The notion that people have “rights” is of recent origin—and has no real basis in anything. It’s hard to say what is even meant by “having” a right. Rights are clearly not inborn, because if they were, they couldn’t be lost or taken away, which they are. When not established arbitrarily by law (you have the right to drink yourself silly, but not the right to smoke yourself silly), the existence of rights is merely rhetorical. They’re something to be asserted (“the right to life of the unborn fetus”), something to be argued about (“women’s right to control the reproductive processes of their own bodies”), but every right asserted can be denied and every right argued for can be argued against. There is no known way of settling any argument over rights; governments simply settle them by fiat.

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