Book Reco: Individual Rights and Government Wrongs by Brian Phillips

Individual Rights and Government Wrongs

An excerpt from the Introduction to Individual Rights and Government Wrongs.

This book was written for those who love the United States of America and the principles upon which it was founded.

America was founded on an ideology—the right of each individual to his own life, his own liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness. As philosopher Leonard Peikoff writes: “America is the only country in history created not by meaningless warfare or geographic accident, but deliberately, on the basis of certain fundamental ideas.”[1] The Founding Fathers sought to establish a form of government that, unlike monarchy, theocracy, and the mob rule of democracy, recognizes and protects individual rights.

The Founders were intellectual men, widely read in the ideas of the Enlightenment. They were also practical men, concerned with the problems of life on earth. Their great achievement was transforming the ideas of the Enlightenment into a practical socio-economic system—capitalism.  Read more…

[1] Leonard Peikoff, “Assault from the Ivory Tower: The Professors’ War Against America,” in The Voice of Reason (New York: Meridian, 1989), p. 187.

On how Islam violates individual rights

Wealth is produced for the purpose of creating a monetary profit (a moral value) that will enable a man to pursue other values.  The process of creating wealth is the result of a man’s reason put in practice.  This process of acting requires that man be free in order to pursue his rational and objective values and to make use of them as he pleases.  The previous process I have mentioned is much more complex to understand and requires pages of explanation. For anyone interested in learning how man’s mind works I recommend you to check the writings of Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand as a starting point.

There are many philosophies of life and religions that are in opposition to individual freedom because of the religious dogma from which they are rooted.  These people’s philosophies and religions have codes of values that deny an individual’s right to their life and the pursue of their happiness.  Religions are anti-life since they proclaim rules believed by faith that require man to suffer, sacrifice and do irrational actions in the aim of fulfilling their dogma. The religion that strikes me the most is Islam because it is not only a religious creed but also a political mean of organizing human life through the Sharia and Fiqh.

Ellaborating on how Islam is anti-life would take also dozens of pages with explanations and examples of how it does so.  A great reference to start learning is the book “Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism” which clear examples on how Islam and the practice of Sharia and the Fiqh violate individual rights, disincentive man’s creativity to pursue happiness and create wealth. Also, I recommend you to check the following blog post “Islam Violates our human rights” which enumerates very shortly and clearly good examples of violations done by Islamics,

  • Violation of Article 23 (1) and 26 (1) of the UDHR Article 23 (1) of theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights states: Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Article 26 (1) states: Everyone has the right to education.

But in Afghanistan, a muslim country, girls are not allowed education. Girls schools are banned and those caught running these schools, can be punished by law.

This continued for about 5 years, during the reign of the Taliban, the oppressive Islamic extremists, who were finally eliminated by theAmericans. (Thank you, America)

  • Violation of Article 19 of the UDHR Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other muslim countries do not allow freedom of speech, regarding criticism on Mohammed, the prophet of Islam. This has taken the shape of a Blasphemy Law, where any person who speaks negatively about Mohammed, can be given death sentence or life imprisonment and/or fine.

An example of this is the recent death sentence given to Dr. Younus Shiekh for correctly pointing out that the Prophet Mohammed did not become Muslim until the age of 40 (which was when he received his first revelation) and that his parents were non-Muslims (as they died before Islam was proposed by the Prophet).

  • Violation of Article 18 of the UDHR Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

But the Quran says that:

Any religion except Islam will not be accepted

Quran 3.85 : If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost.

This is also mentioned in Violation 5, where those who dont believe in Allah, will be tortured severely.

  • In Iran, and Afghanistan, brutal punishments are give for extra-marital sex. Stoning to death was ordered by Mohammed, and is still used in Iran. This is a very cruel brutal punishment and its only aim is to inflict maximum pain on the individual. Muslims in Afghanistan and Iran can be flogged for consuming alcohol, slandering or for adultery while they are not married.

Flogging is ordered by the Quran:

And those who accuse free women and bring not for witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes.”59 For the adulterer, God says :”The adulteress and the adulterer, flog each of them with a hundred stripes.” 60 s

These punishments are condemned by the International Community

Islam also orders cutting of hands and feet :

Quran 5.38 As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power.

Read here the complete post on how Islam violates rights…

Protect IP Act and Internet

A copyright protects a men’s mind contribution in The purest form: ie. in the the origination of ideas. This protection allows for men to freely decide what to do with his creation: give it for free, authorize some uses of it (Creative Commons), prohibit any use of it, sell the rights to the use of the idea.

Now, this recognition of Intellectual Property automatically gives to the owner a value that he can exchange for a specific amount of money and/or recognition. To the owner, this may be the stimulus for which he made the effort of creating and innovating. Also, there are many other retributions and stimulus for men to create. F.A. Hayek mentions that it is for the sake of creation that some intellectuals work and not only for the $. He made a valid point and usually this creator give for free or with some free of charge rights the use of their ideas (via CC like in this blog).

I was shared a video that claims that,

“PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting “creativity”. The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites– they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.”

The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.”

