Hence, the good
is the true generic idea of the right
. This alone can interpret the right
in any case.
Therefore, although man, in virtue of his constitution as a pure intelligence, has the power
to do wrong
he has not, and never can have, the right
to do wrong.
For wrong is the negative of right; and any thing, whether attribute, quality, opinion, doctrine, or act — every thing, whether moral or physical — to be right
, must be of the nature of the good
: all else is wrong, not right
. And it farther follows, that the only true subjective right
which any man has to exercise his power of self-control, is in doing that which is good, and not in doing that which is evil.
2. The natural rights
of man are,
First--The essential good in his possession by natural endowment, and which is therefore inalienable.
And, Second--The necessary conditions, whatever they may be, of the operation of the inherent good as an active principle.
Some of these are inalienable, and others are alienable.
To this view of natural rights the common usage of language conforms.
3. The acquired rights
of man are, such good, in the form of benefits or privileges, as results to him from the performance of duty.