On Saturday, August 29, 2009, the Objectivist Party of New York celebrated Individual Rights Day by urging people to see and distribute the following video of "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" from the movie Cabaret: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMVql9RLP34&feature=related
Dr. Tom Stevens, President of the Objectivist Party of New York, stated:
This video is a chilling reminder of how fanaticism can stir people up in a way that would make them more willing to trample upon the individual rights of some for the alleged greater good of all. Respect for the individual rights of all people must never be compromised.
Individual Rights Day is celebrated on August 29th, the birth date of John Locke, the philosopher who first prominently argued that a human being has a basic property right based upon his status as a sovereign human being and that it is the government's role to protect that right and not to treat its citizens as slaves.
People are urged to celebrate Individual Rights Day by doing one or more of the following:
1. Read about John Locke and his political philosophy that respects man's sovereignty over his own body.
2. Read about Ayn Rand and her basis for recognizing that every man is born with "individual rights" that cannot be trampled upon by government or by others.
3. Contrast the concept of "individual rights" with those of "collective rights".
4. Run a seminar, hold a meeting, or sponsor a debate on the importance of "individual rights" as the basis for man's liberties and freedoms.
John Locke stated in "The Second Treatise On Civil Government":
Every man has a property in his own person this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say are properly his...The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property.
John Locke quotations on "Individual Rights":
Reason...teaches all Mankind, who would but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions.
Government can never have a Power to take to themselves the whole or any part of the Subjects Property, without their own consent.
'Tis a Mistake to think this Fault [tyranny] is proper only to Monarchies; other Forms of Government are liable to it, as well as that. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many.
Whenever the Legislators endeavor to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge...against Force and Violence. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty.
Ayn Rand quotations on "Individual Rights":
A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action - which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)...Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive - of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
The right to life is the source of all rights - and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave. Man holds these rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective - as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross...these rights are man’s protection against all other men.
The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A - and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
The concept of individual rights is so prodigious a feat of political thinking that few men grasp it fully - and two hundred years have not been enough for other countries to understand it. But this is the concept to which we owe our lives - the concept which made it possible for us to bring into reality everything of value that any of us did or will achieve or experience.
A Facebook Group for Individual Rights Day is located at:
Individual Rights Day was started by Dr. Tom Stevens, the Founder of the Objectivist Party.