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About The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902 | View Entire Issue (July 6, 1899)
'Cbe Conservative *
11IG1IT AND KIGIITS.
The work of THE CONSERVATIVE is to
' 1 uproot error and expose truth. In this
way only can social institutions bo con
served and built on a permanent basis.
The fundamental question of today is ,
as has been from history's beginning ,
that of right and rights. Old as the his
tory of man it has not been definitely
stated , what is right ? What are rights ?
In this communication these two ques
tions will be absolutely answered and
the origin and nature of rights placed on
an impregnable natural foundation.
The great difficulty in regard to these
questions is that those who have been
accepted as authority , and their follow
ers , have insisted that there is a neces
sary antagonism between natural condi
tions and human institutions. No less a
person than the late Professor Huxley
took this absurd position. An author
before me says : "It is taught that the
laws of Nature and not the laws of men
control all social conditions and social
progress. " The author is opposed to
"natural law" and a disbeliever in the
"survival of the fittest , " as applied to
the human race. In another place ho
says that , "the only exception to the
labor-rule of life is the inability of ex
treme youth or ago" as if there were not
thousands of cases of inability to main
tain themselves at any ago and thous
ands of cases as the result of disease.
Again ho says that , "wealth is only one
means of enforcing the unnatural power
that its possession confers. "
The first truth necessary to be under
stood and without which there can bo no
clear thinking is that there is nothing
unnatural. While there is absolutely no
sense in the expression , "whatever is , is
right , " because there is no such thing as
a natural right , or right or wrong , in
Nature , still there is nothing that is not
only natural , but perfectly natural , for
there is nothing perfect or imperfect in
Nature. The expression "whatever is ,
is right , " simply means that it is the
unavoidable result of antecedent condi
tions. Nothing can change the "is"
the present. Knowing the antecedents
necessarily resulting in a certain "is"
ouo can prevent its resulting another
time by interfering with its antecedent
conditions. Once present , however , we
cannot change an existing "is , " though
wo can prevent things resulting from it ,
as an antecedent , which without our in
terference would inevitably take place.
Unthinking persons may bo inclined to
question the assertion that there is
nothing perfect or imperfect in Nature ,
but if they will reflect a moment they
must admit that a healthy person is no
less as true a representation of health , as
death is of death , disease of disease. A
crooked , deformed person as truly repre
sents that condition in man as does a
dwarfed tree that condition among trees
A round stone is as truly round as is a
square stone square. Such truths are
called relative because wo picture thorn
n comparison with other conditions.
But there are absolute truths also and
among them none is of more importance
ihnn that cardinal truth.
There is no Natural Uight.
On the contrary , as of all other things ,
what we cnll "rights" have a natural
foundation. The fundamental basis of
ethics and morals is might. "Might is
right. " Might is not a right. Might is
; ho basis of all rights. No right can ex-
st unless there is might to make it so.
Vlight is never wrong. That is not say-
ng that the mighty cannot do wrong.
To say that "might is right" is like
shaking a red rag in the face of the angry
) ulls of emotional ignorance and an ab
surdly false morality. Might is the
basis of the "survival of the fittest , " that
most all embracing and fundamental
of natural conditions. When might islet
lot right it is no more might. The
mighty have injured themselves by overexertion -
exertion , or by event of exertion. In
either case they have been weak instead
of mighty. Instead of might read "abil
ity , " Ability to do is never wrong.
Ability not to do a thing , self-control , is
often the mightiest display of might.
Ethics is the scieuco of using one's
might to one's preservation. Might is
the basis of all law. Without might
there couid be no law. "Self-preserva
tion is the first law , " but without the
ability to self-maintenance the law
would be a dead letter. So self-preser
vation is the basis of all human institu
tion. No fundamental institution has
its foundation in that altruistic insanity ,
sacrifice of self in order to preserve
another. Many will deny this. They
are false prophets. The results of their
ignorance is fast turning humanity into
a pack of ravening wolves. Although
alluded to in the discussion of the De
claration of Independence it may again
be stated hero that no natural right to
"Has not every one a right to live , "
says some tender emotionalist ? No !
Not one I Unless they have the power ,
and might , to maintain life ! Were
it not so all would live. Only the
vast minority of those born live to a
successful , self-maintaining maturity.
No power can give life to the dying.
No power can give self-maintaining
ability to those not having it. Though
the desire , or instinct , to self-preserva
tion is inseparable from life , and there
fore called the first law , those not pos
sessing the ability to live have no right
to live on the basis of that inviolable
criterion , "the survival of the fit. "
These are harsh truths , but why dodge
them ? When was the truth anything
but harsh ? To call a man a liar , or a
thief , is only harsh when ho is such
justice is always harsh to the unjust.
J ustico tempered by mercy is not jus
tice. Truth and justice are identical
Both are conservatives.
A volatile and emotional writer exclaims
claims , "Did over man stand upright
with Heaven-erected face , not wholly
perverted by ignorance * or false educa
tion , and not feel it as instinctively his
right to breathe the air and receive the
sunshine of Heaven ? " Yesl There is
one such man. Whether "wholly per
verted by ignorance , or false education"
history must judge. The above quota-
; iou is but the vapid vaporings of emo
tional ignorance. Rights may result
'rom inevitable necessities , but such ne
cessities are not rights. No man can
iclp breathing while he lives ; no man
can help receiving the "sunshine of
Beaven , " any more than a man can
lelp thinking , and will think as ho is
born to think. Rights demand power
; o demand , or attain , and the ability to
uphold the demand.
Some things which are beyond the
iinit of self-control , are beyond the
limit of the power of others , and among
; hese inalienable necessities to living ,
are breathing , the sunshine , the organic
functions of the body , such as the heart ,
brain , liver and kidneys. To such in
evitable necessities the term rights can
not be applied. There is no natural
right in connection with them , there
being no natural right to life. They
act as long as they have the might to
act. When they have it not the man
Where , then , is the natural right ?
No more fitting place can be found than
the present to discuss the so-called
Henry George theory. If there is no
such tiling as a natural right , certainly
man has no natural right to land , to
the sea , or things that on or in them are.
Let it be again stated the only basis of
a right to anything is the might to at
tain it and maintain one's self in it. Re
member we are not discussing rights ,
but the natural right to anything
in order to show its absurdity. As pre
viously indicated , if natural rights exis
ted there could not be any competitive
struggle for existence , or survival of the
fittest. The assumption of a natural
right to land is as absurd as the natural
right to the air. Both are necessary to
man's existence , but necessity gives no
right of itself. Nothing was made for
man. Man has adapted everything to
his use according to his might , or ability
to do so. Those who have not the
might or ability to thus adapt Nature ,
including human nature , must perish in
the struggle for existence.
Itohinson Crusoo and Natural Rights.
Let us consider the laud and natural
right questions in the light of Mr. Rob-
iusoii Crusoe , a gentleman whoso ad
ventures on Juan Fernandez are well
known to most people. Before the ad
vent of Mr. Robinson on this sea-girt
isle it is said to have been inhabited
by numerous goats , laud birds and sea
gulls. They were the solo possessors
was that island made for them ? Just
as much as for Robinson 1 They had the
same natural rights to the island as he
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