Green on the right to life and liberty

"In order then to understand the nature of the state, we must understand the nature of those rights which do not come into being with it but arise out of social relations that exist where a state is not; it being the first, though not the only, office of the state to maintain those rights. They depend for their existence, indeed, on society -- a society of men who recognize each other as isoi kai homoioi [equals], as capable of a common well-being -- but not on society's having assumed the form of a state. They may therefore be treated as claims of the individual without reference to the form of the society which concedes or recognizes them..." -- Principles of Political Obligation, p. 116


  1. Why not property as well? Earlier you quoted Green explaining how a person could have property rights not just in the absence of a state, but even in spite of state action to the contrary.

    Not to say that there is anything special about Lockean rights - Green seems to say that some rights precede the state, but he doesn't explicate them. Could they possibly include something like a living wage, should a society believe that it is in the common interest?

    1. Green doesn't appear to mention "life" or "liberty", so I think that's just Gene's choice of words.


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