Consent or No Consent / Positive and Negative Rights


Consent or No Consent

John Locke was a man who said that “tacit consent” existed among the people. He stated that just because we accept or receive benefits from the state we are consenting with it. An example was that if the person uses the road the government built and protects, then you’re consenting with the state. Lysander Spooner, another man, said that consent meant consent and that there was no such thing as “tacit consent”. He gave the example of saying that no one has ever signed the Constitution, and therefore has not consented with the government. Then he said if voting implied consent, and stated that not all people have been allowed to vote, and of the ones who have, not all vote, and that voting may be done in self-defense, and not in a spirit of consent to the system. Then he went along and said that infringement of rights is a crime whether the perpetrator is one person or the majority, meaning that even if it’s majority rule it doesn’t mean it’s just. It’s like a majority agreeing on killing a man just because, and therefore it’s right, that’s complete nonsense! Last, Spooner said that the only thing they prove is corruption and tyranny from the very government.

In my opinion, I find Spooner’s statements very persuasive, because if a person is living in a state controlled by a government, it doesn’t mean the person consents with the government. That person may have no other choice on which to live there or not. It’s like saying a prisoner in jail is consenting with the government, just because he’s on government territory, or that a poor woman with children is consenting with the government, just because she has no money to leave or go somewhere else. In conclusion, yes, I agree with Spooner, and no, people don’t consent with the government just because they’re on its territory. 



Positive and Negative Rights

First of all, a positive right does not mean that it’s good, and a negative right does not mean that it’s bad. Good or bad does not exist in these rights.

Positive rights place some obligation on others to bestow certain benefits on you. For example, people may say that they have a right to a house, some place to live in, or that they have a right to health care. How can others work so that you can get that right to become true? Basically it’s saying that everyone has to stop doing what they’re doing, so that you can have that right.

Negative rights do not require anything from anyone else, except not interfering with you. For example, you have the right to life, that means no one should kill you. You have the right to property, that means no one should steal it from you, and you should enjoy it without anyone interfering with you.

In conclusion, positive rights require others to do something for you, and negative rights require others to leave you alone. 



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