What is a right?

“A right,” as defined by Ayn Rand, “is a moral principle defining an individual’s freedom of action in a social context.”

Rights are principles that form the bridge between individual morality and the ethical laws governing society. The concept of individual rights, observes Ayn Rand, “provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others—the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context—the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics.”

Rights say that morally certain actions are right, and all other actions that forcibly interfere with and prevent those actions are wrong.

Individual rights are guarantees to freedom of action: the right to those actions necessary to support one’s life — so long as one does not violate the rights of others.