What is a “Right,” Anyway?

This post won’t be on news of the day, but it will be on a political matter, one that perennially pops up.

Every once in a while it’s good to discuss/review some of the foundational issues; it keeps one politically “centered.”

It’s especially important to review/discuss the sorts of things that the Opposition wants to obfuscate or hijack. They do that to try to destroy the concept; it’s very hard to think clearly about something without the appropriate concepts in place, and they love to muddy thought processes, because clear thinking lets one see through their crap.

(Clear thinking is our ally, which is one reason I fight against muddy thinking by people on my side. It’s not the usual “we’re better than this” argument that needs to be ditched because we’re now at war, it’s the fact that we’re laying down our best weapon by engaging in the behavior that they do, and fighting on the turf they chose.)

So today, let’s pick up the question of what a “right” is.  I’m going to be talking about the basic rights, not the procedural rights that come into play when someone sues you or the government prosecutes you.  Those, of course largely depend on the procedure, whereas the basic rights, we tend to regard as absolutes, inherent in the human condition regardless of how our courts work.

We all know that the Left thinks there is a right to healthcare, a right to child care, a right to an education, and even a right to a basic living income. We disagree, of course. But why? It’s important to know why this is wrong.

The other day I saw a comment on the daily thread, and it implied, I believe, the <em>wrong answer</em>. I wrote a response to it, which apparently no one noticed. (No one “liked” it, and no one took me to task for it either, which means no one hated it. 😀 )

Here’s the original comment I responded to (at https://wqth.wordpress.com/2019/02/28/dear-maga-20190228-open-topic/comment-page-1/#comment-85981)

no, not inconvenient–it’s a RIGHT (according to Lizzy) to have government provide childcare–what could go wrong?
hmmm…which number is that in the Bill of Rights Liz?

(“Lizzy” is Elizabeth “Spreading Bull” Warren a/k/a Fauxcahontas.)

I find this line of thinking–that it’s not a right if it’s not listed in the Bill of Rights–very dangerous for two reasons.

1–What if the writers of the BOR didn’t think of everything? The list of rights could be overly narrowly construed because of that. For instance, if there’s a right to privacy (and I’ve seen good arguments both ways, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that there is), it’s not in the Bill of Rights, and someone could try to deny that it’s a right on that basis.

(Note: Someone might say it’s not a constitutional right, and they’d be correct. But then the question still remains: Does that “someone” believe it’s therefore not a right at all?)

2–Ironically, the writers of the BOR did realize they hadn’t listed everything. So they wrote the Ninth Amendment. Here it is:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In other words, the Bill of Rights itself explicitly states that something might be a right even though it doesn’t have a number in the Bill of Rights. So there you have it: It would be a mistake to assume that only rights specifically named in the Constitution are rights.

The Ninth Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to counter an argument that many made against having a Bill of Rights: That listing some rights might be taken as an implication that the government could violate any rights it wanted as long as it didn’t violate those specific rights.  Meaning it could run rampant everywhere else.

And you’ve got to admit, they did have a point–it does seem as if the government overreaches with impunity everywhere else; it’s certainly not actually limited to the powers expressly delegated to it in Article I, Section 8 or anywhere else in the Constitution. That’s largely because the SCOTUS generally hasn’t yanked back on the leash unless there was a BOR-listed-rights violation.

The Ninth was an attempt to address this argument, and it is a sleeping giant of constitutional law. If the SCOTUS ever decides to pay attention to it, well–it will be interesting to see what they come up with. One would hope they use it as a meat cleaver, getting rid of a lot of the crap the government does to us, putting it back inside the bounds of the expressly delegated powers.

But the Ninth has its hazards, too: it leaves the door open to inventing bogus rights, then claiming that there’s no argument against them, because of the 9th amendment. I’m sure everyone can think of a favorite example of a bogus right that could be brought in this way. This is very likely the sort of thing that was on the mind of the person who wrote the comment I quoted.

To sum up: It’s clear that the Founders recognized there were more rights than in the Bill of Rights, but since they didn’t specify them, the door is wide open to invent bogus rights. We shouldn’t rely on the BOR “list” to be complete, but we don’t want to let people tack things onto it willy-nilly, either.

How to resolve this?

This is why it’s very important to remain grounded on the true definition of what a “right” is. The Left would love people to lose track of it precisely so they can invent new pseudo-rights, and also to deny the ones that really exist.

