Or perhaps I should say, self-defense is the only operative right.
Every year on January 22 my mother used to take me on the bus to Washington DC to march for the Right to Life. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Even looking beyond the glaring hypocrisy of a slave-owner penning these words (and I love Thomas Jefferson, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t read the Declaration of Independence without thinking of that every time!), I have to say I’m not quite sure my mother or TJ got it right exactly–powerful and poetic though their claims are.
There obviously isn’t an absolute right to life – nature itself takes most life; and there’s no more or less a right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness than there is a right to agoraphobia and the pursuit of misery. The list of rights we hold dear is endless. Even “liberty” is not so much a right in itself but a word that embodies the limitlessness of our rights. Limitless except for one thing: our rights (and our liberty) end where another’s begin.
If there’s a legitimate dispute as to where the boundary between two individuals’ rights is, the issue might be resolved through adjudication or another custom, governmental or otherwise. If one individual intentionally and knowingly encroaches on another’s rights, that’s violence and the victim is entitled to defend himself (and by extension his property) in kind. This is the basis of the non-aggression principle at the heart of libertarian philosophy and it demonstrates that there is only one operative social right: the right to self-defense.
Self-defense is the sole legitimating source of government power.
The fact that the government is in its essence all force and the only legitimate use of force is self-defense, the government’s only possible legitimating quality is that it is asserting your right to self-defense on your behalf. This is why I am an absolutist when it comes to the Second Amendment. Should citizens own tanks and missile launchers? Sure, if they want to. If the state has a right to have them, the citizen must. (In reality, of course, missile launchers only exist to fight wars between states, but I digress!)
The right to self-defense is the unalienable right. We can augment it through association with others, such as through government, but we cannot divorce it from ourselves. (Imagine if someone were stabbing you: Could there ever be a case where you didn’t put your arm up to shield your face because you had delegated your right to self-defense?)
When we delegate the right to self-defense we get war.
That brings us to our current problem. The only thing that gives the state a right to exist as a unique entity is war insofar as legitimate war is collective self-defense and collective self-defense is the only purpose of government (at least for the Aristotelian individualist as opposed to the Platonic collectivist).
Although intellectuals will scoff at my simple, objective description of the state, the state itself obviously recognizes the basic premise that the right to individual self-defense is the sole source of state power. In the interest of self-preservation (ie, for those in power to maintain both their positions and the power those positions embody), those who operate the state create war in order to justify the state’s continued existence and they are very careful to couch their wars in terms of self-defense in order to maintain legitimacy.
This legitimacy is the paramount concern of the power elite. They are not at all concerned about civil unrest, but they are very concerned about public perception. Civil unrest actually plays into their hands because the majority of the populace will look to the government for protection–to be their proxy in the exercise of self-defense–in the case of civil unrest. You can see government actors actually provoking civil unrest in such cases as the Bundy Ranch stand-off and the Martin-Zimmerman tragedy. But government officials, left, right and retired, will come out to portray our incitement of belligerence in Ukraine as self-defense against a dangerous and expansionist Russia. It is even possible that our puppets in Kiev perpetrated a false flag solely for the purpose of allowing Europe to characterize sanctions against Russia as defending their citizens (the European victims of flight MH17).
This is why the power elite has assumed total control over the mainstream media and why false flags are always with us: all that matters to government is the perception that only it can defend us and that it is in fact defending us. This position is spelled out in The Report from Iron Mountain: On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace, and is particularly blatant, not just in what the report says but in its only given: those in power must remain in power and the power structure must retain its current form. Only within this framework does the “special study group” that wrote the report begin to answer the grotesque question it poses: “Is Peace Desirable?” The conclusion of the report? “No.” That’s the power elite’s position, and they’re sticking by it.