The Reciprocity Principle of Liberty

I have noticed an alarming trend among my fellow Americans.  More and more, I hear the voices of Americans demanding that one individual’s rights be restricted or denied so as to protect some other right they judge to be more worthy.  The notion that we should make firearms illegal for the implied purpose of protecting life is a prime example of this trend.  It seems too many of us are too eager to take our neighbors’ rights while demanding that those things we value be protected.  This observation has forced me to wonder: does America even understand the basic principles of liberty?  Or more importantly, does she even value liberty any more than she values a childhood memory?

One of the most fundamental principles of liberty is that of reciprocity.  The word has a simple meaning:


Definition of RECIPROCITY

1: the quality or state of being reciprocal : mutual dependence, action, or influenc

2: a mutual exchange of privileges; specifically : a recognition by one of two countries or institutions of the validity of licenses or privileges granted by the other


The principle of liberty is just as simple: if you would claim the rights you value, you must not only protect them for your neighbor, you must be ready and willing to protect the rights your neighbor values but you do not.  In short, if you want your right not to own a weapon, you had better be ready to defend my right to own one.  Perhaps the freedom of speech is an even better example.  If you want the right to speak your mind, then you must accept and defend your neighbor’s right to speak his – especially when you vehemently disagree.  Labeling something to be “hate speech” and then declaring that to be sufficient cause to restrict your neighbor’s right to say whatever he wants is to declare yourself better than your neighbor by setting your right to speech above his.


The truth be told, that same neighbor may view your words as being hateful, but if you manage to prevail against him and have a law passed which is favorable to your desire to silence your neighbor, then you have not only trampled your neighbor’s right, now you have trampled the rights of every citizen by setting their government against your neighbor.  When this process is applied to groups – even if they are labeled minorities and you claim your laws are designed to protect those minorities – whether you think so or not, you have assumed the role of the tyrant and started society down the path toward tyranny.


This is one of the many poisons of our politically correct culture: it destroys the popular understanding of and support for the basic principles of liberty.  Whatever happened to the popular support for these words?


I may not agree with what you say, but to the death I will defend your right to say it.”

Paraphrased by Evelyn Beatrice Halll, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G. Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906)


Whatever happened to our support for the individual rights of every American – whether we agree with or valued a particular right or not?  When did we abandon the understanding that, if we do not defend the rights our neighbor values, then we risk having no one left to defend those that we do hold dear when next our rights are attacked?  When did we forget that liberty requires reciprocity?  We forgot when we accepted the lie that we had to restrict the rights of some to protect the rights of others – and worse – that we had to confiscate the rights of a few to make right for the perceived wrongs of the past.


The popular support for “group rights,” often advanced under the label “social justice,” is a perversion of the ideal of liberty.  It is neither a right nor justice as it sets one person against another, one group against another group, and turns the People’s government into an organ of corruption and an enemy to all. This is a perversion of the founding principles upon which this nation was built.  The notion of “group rights” or “social justice” is collectivist in nature: the antithesis of all things “American.”  And as such, it is to be rejected.


But suppose the protection of minority groups is to be the goal of our society.  Where, then, does this lead us?  The answer is right back to where this nation was founded: in the protection of individual rights and liberties.  Why is this true?  Ayn Rand answered it best when she rightly pointed out what our founders knew all so well:


The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

–Ayn Rand


If we determine that we want our society to protect minorities, then we must protect the individual as being the smallest possible minority in society.  Anything else is just as I said: a perversion of liberty and – as such – an absurdity.  And though I do not often quote him as I believe his philosophy was counter to the founding philosophy of this nation in the manner by which he sought to achieve his goals, Voltair was correct when he stated:


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”


So, what’s it going to be: will you stand up for your neighbor’s rights, or will you allow yourself to become the tool of tyrants?

27 thoughts on “The Reciprocity Principle of Liberty

  1. “I have noticed an alarming trend among my fellow Americans. More and more, I hear the voices of Americans demanding that one individual’s rights be restricted or denied so as to protect some other right they judge to be more worthy. The notion that we should make firearms illegal for the implied purpose of protecting life is a prime example of this trend. It seems too many of us are too eager to take our neighbors’ rights while demanding that those things we value be protected. ”

    Interesting. Do you advocate the right of the common street-thug to carry a concealed weapon simply because I have the (legal) right to carry mine? Do you want to take ALL weapons off the street simply because everyone has (or should have) the right to concealed carry?

