"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What Is A Right?

If there is one thing that can make my blood pressure go up and get me to ranting it is the abuse of the word "right."  That is, in the sense of what a human being is entitled to.  Nowhere is the leftist brainwashing of the government indoctrination system ("public school") and the media, more apparent than in this area.

Ever wonder why there are just three very intangible things listed as rights in the Declaration of Independence?  How many people are aware that in the Bill of Rights, which is a list of the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution, only one,  -- Ahem --,  **AHEM**   only one thing, or inanimate object is referred to as being a right?  Notice that the definition of said article is really only about it's use and not the object itself.  But more about that later.

What is a right?  What's the difference between a right and a privilege? How can we determine this?  When you think of something as being a right, what does that mean?  Isn't it something that you believe that you are owed merely for existing? To put it another way, maybe you think it is something you are entitled to in order to exist. To an undeveloped mind, it would make perfect sense that if you need something in order to survive, it MUST be a right, right? Um, not so fast, Sparky.

 In what should seem silly and outrageous to any thinking person, there are actually people who think that housing is a right. Some people actually think that food is a right.  Some even think that medical care is a right. Such people have only engaged in what Thomas Sowell calls "stage one" thinking.  They have not thought it out completely.   In my essay on Peterson Syndrome I start to delve into how this came about, and it goes to the lack of education via debate and logic.  In this case the most useful tool in the logic box is reductio ad absurdum.  This means reducing an argument to it's most logical base.  We exercise the concept of "if - then" until we exhaust it to the conclusion, until there is no more "then."

I started getting the idea about this from seeing Joe Huffman's "Jews in the attic" test.  He developed this test for deciding whether or not a law could be considered Constitutional.   To put it simply the way I understand it, imagine you are in Nazi controlled Europe and you are trying to rescue Jews from the holocaust.  If a law was passed that directly interfered with your ability to protect those Jews or try to get them to safety, the law fails the test.  Go study it for yourself, and think about having to be in such positions. It may be coming sooner than you think.

Maybe you've seen the TV show "Survivor."  This was another piece of the puzzle for developing my rights test.  It didn't take long for me to grow disgusted with the show.  Survivor was a misnomer. However, the show did teach me a lot about human behavior.  "Reality" TV it was not.  The producers of the show manipulated everything, all in the effort to create tension, controversy and ultimately, ratings.  Let's really exercise our minds by thinking about what would happen if a small group of people were suddenly thrust into a genuine survival situation.  Plane crash in a remote area of South America or Canada.  Shipwrecked on a remote island.  Doesn't matter.  But there is no government, no rules, no infrastructure, no electricity, no shelter.  Doesn't matter if there are three of you or thirty of you.  All that matters now is survival.

This is where you had better hope and pray that the strong male(s) in the group have character and conscience, otherwise you'd better have enough survival skills to move out on your own and do your best. That goes double if you are female.

Now, think about what rights you have.  Do you have a right to food? Only if you hunt it down and kill it, or find it and dig it up or collect it. That applies to you as an individual or a group.  Do you have a right to warmth?  Only if you can figure out how to start a fire and maintain it.  The wood will not gather itself.  Do you have a right to shelter?  Only if you want to figure out how to build it or find a cave.  Do you have a right to a job?  Are you starting to see the picture here?

Let's say the group of "survivors" is about 20 or so in size.  It is a fairly diverse group when it comes to employment, vocation, education, etc. Why, there is even a physician in the mix. Does that mean you have a right to medical care?  There is no hospital, no beds, no medical equipment.  Only the knowledge that exists in that well-trained brain of that lady who spent the better part of her life, giving up any "life" as most people know it to acquire the knowledge she needed to be called "doctor."  But now, your little group is in a situation where everybody has to work hard to do just the most basic things to gather scarce food and water and try to maintain warmth and create shelter.  What about her rights?  Are you going to force her, just because of her knowledge, to have to care for anyone in the group who needs medical attention?  Any time that she sacrifices for that, instead of gathering or hunting or working on the shelter or gathering wood, takes away from the benefits of the whole group, let alone herself.  How are you going to compensate her?

Of course it is beneficial if everyone works together and finds a way to divide the labor and make the best use of everyone's skills. But it has to be on a voluntary basis.  Respect for each person's individual rights would be imperative. The cold, hard truth that each person would have to come to grips with, is that a right is only something that does not require any other person to have to sacrifice any of his own rights.

Private property has to be a fundamental right in order for any society to thrive.  That which you work to earn has to be respected by all the members of a community. This right was understood well by the founding fathers. It is understood from the main body of the Constitution.  It went all the way back to the Magna Carta, and had long been a part of English common law.

The bottom line is this: Nothing that requires that another person give up involuntarily, a part of his life, either in actual time or property earned, can be considered a right by someone else.  Go think on that.  We are quickly approaching a time in history when the looters are going to have to get their own hands dirty doing the actual looting and risk the consequences, rather than electing henchmen to use the power of government to do it for them.

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