the first being ethical, the second political.

Some have worried that her argument implies that one ONLY has a political right to do ethical things. But this reading of the argument sounds rather unlikely, since she morally condemned all sorts of things, but thought most of them should be perfectly legal.

Her argument still makes sense if she simply thought that virtuous activities should generally be legal, as well as many - but not all - forms of bad behavior.

She thought committing force or fraud
Should be outlawed.

Otherwise, you're free to will
Good or ill.

But when you choose unvirtuous stuff,
Life gets rough.


Timothy said...

i tend to think of it as: if some action is metaphysically necessary, then it must be kept metaphysically possible. Of course, if men have the right to live, it must be as a rational being [as reality demands],but they must also have the right to act irrationally - it is nature that forbids the irrational, not other men. You cannot force a person to be rational, force negates mans mind; the freedom to live rationally is the freedom to exercise your own judgment.

JohnJEnright said...

That makes complete sense. Thank you.