What are natural rights (right of nature)? Natural right, usually called “jus natural”, is the freedom of every man to use his own powers at his own discretion to preserve his own nature, that is, his own life, and therefore freedom to do all that he thinks is most appropriate for this.
What is freedom? By freedom, according to the exact meaning of the word, it means the absence of external obstacles that can often deprive a person of part of his power to do what he would like, but cannot interfere with the use of the power left to man according to what is dictated to him by his judgment and reason.
What is the law of nature? The natural right, lex naturalis, is a prescription, or a common rule, found by reason, according to which a person is forbidden to do what is detrimental to his life or that deprives him of the means to preserve it, and neglect what he considers the best way to preserve life.
It is necessary to distinguish between jus and lex – law and law, although the one who writes on this topic usually mixes these concepts, because the right is to do or not to do freedom, whereas the law defines and obliges to this or that member of this alternative. Hence, law and law differ among themselves, as well as commitment and freedom, which are incompatible with the same thing.
In a natural state, everyone has the right to everything. Since the state of man (as stated in the previous chapter) is a state of war of all against all, when everyone is governed by his own mind, and there is nothing that he could not use as a means of salvation from enemies, it follows that in this every person has the right to everything, even the life of every other person. Therefore, as long as everyone retains the right to everything, no person (no matter how strong or wise he is) cannot be sure that he can live all the time that nature usually provides human life. Consequently, the injunction, or general rule, of the mental states that every person must seek peace if he has the hope of achieving it; If he can not reach it, he can use any means that give an advantage in the war.
The basic natural right. The first part of this rule contains the first and basic natural right, stating that we should seek peace and follow it. The second part is the content of natural rights, which amounts to the right to defend oneself by every possible means.
The second natural right. From this basic natural right, according to which people should strive for peace, another law occurs that states that in the case of consent to that, others must agree to give up the right to all things insofar as it is necessary in the interests of peace and self-defense, and be content with such a degree of freedom in relation to other people that he would allow other people to do with himself. For as long as every person holds on to this right – to do whatever he wants, all people will be at war. However, if other people do not want to follow his example and give up this right, then there is no reason for anyone to lose him, for this would mean giving himself up to plunder (which no one is obliged to desire) than to show his willingness to the world. This is the law of the Gospel: do unto others as you would have others do unto you. And this is the law of all people: quod tibi fieri pop vis, alteri ne feceris.
Whether the means by which he intends to use or the action he intends to take to preserve one’s own life and body are necessary or not, everyone must judge on the basis of natural law. After all, if it contradicted the true reason, my right to judge myself for what is dangerous to me, then another would judge this. Therefore, if the other judges what concerns me, then in the same way, because we are all equal in nature, I will judge him. Thus, the true reason, that is, the natural right, gives me an opportunity to judge whether the interests of my security meet someone’s decision or not.
Nature has given everyone the right to everything: that is, in a purely natural state *, namely: before people mutually bound themselves by any treaties, everyone was allowed to do anything in relation to anyone, to own and use everything, then he wanted and could.
* This must be understood in such a way that any action in a purely natural state does not mean an offence to anyone, at any rate to a person. This does not mean that in such a state it is impossible to sin against God or violate natural laws. But the fact is that injustice presupposes the existence of human laws, and they are not in the natural state at all. The truth of the position so understood for the mind reader is sufficiently proved in the immediately preceding paragraphs. But since in some cases the difficulty of confinement makes one forget about assumptions, I want to briefly repeat the proof, to give an opportunity to embrace it with one glance. Everyone has the right to self-preservation. He also has the right to use all the means necessary for this purpose. Necessary is the means, which he himself considers to be so. Consequently, he has the right to do everything and have everything that he himself deems necessary for his safety. And since he judges whether his deed is just or unfair, he is a man himself, and then he recognizes him to be just. Consequently, it is correct to claim that in a purely natural state, etc. If someone claims that what he does not consider important for his safety, he can sin against the laws of nature, as explained in detail in the third chapter. Some people object: if the son kills his father, will he not commit injustice towards him? I answer: in the natural state, there is no concept of a son, for everyone born immediately turns out to be completely dependent on whom he is obliged to preserve his life, that is, his mother, father or anyone who feeds him.