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Natural Law and Natural Rights: Bastiat Vindicated


  • Rasmussen Douglas B.

    (St. John’s University)


Bastiat claims that the individual rights to life, liberty, and property are natural rights. Further, he claims that these natural rights are a matter of natural law and are not mere conventions. However, he never offers a detailed account of the connection between natural law and natural rights. By outlining a neo-Aristotelian theory of natural law that consists of two polesan individualized vision of human flourishing and a conception of individual rights as metanormative principlesit is argued that Bastiats core insight is correct. Individual rights are the proper political expression of a natural law approach to ethics. They determine the ultimate purpose of human law.Bastiat affirme que les droits individuels à la vie, à la liberté et à la propriété sont des droits naturels. De plus, il envisage ces droits naturels comme relevant du Droit Naturel plutôt quétant de simples conventions. Cependant, il noffre nulle part une explication détaillée des liens entre le Droit Naturel et les droits naturels. En mettant en avant une théorie néo-aristotélicienne du Droit Naturel composée de deux pôles une version individualisée de lépanouissement humain et une conception des droits individuels en tant que principes métanormatifs cet article soutient que lidée centrale de Bastiat est juste. Les droits individuels sont lexpression politique adéquate dune approche de léthique en termes de Droit Naturel. Ils déterminent la finalité ultime de la loi humaine.

Suggested Citation

  • Rasmussen Douglas B., 2001. "Natural Law and Natural Rights: Bastiat Vindicated," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-18, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:11:y:2001:i:2:n:6

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