In his Introduction to Animal Rights, Gary Francione tells us, “There is a great deal of confusion surrounding the concept of rights.”
Something that Gary doesn’t really clear up.
He says that:
a right is a particular way of protecting interests. To say that an interest is protected by a right is to say that the interest is protected against being ignored or violated simply because this will benefit someone else. We can think of a right of any sort as a fence or a wall that surrounds an interest and upon which hangs a “no trespass” sign that forbids entry, even if it would be beneficial to the person seeking that entry.
This is a parody in the style of Ayn Rand by Brett Holverstott. As i have tremendous respect for Ayn Rand’s work, this is not meant to dismiss it, but i post the story because it’s both absurdly humourous—to those familiar with Ayn’s work—and unwittingly touches on themes related to both this blog and my book (Society VX).
I’ve changed the version i found slightly to correct minor errors (eg spelling), and to try to make the second-last paragraph clearer.
Ayn Rand answers the question which has plagued philosophers and the general public for centuries: “Why did the chicken cross the road?” She proposes that throughout the history of poultry, chickens have been offered two false alternatives: to either die as roadkill or submit to The Butcher. With ground-breaking symbolism paralleling Nietzsche’s Apollo vs. Dionysus, Rand argues that each alternative is a reciprocal manifestation of the same ideology—and proposes a third alternative consistent with her Objectivist philosophy of living on Earth.
While both René Descartes and John Locke thought atheists were anathema and John Locke and Voltaire invested in slavery, Zera believed in a tolerant, non-sectarian God that didn’t approve of slavery:
All men are equal in the presence of God; and all are intelligent, since they are his creatures; he did not assign one people for life, another for death, one for mercy, another for judgment. Our reason teaches us that this sort of discrimination cannot exist.
Further, while Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women came out in 1792, in the previous century Zera maintained that women weren’t inferior to men, and that “husband and wife are equal in marriage.”