Now, censorship is “the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.” You could argue that it is censorship what government officials do when they put fines or take to jail those who are violating copyright rights. But also, you can argue in a higher hierarchy that yes, the officials are taking your right to “disseminate” speech and knowledge because you are violating the rights to property of other members of society. (Remember that private property is stil one of the rights that Americans haven’t managed to completely destroy… but after Patriot Act passed, anything is now possible and the socialization of Property is soon to happen there if nothing changes.)

Now the fallacious error of this video and of the claim of those who consider that Acts like this are violating men’s right to Speech can be found in the initial argument: “PROTECT IP Act is breaking internet”

Why is this fallacious?

It is a false argument because it starts by considering “Property as a non essential characteristic of the entity “Internet“. ie. They start by giving for granted that Internet lacks property rights and that it is only “Internet” when access is collective and a so called public good”. Now, the property rights or non property rights of internet are accessorial characteristics that are determined in context. For example, a chair could have different colors and still be a chair; internet could have private rights in some things and lack property rights in others but still be Internet.

Just as in radio-telecommunication spectrum legislation; If someone (a company) pays the rights of use of internet from other company or government grant and this company decides to restricts the access to the network, connections, websites, etc they have acquired a right to do so.

This private right to do whatever you please in your website enables you to do anything except violating other people’s rights. Since we still consider IP to be an inalienable right, those websites that violate it should be held responsible. That would not be censorship but the recognition of a violation of rights done by a website. That is what the PROTECT IP Act aims to do.

What is Capitalism?

Before defining what is Capitalism I have decided to provide you with five videos that explain the philosophical foundations of Capitalism as a social system. By listening to these videos, you’ll get a wonderfully elaborated explanation of What Capitalism is and of what it consists of.

Video – What Is Capitalism (1/5)

“Capitalism is the only social system based on the recognition of individual rights and, therefore, the only system that bans force from social relationships.”1

Published in 1966 this abstract from Ayn Rand‘s work on Capitalism explains in a clear and unequivocal way the true concept and definition of a system based on reason and in the recognition of the rights of free and responsible men.

Capitalism in the previous quote means a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated social system known as “Capitalism Laissez-faire“. It is a system that works as a set of interacting or interdependent moral, political and economical principles that are incorporated into legal systems, institutions and governments. This moral, economical and political principles are contingent to the identification that the members of the system do in order to understand the nature of man and are applied to the rational understanding of man’s psycho-epistemology (man’s mode of functioning in acquiring knowledge).

In human history there hasn’t yet existed a capitalist laissez-faire social system that fulfills the previous requirements; and only glimpses of its potentiality have been achieved through history. However, since the 15th Century “economies organizing themselves on capitalist lines have experienced greater economic dynamism: increasing productivity, increasing employment, and generating more rapid advances in economic wealth, living standards, and improved health of the population.”2  It is because of many of the principles of Capitalism Laissez-faire that Globalization and all the different forms of Capitalism have managed to benefit humanity and achieved our current conditions. Unfortunately, it has been because of the philosophical contradictions and irrational actions of man that also many adverse results have come into being from these mixed forms of capitalism and economic crisis, inequalities in the distribution of wealth and environmental degradation are still existing.

The Board of the Center for the Study of Capitalism at Wake Forest University explains what are some of these forms of Capitalism that currently exist and also explain which are some of its capitalist characteristics,

In the 21st century capitalism exists in several forms. These include 1) free market or market-led capitalism such as we are accustomed to in the U.S.; 2) corporatist or state-led capitalism where the government exerts significant guidance, leadership, and influence over the deployment of private capital (e.g. France, Japan in the 1980s); and 3) managed capitalism, in which worker groups and broad social welfare issues exert significant influence on private corporate behavior (e.g. Sweden, Germany).3 Whereas some evidence suggests that market-led capitalist economies experience greater economic dynamism and higher rates of per capita income growth than economies with other forms of capitalism,4 other evidence points to less volatility and fewer inequities in other forms of capitalism than in market-led economies.5

This blog was created to study how and when Capitalism and its philosophical principles played a role in Global History.  It is my goal to demonstrate with a narration of past events how the roots of Wealth enabled for the interconnection of the World and how we could learn from the past to build more rational and objective societies.

Sources:

1 Rand, Ayn. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Signet; Fitst Signet Printing, 1967 edition (July 15, 1986)

2 About Capitalism. BB&T Center for The Study of Capitalism. http://capitalism.wfu.edu/about/capitalism/

3 D. Coates, 2000, Models of Capitalism, Blackwell: Malden MA.

4 R. L. Heilbroner & W. Milberg, 2006, The Making of Economic Society, Prentice-Hall: Upper Saddle River NJ; E. Phelps, 1999, “Lessons from the Corporatist Crisis in Some Asian Nations”, Journal of Policy Modeling, 21 (3), 331-339. E. Phelps, 2007, “The Economic Performance of Nations: Prosperity Depends on Dynamism, Dynamism on Institutions”, in E. Sheshinski, et al, ed., Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Growth Mechanism of Free Enterprise Economies, 342-356, Princeton University Press: Princeton NJ.

5 M. Walker & R. Thurow, 2009, “U.S., Europe are an Oceans Apart on Human Toll of Joblessness”, Wall Street Journal, May 7, A1.