Individual rights are inalienable — within an individual’s freedom (sphere) of action, one’s rights are absolute.
Inalienable (and unalienable) means the right may not be alienated from the person who possesses them, i.e., may not be given or taken away, i.e., may not be morally infringed upon.
For example, a robber may steal a car from a doctor, but morally the doctor’s right to the car is not alienated. Though the robber has possession of the car, the car still rightfully belongs to the doctor, i.e., the doctor is in the right, and the robber is in the wrong.
Individual rights are universal — they belong to each individual equally by their nature as a rational being.
Though individuals differ in their ability to reason, this does not change the fact that reason is a human being’s distinctive means of survival.
Take, for example, the right to property: all individuals have the equal right to property honestly acquired, whether one is Queen Elizabeth or a street-sweeper. The right to property does not mean one will own property, but only that when one has honestly acquired property (through production or trade), that property is one’s property not by permission, but by inalienable right. The right to property does not mean all individuals will have an equal amount to property, only they will have the equal right their property.
Rights form a logically integrated, non-contradictory whole. No enumerated right contradicts any other right but is the logical application of the right to life to a given context.
Individual rights are not self-evident but are, like the theory of gravity, objective discoveries based on the facts of reality.
Individual rights are not a perceptual self-evidency but are a tremendous discovery that took humanity centuries of observation and thought to discover and formulate.
Individual rights are the objectively identified requirements for a human being to live a flourishing life in society. It is because they are not self-evident that there is much confusion over the nature of rights and how they are applied.
Freedom of action does not mean freedom to act by permission, to be revoked at a dictator’s, or democratic majority’s whim, but freedom to act within a given context as an absolute — by right. (The limit to one’s actions is where the rights of others begin).
Individual rights are not permissions granted by the state, but hierarchically precede the formation of a legitimate, proper government.
Do consumers have extra “consumer rights” in additional to individual rights? No. One does not gain or lose rights by membership in any group. One does not lose one’s rights when one becomes a producer; one does not gain rights by becoming a consumer.
The only right the consumer has is the freedom to refuse or accept what producers offer them. Similarly, the producer has no right to force consumers to support his business and purchase his goods and services. The consumer has no right to force the producer to sell something, no more than the producer has the right to force the consumer to buy something. Only when the two voluntarily agree does an exchange (trade) take place. Neither party must make a deal if they do not like their terms, they are free to go elsewhere.
It is the consumer that sets the terms of how his money is traded, and it is the producer that set the terms on how his good or service is traded. The producer’s job is not to serve the consumer’s interests, no more than it is the consumer’s job to serve the producer’s interests, both must serve their interests. It is only when their interests coincide that trade — a voluntary exchange of value for value — takes place.
How does one determine if a given action is anti-competitive or not? As a free-market is the application of the principle of individual rights to the economic sphere of production and trade; it is the principle of rights that determine if any action is anti-competitive or not. If no rights are violated, then neither is freedom of competition. Free-competition only has a single requirement: the protection of individual rights by the banishment of physical force (including fraud) from all relationships.
Do individuals lose their rights when they enter business? One’s rights do not disappear when one becomes businessmen as rights are inalienable. One does not gain/lose rights by being poor; one does not lose/gain them by becoming rich. Under the law of capitalism, all men are to be held equal in rights: what they choose to do with their rights determines their fate (economic position).