    • sorry -didn’t finish my thought because i had to log back in.

      Do you want to take ALL weapons off the street simply because everyone has (or should have) the right to concealed carry, including the criminals, or do you want to give EVERYONE the right to concealed carry, including criminals?

    • Do you want to defend you right to your life in the face of those who would argue against your existence? If so, then you must defend the rights of others.

      If not, then just wait, there are people in this nation who will get arounf to you in due time…

      I’m not sure if it was out of ignorance or arrogance, but you just made a straw man argument that leaves me to wonder whether or not you understand the concept of “rights” in the same sense as our founders used to establish this nation. If not, then that is a conversation worth having. But if you believe you do understand them and are in agreement with them, or worse, if you disagree with their understanding of rights, then I refer you back to the begining of my reply and direct you to stop after the third line.

      • No, you started the discussion on a vague premise; ” have noticed an alarming trend among my fellow Americans. More and more, I hear the voices of Americans demanding that one individual’s rights be restricted or denied so as to protect some other right they judge to be more worthy.” Where did you notice that? Do you hear voices all the time?

        You preach the constitution and rail against loss of rights, while advocating the right of Zimmerman to confront a person who is minding his own business, walking through the neighborhood where he is staying. What happened to Trayvon Martin’s rights? Then you rail against law enforcement practically calling them pawns of the government and comparing them to jackbooted thugs.

        Is it out of ignorance or arrogance that you make these arguments? Do “rights” only apply to who YOU would have them applied to? That’s my point.


          I am tired of people making one-sided judgments and then demanding that theirs is the correct determination before the process has had a chance to work or a jury the opportunity to determine the facts.

          FC, I worry that people with your attitude are in law enforcement. You tend to assume everyone is ghuilty and follow orders blindly and I happen to know the history connected to such a mindset. It never ends well.

          As for “you point:” it is fallacious as it assumes an argument I am not and have never made and you have read enough from me to know better. Now mind that oath you took and protect “innocent until proven guilty.”

          • AND NEITHER DO YOU!

            There is no indication is this world that Martin was doing ANYTHING other than returning home from the store with his Skittles and tea.

            You choose to believe he “might” have been up to something, therefore Zimmerman was within his “rights” to confront him. That, my friend, reminds me of the SS you recently referenced. Save me a whack-job citizen with a loaded gun being able to confront me because he “believes” I “might” be doing something wrong.

            • Does it make you feel better about your argument to put words in my mouth and then scream that they are true? Tell me, FC, ever put “evidence” on a convict and scream that it was true? Because I see what you are trying to do to me here as the moral equivalent.

              I never claimed to know what happened – not ever. From the beginning I have said we need to wait to find out, but I have also pointed out that there are conflicting stories. To just accept the one favorable to Martin and reject anything that may favor Zimmerman is a prejudice (legal definition, even).

              Plus, right up to the point that the pohysical altercation started, there is no indication that Zimmerman did anything wrong or illegal – yet we seem to want to blame him for causing the situation. That circle goes both ways: not Martin acting funny, no Zimmerman calling 911 and following him. THIS is what I object to – FROM BOTH SIDES!

              BOTH had legal right to do what they did – right up to the point that the fight started. And THAT is what we need to figure out: who started it, how and why. The JURY will decide, and everyone assuming anything until then is harming the rule of law.

    • Kells,

      ANYONE who follows my posts – you especially – should be aware that I have said I am in agreement with Locke’s views on natural rights and natural law, as well as the social contract. This means that I DO support all RESPONSIBLE citizens’ rights – ALL of them.

      HOWEVER, when someone intentionally frames a statement so as to make it appear that I am supporting something that all REASONABLE people would oppose, I will act like this – every time:

      Part of Locke and our founders’ understanding of the social contract says that those who exercise their rights MUST do so in a manner that does not harm others. And those who have proven they will not obey this social contract can and should have their rights restricted – so long as they wish to remain in that society. So fellons can and should have their gun rights taken away because THEIR ACTIONS warranted it.

