Property vs human rights

It seems that civilisational developments have brought us close to the idea that human rights are the most valuable rights of man. I do not want to question this assessment. But I must ask a question: Are there any rights that would overcome human rights?

Suppose you look at rights from an evolutionary point of view. In that case, there is one right that should not be questioned: the right to “ownership”, to exercise sovereignty over my own body (and mind), where my means any living body, that is, any bunch of atoms performing basic actions of our extended phenotype, like a painting created by our hands and imagination.

Those who do not value property rights cannot exercise human rights.

Where does the confusion about human rights come from? As always: from a confusion of mind and reasoning. We tend to ascribe rights to “humans” as if “humans” denotes one human being. When we say that every human being should have his/her rights, that is to be taken seriously. The problem arises when we shift this value of rights from a singular person to a collective unit of “people” with no face, no shared values, no common interests. When this happens, we begin to build collectivist, totalitarian thinking because there is no such entity that would have sovereignty over people.

We do have entities that are bigger than a single person. But only if you find an authorised body and person who has sovereignty over that body they are authorised to discuss the rights and duties of that representative body (a person). The government of a state is held responsible or praised for waging war against another state, but not all the people living in that state. In this case, the “subject” of the rights is comprehensible. In the case of “human rights”, the subject of these rights and duties is not understandable. Therefore, the goal should not be humanism but homonism, not rights in the impersonal body of humans, but in the body of the individual homo.

Andrej Drapal


  1. I really like this argument. Strong! But again it fails on the question of volontary act. If there is a publisher, that I agree that he will publish my work and pay me for the work, that part of me (my work) volontarily becomes his property. My extended phenotype becomes a part of his extended phenotype. Implication on slavery in your argument is thus a false one.nn1

  2. IF

    “all that was produced by our work is our property”

    AND IF

    “all property bought by our money that was collected as a result of our work, is equally our extended phenotype”


    we buy other people (for example)


    other people are also our extended phenotype (property).

    TRUE or FALSE?

  3. Agents produce extended phenotypes that enter the market, but not humans themselves. That is why slaves were “owned” by their masters, but they were not really owned. So your third “if” is false.

  4. Great post Andrej, but i need to ask. What is your definition of the homonism you are mentioning at the end?

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