06/07/2011 · Rights and duties are inseparable
They are two sides of the same coin
If it were not superfluous, History would afford sufficient confirmation of the truth we would establish, and exhibit unmistakably the close and invariable connection that exists between national morality and respect for the female sex. The manifest inference we would derive, however, from these considerations on the institution of Matrimony is this: that the effects which it produces are as various as the characters of the persons concerned, and that, as a union so closely allied with the very nature of the respective individuals, it must be attended with the most hurtful consequences when the State attempts to regulate it by law, or through the force of its institutions to make it repose on anything save simple inclination. When we remember, moreover, that the State can only contemplate the final results in such regulations—as, for instance, Population, Early Training, etc.—we shall be still more ready to admit the justice of this conclusion. It may reasonably be argued that a solicitude for such objects conducts to the same results as the highest solicitude for the most beautiful development of the inner man. For, after careful observation, it has been found that the uninterrupted union of one man with one woman is most conducive to population; and it is likewise undeniable that no other union springs from true, natural, harmonious love. And further, it may be observed that such love leads to no other or different results than those very relations which law and custom tend to establish, such as the procreation of children, family training, community of living, participation in the common goods, the management of external affairs by the husband, and the care of domestic arrangements by the wife. But the radical error of such a policy appears to be, that the law whereas such a relation cannot mould itself according to external arrangements, but depends wholly on inclination; and wherever coercion or guidance comes into collision with inclination, they divert it still further from the proper path. Wherefore it appears to me that the State should not only loosen the bonds in this instance, and leave ampler freedom to the citizen, but, if I may apply the principles above stated (now that I am not speaking of matrimony in general, but of one of the many injurious consequences arising from restrictive State institutions, which are in this one especially noticeable), that it should entirely withdraw its active solicitude from the institution of Matrimony, and both generally and in its particular modifications should rather leave it wholly to the free choice of the individuals, and the various contracts they may enter into with respect to it. I should not be deterred from the adoption of this principle by the fear that all family relations might be disturbed, or their manifestation in general impeded; for although such an apprehension might be justified by considerations of particular circumstances and localities, it could not be fairly entertained in an inquiry into the nature of Men and States in general. For experience frequently convinces us that just where law has imposed no fetters, morality most surely binds; the idea of external coercion is one entirely foreign to an institution which, like Matrimony, reposes only on inclination and an inward sense of duty; and the results of such coercive institutions do not at all correspond to the designs in which they originate.
Rights are certain privileges granted by the state
From the same principles it may be collected that all such pompous theories of morals, however seemingly diversified, yet amount ultimately to the same thing, being all built upon the same false bottom of innate notions; and from the history of this science we may see that they have received no manner of improvement (as indeed by the supposition of their innateness they become incapable of any) from the days of Plato to our own; but must always take the main point, the ground of obligation, for granted: which is in truth the shortest and safest way of proceeding for such self-taught philosophers, and saves a deal of trouble in seeking reasons for what they advance, where none are to be found. Mr. Locke went a far different way to work, at the very entrance on his Essay, pointing out the true origin of all our passions and affections, i. e. sensitive pleasure and pain; and accordingly directing us to the proper principle and end of virtue, private happiness, in each individual; as well as laying down the adequate rule and only solid ground of moral obligation, the divine will. From whence also it may well be concluded that moral propositions are equally capable of certainty, and that such certainty is equally reducible to strict demonstration here as in other sciences, since they consist of the very same kind of ideas [viz. general abstract ones, the true and only ground of all general knowledge]: provided always that the terms be once clearly settled, in which lies the chief difficulty, and are constantly applied (as surely they may be) with equal steadiness and precision: which was undoubtedly Mr. Locke’s meaning in that assertion of his which drew upon him so many solicitations to set about such a systematic demonstration of morals.