      Furthermore, if a person wishes to live outside of society by continuing to harm others after having their rights restricted, then they are declaring themselves at war with society. In this case, society has EVERY RIGHT to deal with this person as you deal with anyone with whom you are at war: YOU KILL THEM! Habitual criminals should be dealt with in such manner as this is actually society’s responsibility toward every law abiding individual within it. This was the whole purpose of forming a society in the first place.

      So, in the case FC set out, he is ignoring what I have clearly said in the past – many times. And thus, he presents a straw man argument. Period!

      I see a need for a post about rights and about the social contract.

      (Utah, Levin’s book will be no help to America: no one seems to understand or even care about the dicotomies he is trying to explain in Ameritopia.)

  2. “One of the most fundamental principles of liberty is that of reciprocity.”

    Where does reciprocity start, where does it end, in your world?

    • If it is a natural right, a right that all men are born with – SUCH AS SELF-DEFENSE – then neither of us has a right to trample it in others simply because we fear that person having his rights without some ability for us to control it.

      I see the tendency toward tyranny in you, FC. You have expressed a desire to control other people whenever and wherever you feel YOU know best. That is NOT a founding principle or ideal of this nation – not when it applies to something that is causing no one any harm.

      • And despite what you post, I see the same tendency in you. Anyone who disagrees with you regardless of fact presented is WRONG.

        • Which is exactly what I pointed out on the other site with him, only my argument was in regard to the Muslim religion. I should copy/paste our very sweet and loving exchange….

          • Do it, Kells. SHow everyone that I never once advocated outlawing their faith or censoring the speech. then explain how I am violating my principle of reciprocity.

            Utah, I do not need to allow DNC rants to show the way the Left’s mind works, I have two volunteers right here. 🙂

        • When they ARE wrong, yes, I will say so – loudly. On this issue, you are 100% CORRECT — IF YOU FAVOR HOBBS AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION! But NOT if you favor Locke and the American ideal.

          So, see, I did allow for you to be correct. Now chose: which are you going to side with?

  3. I want to step into this rather lively discussion of what Mr. Trayvon was doing. Let’s consider where I grew up before you all come down on my oppinion. I grew up in the South Bronx of NYC, and I have seen it all including gang war. Let’s all analyze the facts. Mr. Trayvon was suspended from school for the 3rd time, first time for defacing property (graffity), second time for having burglary tools and jewelry he claimed was not his in his locker (yeah sure). 3rd time for smoking pot in his school. Many kids who knew him in school claimed he was a drug dealer (pot). The kids had no reason to BS, Trayvon was one of them………Now let’s look at the simple facts. Fact #1-Mr. Trayvon had a mouth full of gold teeth, just where did he get the money (if not selling put or other things) to have those put in if he did not have a job? Neither mother nor father gave him the money for it, that has been confirmed. Fact #2-Mr. Trayvon told his father he was going to the local grocery store to buy stuff, but the local grocery owner, and workers who have been interviewed have no memory or recollection of Mr. Trayvon being at his store and none of the security cameras in the store show any sign of Mr. Trayvon. Also, examination of all the sales do not show any of the items he is alledge to have purchased show up at the same time. Fact#3-Mr. Trayvon was wearing a “hoodie” sweatshirt in FL 86 degree heat/humidity, why? No sane individual from any state would put on a “hoodie” sweatshirt in that kind of heat except if he had other intentions in mind such as hiding his identity while in the course of commiting a crime. Fact #4-Many witnesses have claimed to have seen Mr. Trayvon looking thru/into the windows of several houses in an area of the neighboorhood that has been pleagued by crime and breakins. Fact#5-From all of the information seen so far from FaceBook Page to Twitter, Mr. Trayvon was a wannabe gang banger. Now my fellow Americans, the evidence has been presented. From someone who has lived amongs these wannabe hoodlums, and someone who has first hand information on the way they act. I make my case that Mr. Trayvon was no innocent “walker”, he was out looking for trouble and up to no good, and got caught. When he got caught he did what other “hoodlums” do, he attacked Zimmerman and was shot dead for it. Ask yourselves this question, why did Trayvon attack Zimmerman and beat him to a pulp if he was not upto no good? Come on folks, on this planet and any other 1+1=2 every single time. In the end, I believe Zimmerman will be cleared of all charges except of the one for not following the instructions of the 911 operator who told him not to follow. Of that charge he is guilty 100%, but I can’t blame him for following knowing what had happened in that area before. I present and rest my case………..

