Freedom of association along with the freedom to bargain and enter contracts are fundamental rights.
From these fundamental rights, one can derive the theorem that people are free to form associations that bargain for contracts.
I used the mathematical term "theorem" rather than "derived right" as using the same term for the fundamental pricinples and the ideas derived from them leads to confusion.
Treating the derived ideas as if they were fundamental rights can lead to unstable and contradictory systems, which is what we see in the debate about collective bargaining debate taking place in Wisconsin.
During this debate, I've heard many declaring collective bargaining to be a fundamental human right. Such a right is in direct conflict with the other fundamental rights mentioned at the beginning of this post. When the collective bargains, it denies the rights of individuals to bargain. Even worse, those engaged in collective bargaining have a long history of forcing people into associations.
In the classical system of fundamental human rights, people are able to form associations and negotiate. In the modern system of collective bargaining, the collective ends up denying people other fundamental rights.
In mathematics, physics, and classical sciences, thinkers took great care in distinguishing between fundamental principles and derived. In math, one uses terms such as "axioms" and "theorems."
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