Note #1: There will be no more Taki posts. I decided to bring that to a close in order to focus on other things. There is only so much time and I was stretched too thin so something had to go. I want to focus more on the pay-per-view content which has a steadily growing audience. You can sign up at SubscribeStar or Substack.
Note #2: I have received a few suggestions about other platforms like Gum Road and Locals, which is a Rumble creation. I am interested in any feedback from people familiar with these sites. RamZPaul is on Gum Road and the Duran guys are on Locals, but I know nothing about these platforms.
Given the current trajectory, it is reasonable to think that in the not too distant future some alien race will be digging through the rubble of humanity trying to figure out what happened to this strange species. Just as modern archeologists dig through ruins of ancient societies, trying to figure out what happened, those aliens will be doing the same with earth. They will dig through whatever is left, things like buildings, tools and cemeteries, piecing together the story of man.
The thing they will not find among the decaying buildings, rusting vehicles and collapsed bridges will be piles of human rights. They will not open a door of some oddly preserved building and find a bunch of skeletons who had found shelter along with their sacred human rights. In fact, they will probably find no trace of human rights or any discussion of the concept. Given that most of our knowledge is now digital, these sorts of things will be impossible to detect.
The main reason for this is human rights do not exist. They are a thing that humans invented late in the history of mankind. People say that human rights are real and point to various authorities to support the claim, but rights are not real things. They exist only as a figment of our imagination, like the concept of lust. No other species has this concept so it is possible the aliens will not understand it either. It will be as alien to them as our entirely made up concept of human rights.
That is something to keep in mind when people of the so-called “new right” go on about the importance of natural rights. Here is an example from Michael Anton where he addresses the idea of historicism. This is the argument that all human thought is the product of its historical moment. Men in one period accept certain things to be true that men in a different period would not accept as true. Loosely put, mankind and its mental constructs are a product of time and place.
What we think of as conservative in North America rejects this claim. It starts from the assertion that all men come into this world with natural rights. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the pithy expression of this. The very loose argument here is that the natural world, including the human place in it, operates from fixed and observable rules. The laws of nature and nature’s god. From these rules we can tease out things like the rights of man.
A quite simple example is ownership. You are born into this world as the property of your parents who created you and raised you. At some point, you leave the ownership of your parents and become a free man. You own you. Because you own you, you must own your activity, your labor. If you own your labor, it stands to reason that you must own the fruits of your labor. Hence the concept of private property. Ownership traces to the laws of the universe, which is its authority.
There are similar arguments for all sorts of things we consider to be natural rights, like equality before the law and self-defense. Some of these rights have a strong connection to observation of nature. The right of self-defense is something we can see in all of nature, not just mankind. The right to a speedy trial and a jury of our peers takes a few leaps to find some root in the laws of nature. Regardless, the claim is natural rights are rooted in the authority of nature.
Michael Anton makes two important claims in his response to Paul Gottfried that are critical to the current crisis. One is that this idea of natural rights is not time bound as Gottfried claims, but universal and timeless. Even when we were not aware of them, we had these natural rights. The other claim is that America, as currently constructed, can only exist if it is structured around the concept of natural rights. It is the only way a disparate people can coexist in a single society.
The first argument is what is called a gratuitous assertion. The logic of natural rights may be timeless, but it has always rested on something that is not timeless and that is a Christian concept of God and man’s relationship to God. In fact, it depends on a specific version of Christian belief. Many Christians reject the idea of a universe defined by fixed and unchanging rules. Other types of Christian reject that we can understand these rules, even if such a thing even exists.
The very loose foundation of the natural rights argument is that God is perfection and therefore he created the world without making mistakes. This means he has no reason to tinker with the rules. They never change. Further, when he created the world he had a purpose, just as a carpenter has a reason to make a cabinet. The world as we see it is not just random pointlessness. It is a world created with a purpose by God and it operates by a fixed set of rules.
If you reject this concept of God, then you reject what naturally flows from it, which is why the concept of natural rights is a cultural artifact. It is peculiar to European people, especially those west of the Hajnal line. Eastern Europe does not have a strong natural rights tradition, because they have a different conception of God. Muslims have no concept of rights because Allah is unknowable. Islam accepts that the rules of the universe are unknowable and therefore unpredictable.
In other words, we have no evidence that natural rights are universal and timeless, because the foundation lies outside of the realm of proof. If you accept the narrow idea of God and the universe he created, the natural rights arguments make sense, but if not then these arguments are nothing more than convenient inventions. The reason the phrase “I know my rights” means nothing in China is the Chinese lie outside the timeline of the people who invented the concept.
This brings us to the second point, which is that the only way America can function is if we all agree on this mental framework. This is the social contract argument updated for a modern audience, the people who now live as strangers in their own lands. Instead of the claim that we voluntarily came together and agreed to live by a set of cultural and political rules in the same society, the argument now is we better convince the new majority that we have to live by these rules or else.
In this regard, Anton is correct. The demographic revolution is already leading to a cultural and political revolution. The only way America returns to something like its former self is if the new people embrace the old rules. If Nikki Haley, Hakeem Jeffries, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib embrace the logic of Thomas Jefferson, then maybe we can continue to function by the old rules. If they reject natural rights theory, then we will need new rules to accommodate the new people.
The fact that we have to have this discussion is bad news for the natural rights crowd as it assumes the new majority is not embracing Thomas Jefferson. In fact, they have been busy toppling his statues and erasing his name from the history books, along with all the other people responsible for the natural right tradition. Whatever claims one wants to make about the universality of natural rights, it is clear that the new people and their enablers are not embracing the concept.
Inadvertently, Anton is confirming Gottfried’s central claim. What we think of as our natural rights are a product of a specific people living in a specific time. They are no more universal than conception of God. Natural rights may be more than just a fad, like powdered wigs or waistcoats, but they are tied to a people. Like all traditions, they live on in the memories of the descendents of the people who invented them and once there are no more descendents to carry on the traditions, they are gone.
The fact is, natural rights are a thing that come naturally only to Western people, so they are no more universal than blue eyes. Sure, some people outside of Europe will have blue eyes or green eyes, but most will not because the genes for these things dominate only among Europeans. The same is true for the European understanding of the universe and man’s natural place in it. Natural rights are the product of traditions peculiar to European people.
The unanswered question in Anton’s piece and the entirety of the movement calling itself the “new right” is this. What happens when the new people reject the Western tradition of natural rights? Should they be forcibly removed? Should they be compelled to change their ways? Maybe give up their old gods and go through a rigorous training in Calvinist religious doctrine? After all, the concept of free choice is part of the natural rights tradition. What if they choose to reject this concept?
That brings us back to where we started. If those visiting space aliens arrive and find natural rights, it will be because they find societies based on them. Those societies will necessarily be controlled and dominated by people who invented the concept and make it their purpose to maintain them, no matter what. Survival of the fittest is just as much a part of natural law as free speech. More so, in fact. In order for rights to survive, the people who created them must survive.
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