Civility is the ability of a society to grant natural rights to an individual without requiring the individual to secure the rights by fighting for it. A right is a natural right if a person can enjoy it by living alone in his or her own land, receiving provisions to live from the nature. The following are examples of natural rights:
- To have a place to live. However, shelter and sewage are not rights, but privileges.
- To have access to food and clean water.
- To be unharmed by another person, including the harm caused by search, seizure, and arrest.
- Freedom of speech. However, a person is not entitled to an audience.
Moreover, some states also grant additional political rights as civil rights, for example the right to vote or the right to run for government office. Political rights are not natural rights, but persons in a society that do not have these rights are at a disadvantage that leads to the erosion of their natural rights. Hence, civility also considers the distribution of political rights equally among the members of a society.
Various degrees of civility can be differentiated by how much it takes for an individual to secure these rights.