    • That’s funny. You judge this case on what you know of in the South Bronx. I would hope to never find you judging me.

      • J. brings up the same points as my husband. Of course, my husband has to go into this whole media bias thing saying that the media ignores the statistics of crimes committed by young black males. The fact is the kid was armed with skittles. I know they’re bad for you, but….
        I just wish Zimmerman would’ve followed him (if he felt so strongly about doing so) with a baseball bat or a finger-stun thingy, or something that wouldn’t have killed the kid.

  4. As always happens when people can’t argue the REAL point being made, some emotionally charged diversion is drug into things to divert attention away from that fact. In this case, it is the Martin shooting.

    So, to use the Martin shooting and bring this back to the topic ACTUALLY at hand, let me point out that the case is now being made that Zimmerman should NOT have been allowed to walk his neighborhood because Martin was already on the street. In other words, Zimmerman had no right to HIS rights because Martin had “beat him to it.”

    Oh, I know the other side of this is going to scream some more over my last comment, but let them: they are on the wrong side of right when it comes to the reciprocity of liberty.

    If Martin had a right to walk the streets, SO DID ZIMMERMAN!

    And if Martin had a right to attack because he felt threatened, then Zimmerman has a right to defend himself for the same reason.

    So, unless and until a jury determines that Zimmerman attacked Martin with deadly force first, or that Martin initiated an attack without just cause, reciprocity demands we allow BOTH to be assumed innocent at this time.

    THIS is the question really at hand in regards to my post. Everything else is a smoke screen.

    • ” . . . the case is now being made that Zimmerman should NOT have been allowed to walk his neighborhood because Martin was already on the street.

      By who? Where? When? Show me.

      “If Martin had a right to walk the streets, SO DID ZIMMERMAN!”

      SURE HE DID! That’s why its called a PUBLIC STREET.

      “And if Martin had a right to attack because he felt threatened, then Zimmerman has a right to defend himself for the same reason.”

      Martin had the right to defend himself because he was confronted by an unknown person with a loaded gun demanding to know, “What are you doing here?”

  5. Our little chat…..

    @black3actual – Now, to your article. I find it most curious that you speak and even go so far as to define reciprocity, and yet, it seems that this belief holds water for you in certain respects only. I believe you can guess as to what I am referring to.

    Just as an anti-gun person would be against my 6th grader possessing an AK-47, are you not exhibiting the same bias by persistently slamming another religion? You know that is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned; thus freedom of religion.

    Think on your definitions of the word reciprocity, because I think YOU have won this argument for ME.

    @Kellsbella – Kells, I do not accept you PC BS about “slamming” another religion.

    For the LAST time:

    If you read the Bible and the Qur’an side-by-side, it becomes painfully obvious that they are OPPOSITE TEACHINGS!

    Therefore, if you believe the Bible – and I do, especially because it seems to have forewarned against Islam as much as 1,000 years before it was created – then you MUST accept that Allah is NOT Yahweh.

    On the other hand, if you believe the Qur’an, then you must accept that Allah has a habit of changing his mind and history, to boot (or you blame it on the Jews for “corrupting” the text – sort of like someone else we know).

    Now, there is NO ‘slam” in stating a simple fact – and these are FACTS! So take your PC BS and stick it, sista. I aint interested in it anymore. Or, in other terms:
    “Get behind me, Satan.”

    @black3actual – Oh, brother! You are not Jesus, and I am not Peter. According to my Muslim friend, Farrakhan is a disgrace and a joke to the Muslims. Just as Christians misinterpret, so do Muslims.

    @Kellsbella – I am well aware of what they say about Farrakhan, I even mentioned that in one of my posts/comments, not sure which.

    As for the rest of your comments, I see them as irrelevant or intentionally diversionary.

    I am NOT trying to STOP anyone from worshiping whatever god they want. Nor am I telling anyone they CAN’T say what they want. At the same time, I have a right to express my opinion about both.

    So I am being perfectly consistent with my view of liberty.

    @black3actual – I am merely pointing out that Muslim clerics look with disdain upon Farrakhan.

    By the by, did you read the article that I pasted for you?

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