Your Rights As They Exist On An Island, By Your Lonesome

I saw a sign at the Occupy Wall Street protest that, well, sort of boggled my mind.

To Say That a Job is a Right is the Same Thing as Claiming You Have the Right to Enslave

How can you claim a job to be a right? Are you not claiming ownership over the product or service of another person?

And this is where the “rights on an island” scenario comes into play. My dear friend Justin used this analogy. Imagine if you were on an island and you were the only person there. No other human exists on this island. Additionally, there are no merchants or health care providers or attorneys or–yes, that’s right–employers.

Consider the way in which your rights exist in this setting. On this island, you have freedom to do as you please. If you wanted to spend time doing jumping jacks, that is your right. If you wanted to build a home* on this island, you could do that too. But your rights are limited to what you can provide for yourself, without infringing upon another.

You have the right to pursue (your own, unique, personal, individual) happiness. You have the right to liberty. That is all.

You do not have the right to another man’s product or service. Or, in the case of the employer, you do not have the right to a job. A job is a value the employer has created for themselves. They worked to achieve a status that affords them the freedom to hire. That is their achieved liberty. They can hire, and that is their choice.

You do not have a right to a job. A job is product that is created and carefully constructed; to be offered, only at the will and desire of the employer who created it. If they deem a candidate of worth and relevance for the job, then they have the liberty to choose said candidate.

Just as a job is a product, so is, let’s say, a lamp. The Lamp Store sells lamps. Do you have a right to the lamp? What about the dentist? Her product is dental care. Do you have a right to that?


Remember, you are on an island. Your rights exist only as if you were on said island, all by your lonesome.

I don’t have a right to a job. I do have the right, however, to make myself relevant and of value to the employer. I do this by honing my skill. Gaining experience. Contacting people in the industry.

I own a small business. It’s new and, week to week, I work hard to build something that will, in time, be enough to support my family. It’s not easy work. It takes dedication. Toil. Sweat. Patience. Do I have a right to this job? Heck no.

I imagine a scenario in which I walk into the office of a local marketing firm and tell them that I have a right to procure a writing project from them. They’d laugh me out of their office and possibly call the police. And rightfully so.

So, please, don’t claim you have a right to a job. You don’t.

*The island is only metaphorical. It doesn’t exist. The home you build is also metaphorical. No private/public property arguments.

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6 thoughts on “Your Rights As They Exist On An Island, By Your Lonesome

  1. Hi Non,

    I enjoy your blog so much–and I applaud your efforts as you build your business. Have a wonderful holiday! 🙂

  2. markps2 says:

    This is “I like a good argument” right?
    W.W.P. is communist , no?
    If a person was in a communist country, then a job would be a right and a duty of every citizen.
    Everyone contributes to the collective, for the benefit of the collective. The collective keeps everyone fed and healthy or whatever is needed. You can not get fired, but their is little incentive to work for a faceless collective.

    RE The Island “you were the only person there” Then you would have no practical use for money, no reason to work for money. Money would have zero value.
    RE”If you wanted to build a home* on this island, you could do that too.” no you cant , you dont own the land, the boss MAN owns ALL the land. You have to get permission to build first, otherwise you are breaking the law.

    RE”(Employer)They can hire, and that is their choice” … and the “serf” of today can quit and find another job if he likes instead of being a slave. debt bondage keeps the serf working so freedom is limited and maybe an illusion.

    The only reason the employer can hire an employee is from profit. Someone down the line of buying and selling is being robbed, otherwise the employer would be making no profit.

    Capitalists put pollution in the (free) air at no expense. Environmental laws can not be enforced as the Government is owned by the capitalists.
    Communists exploited the planets resource just the same way, as the planet can not complain about the abuse.
    But this is off the topic of jobs.

    • First, communism has failed. Dramatically. And rightfully so. I think it’s pretty despicable. Secondly, this island I speak of is strictly hypothetical. Let’s say, hypothetically, the person on it owns the land. Third, the rest of your comment is off-topic, and I am not sure where you’re going with it.

      For me, it’s a philosophical question. I don’t believe that you have a right to enslavement. If you say you have a right to being employed, it’s claiming ownership over another (the employer).

      • markps2 says:

        So you are saying you(we) have a right to starve? If you can’t find a job, you have no money to buy food and you end up homeless.

        Psychiatry (The Government) claims ownership over the starving mentally ill homeless for their figurative disease.

        In times of war the Government can enact conscription , own you and force you to fight for the common land.

      • Yes, of course. That is on your own volition.

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