Sunday, December 8, 2019

On the Nature of "Rights" and Supreme Court Hustlers

By Robert Wenzel

At the post, Taking a Look at Scott Adams's Argument Against Privacy, Joshua Bennett writes in the comments:
Bob, can you expand on this more please? I notice you never say “right to privacy” which is consistent with the view of not believing in “rights”. But for the general commoner, what do you say to them?
The republican pro life people say that the Supreme Court made up the “right to privacy” to make abortion legal. They say there is a right to life. My opinion is whether a person has a right to privacy or not, killing a innocent human is wrong.
I’ve talked to good hearted conservatives who argue about the Supreme Court creating right to privacy for abortion “rights”, but I think they use this arguing a short sighted way, as in unintended consequences, much like they wanted marriage licenses from the state to keep blacks from marrying whites, so the state gladly became a third party to marriage, now these same folks are whining that the government shouldn’t be involved in marriage cause they are granting marriage licenses to gays. Sort of the same thing with the creation of business licenses. Unintended consequences.
So, without using the term “right” to privacy , how do you argue with a conservative that privacy is very important?
Yes, in my book, Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person, I argue that there is no such thing as natural rights. That is, I see the claim of the existence of such rights in the same way that Henry Hazlitt did, as a near-mystical view.

Therefore, I would never argue for a “right to privacy.”

This does not mean that I don't think privacy is important, in my post I make clear that I do, just that it is not some "right." This goes well beyond the concept of abortion. The abortion question is a religious question. It is best left to religious leaders and missionaries.

The rights issue is about whether it is wise to have a central power telling us what to do based on whatever it cooks up as a "right."

The Supreme Court is really a scam whereby nine individuals in robes think up twisted interpretations of the poorly worded US Constitution to justify government oppression (government laws) in line with current political pressures and trends.

Bennett's marriage license example shows how central power trends can change over time (with or without Supreme Court rulings).

Those who support government central power fail to grasp that there is a tendency for the central power to remain intact over time but that the focus of the central power on a given issue can shift dramatically over time. The best way to have a society that allows much personal freedom is to always move in the direction of less central power, and rights are just a very subtle way to introduce some central power. Most people would be against "rights" if they recognized it really means, "The central power says you can do this or can't do that."

On the other hand, if you are a totalitarian control freak and want to roll the dice that central power will move in your direction and that authorities won't come after you, well then you have a different view. Probably one similar to Leon Trotsky, who was very close to running the whole global communist show, but was eventually killed with an ice axe to the head on the orders of Joseph Stalin. I wonder how many of the hundreds of millions killed by central planning regimes at one point thought, in the early stages of the emerging central planning machine, that it was a good idea.

And that is not even to bring up the fact that socialism/central power can't work.

So the way to argue with a conservative, without using the term “right” to privacy, that privacy is important, is first to discuss with him the dangers of central power. And point out that when the Supreme Court makes rules, it is acting as a central power, and will distort any concept to enforce its power.

True privacy will always offer protection for the anti-abortionist (and pro-abortionist) when meeting, even if the state decides to hunt for such people.

Privacy is good, a Supreme Court scammy use of the concept of privacy is typical of the way they operate. It has nothing to do with real privacy.

The best current-day example of a major league Supreme Court distortion is when Chief Justice John Roberts protected Obamacare in 2012 on the absurd grounds that it was a tax.

The Supreme Court is the problem, not the concept of privacy. In an ideal world, the Supreme Court would be abolished.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.comand Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bankand most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.


  1. I would agree with RW here but would point out that this lives in the same space as natural law and the non-religious based moral societal structure. Which are also apart from the state.