Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Big Myth

I have a question.

What are your rights?

I have another question.

Who granted you those rights?

This is an interesting discussion. Luckily for me I have a blog in which I can expand upon the topic. And luckily for you, you can comment on. So let’s see how this goes.

To the first question. In this country we have a Bill of Rights, consisting of amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They spell out such rights as freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, to avoid false imprisonment, and so on. And they are to reflect the intent of the founding fathers.

But read that last paragraph again, specifically the sentence that the Bill of Rights were amendments to the Constitution. In other words, our founding fathers determined that clarification was needed as to what our rights as Americans were.

Which leads to the second question. And that answer is pretty simple – our founding fathers, though ratification and subsequent amendments, granted we Americans those rights. In other words, they came from those in power. From men.

This is a key point; because many believe our rights are ‘God-given’. They are not. They are Government-given. Look at it this way – if they were God-Given, then what does God have against North Koreans, since they have virtually no rights? Does God really believe that Americans should have the right of freedom of speech but North Koreans shouldn’t?

Bottom line – stop invoking God as it regards your rights. He has no part in it.

So hooray for America, right? We have been granted certain freedoms by our government, so what a wonderful place to live and be a citizen of, right?

Well sure. Compared to North Korea.

But American history is loaded with tinkering and downright ignoring of our supposed ‘rights’. Couple of cases in point – Google ‘Japanese Internment 1942’ and see what comes up. Our government imprisoned Americans who only had the misfortune of having Japanese parents. And since it was a time of war against Japan, our government felt an apparent – but never proven – issue of national security was an overriding ideal than false imprisonment.

So the protection against false imprisonment isn’t a “right”. It’s conditional.

Next. Google ‘Patriot Act’. You will find, that in the aftermath of 9/11 our government felt the threat of terrorism overrode the citizen’s right to privacy. They could – and can – wiretap your phone calls without your knowledge. And, like the Japanese Americans in 1942, you can be put in jail over what those wiretaps uncover. Indefinitely, by they way, since they can label you a 'Enemy Combatant' (you gotta love these labels), which through the Patriot Act rescinds your right to a speedy trial, or even any trial. You can sit and rot in jail for as long as the government feels you should be there. There's still a bunch of them at Guantanamo Bay.

So the right to privacy is conditional. As is a right to justice or a speedy trial.

The right to dissent? Google ‘Kent State University.’

And I haven’t even mentioned slavery, which was legal in this country for its first 90 years and which took a Civil War and a proclamation of emancipation by Abraham Lincoln. So our revered founding fathers thought that you had rights – if you were white. If you were a black slave, you were property. Subhuman. 

So spare me how wonderful our founding fathers were. They were a group of politicians that, through majority vote (not God), decreed us some privileges that needed amending, and, as our history has shown, can be revoked. And their ilk throughout our nation’s history have repeatedly brought our so-called ‘rights’ into play, and have decided, at times, we should not have some of them.

Therefore I offer this: We have no rights. 

Instead we have a malleable collection of privileges that are fluid, negotiable, and change based on whatever is happening at the moment, given to us by people in power who can change their minds when they see fit.

Now. Let’s get back to “God-given” rights. What exactly are those? And do not say life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, because I will invoke North Korea again – they are every bit as human as us but do not enjoy those rights.

No, the apparent ‘God-given’ rights have to be something more basic. The right to food? Nope. People are starving. The right to shelter? Nope. Homeless people. The right to live? Well, that’s closer, but millions have been killed in wars in ‘the name of God.’ So apparently God, or more accurately, those that invoke his wisdom sometimes believe we do not even have the right to live. The 9/11 terrorists certainly believed that.

So I would now offer this. There are no God-given rights.

There is, as I see only one right we have. Only one inalienable truth that cannot be rescinded by law or man or nature.

The right to die.

It is the only thing I can think of that will happen to everyone, and no amount of government fiat can change it.

Try and revoke that, politicians. 

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