Lots of people seem to think that discussions of morality and philosophy really don`t have much to do with everyday life. All that`s too difficult, obscure, and can`t be resolved.
Everyone has a right to their own opinion, after all, and nobody can
ever be completely right. Right? This is an essay, but feel free to
Journalists like to use, as an excuse to invade someone`s privacy, that
"the public has a right to know." This somehow justifies incredible
excesses in various situations. Who`s "The Public?"
We also hear all the time about how corporations are just "too greedy."
They don`t have a "right" to do what they`re doing. Which person in the
Rights are associated with the concept of morality. A society`s legal
code is the written embodiment of the underlying moral structure for
that society. What you legally do or don`t have a right to, directly is
a result of the moral principles upon which the society was founded.
As such, rights are a logical statement. They`re made up of words and
logic. You can`t do an autopsy on a dead guy and lift out his "rights."
Nor can you go walking around and find some "rights" lying on the
Dogs can fight over a bone because they both want to eat the bone. But
after one or the other wins, no dog is going to sit down and have a
discussion about who has the right to that bone---the property rights.
Morality is a set of rules, and those rules directly apply to
individuals. As such, rights apply to individuals. So when a reporter
says that "The Public" has a right to know, which person do they mean?
Does every living human being have the "right" to know everything? What
specifically do they have a right to know, and are there any limits of
Suppose a reporter wants to know if you wear diapers when you go out in
the car. It`s an embarrassing question, and you`d prefer to not say.
The reporter then chases you around, claiming that "the public" has a
right to know.
Aren`t you part of that public? You already know, so who else needs to know? Why does anyone "need" to know?
We tend to look at life as a "me" and "everyone else" set of two
groups. "Me" works one way, and "Them" works some other way. As such,
businesses, corporations, governments, agencies, all are "them."
But because we can lump many people into a single word---"them"---it
almost seems as if "them" is the same thing as one individual. It`s
just not true. It`s mental laziness to believe that a "group" is the
same as an individual, regardless that we can manipulate the concept of
the group as a single unit.
There are laws about what a corporation can and can`t do. But does a
corporation, which is a group of many people, have any rights? Isn`t it
the single owner of the corporation who has the rights? When a
corporation sets out to do something, isn`t it because of single
individuals who make decisions?
So what about this smoking issue, where "the public" wants to invade
the privacy of "the business" and demand that the business ban smoking
on its location? One concepts is attempting to invade and control
another concept. Is that even real or possible? No.
With everyone running around talking about how their rights are being
abused, interfered with, or otherwise taken away, we need to understand
It isn`t going to be long before YOU, as a "Business" are going to
discover that there are two sets of rights in question--two different
moralities. There are YOUR rights as a citizen of the country. Then
there are the non-existent "rights" of non-specific others, "thems,"
and "theys," that you`ll be facing.
No matter what rights anyone talks about, some ONE person makes
decisions based on those rules (the rights). In the Soviet Union, "The
Public" was considered to be more valuable and important than the
individual. And so, "The Public" was assigned rights in an impossible
But individuals were in charge of making all the decisions for "The
Public." We`re moving along in that direction, these days, here in the
US. Let`s keep an eye on it.