Since only an individual man can possess rights, the expression “individual
rights” is a redundancy (which one has to use for purposes of clarification in
today’s intellectual chaos). But the expression “collective rights” is a
contradiction in terms.
Any group or “collective,” large or small, is only a number of individuals. A
group can have no rights other than the rights of its individual members.
A group, as such, has no rights. A man can neither acquire new rights by
joining a group nor lose the rights which he does possess. The principle of
individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations.
Any group that does not recognize this principle is not an association, but a
gang or a mob . . . .
The notion of “collective rights” (the notion that rights belong to groups, not
to individuals) means that “rights” belong to some men, but not to others—that
some men have the “right” to dispose of others in any manner they please—and
that the criterion of such privileged position consists of numerical
The notion that “Anything society does is right because society chose to do
it,” is not a moral principle, but a negation of moral principles and the
banishment of morality from social issues.