But even if we come up with a good definition of a “right,” one that allows for freedom of conscience (speech, religion), freedom to have firearms, etc., but does NOT include “right to health care,” the Left has a counter-argument. To them “rights” are “social constructs,” arbitrary decisions by society which society can decide to countermand whenever it feels like. To the Left, there’s no objective definition of what a “right” is, because rights don’t really exist, so the concept can mean whatever you want it to mean.

So it’s important to be able to defend (even if only in your own mind) against this, to know that your definition of a “right” is objectively correct, not just some arbitrary preference on your part. If you buy into the social construct theory, then your only defense is to make sure they don’t have the power to make the decisions for the rest of us, because once they get that power then you have no choice but to agree that the list they come up with is the correct one, at least this decade.

I’m not going to go into justifying the definition this time around, mainly because I strongly suspect everyone here would disagree with my justification. I’m going to take the definition as a given. (Of course, there’s a potential problem here: because our justifications are different, our definitions might be subtly different too.)

So here it is, my favorite definition of a right.

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a person’s freedom of action in a social context.

Let’s note a few key things.

A) It says a man. A right applies to an individual, not to any group.

B) It covers freedom of action. Let’s unpack this a bit more. A right concerns a potential action to be taken by an individual. What that means is, if someone has a right to take an action, they can take it, without compulsion or interference by others. The basis of this is that the basic right is to life, but one must take action to sustain their own life; thus the right to action is a derivative of the right to life.

But note, this is only a right to act on one’s own judgment; it does not impose any obligation on others to take positive action, it only requires them to not interfere.

This is why there is no “right to health care.” Because if there were, you’d have a right to force someone to act to provide you with that health care. Any proposed right that requires someone to take positive action on your behalf, or provide resources to you, cannot be a real right.  If there were such a right, it would absolutely interfere with people’s real rights to enjoy the fruits of their own labor, it would turn everyone into a slave.

This is why the Left is not just trying to invent bogus rights, but trying to get rid of real ones as well–those real rights conflict with their bogus ones.

Even actual rights are not immune to attempts to contaminate them.  To take an example that irritates me still, “Free Speech” is about being able to speak your mind, it is not about someone having to provide you with a microphone, or an internet site, or a printing press, or even a soapbox, to do so. “Freedom of Religion,” similarly; you can practice your religion; you cannot legitimately force me to pay it either lip service or monetary support.

Of course a right has limits beyond just “don’t force someone else to pay for it,” but those limits are usually pretty obvious, direct damage to others, interfering with their rights, and so on. Your right generally ends when you start violating the rights of others, or cause them physical harm, or intrude on their property. I can speak freely, but I cannot commit libel. I can bear arms, but I can’t go around shooting people or threatening to do so, even if, by my judgment, it might make sense to rob a bank to go buy a Mercedes.

So now you can use this definition as a litmus test for a right covered by the Ninth. Is hiking on my own property a right? It surely is; it’s an action I am undertaking, it’s not requiring anything out of anyone else (other than that they keep off my property and let me walk),  and it doesn’t harm anyone else. It’s not specifically listed in the Bill of Rights, but it is a real right, and the Ninth Amendment legitimately covers it.

But if any Leftist schmuck tries to tell you health care is a right, you can call bullshit; and if he tries to slide it in under the Ninth Amendment, you can, for the same reason, call bullshit.

101 thoughts on “What is a “Right,” Anyway?

  1. Leftist liberal judges and legislators and activist organizations – since the 1960s – have really pushed the envelope re: invented RIGHTS.

    They have ruled that people have the RIGHT to burn the flag as a means of free speech.
    They have ruled that people have a RIGHT to kill unborn children if they want to do so.
    They have ruled that people have a RIGHT to pursue any sexual feelings, preferences, sense of identity and all identities should be validated. In addition, any costs to achieve those ends, should be paid by government/taxpayers.

    These same activist groups have pushed to tried to promote ‘child s3xual RIGHTS’ and lower the age of consent below 12.

    Some states/courts giving ‘lesbian’ mothers the RIGHT to use surgery and hormones to turn their adopted boy children into girls.

    Evil never stops.

    Liked by 13 people

      1. That is a misinterpretation of the 13th Amendment, by design, of course. SCOTUS cases have already established the requirement for this but no-one has had the balls to stand up and do something about it.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve got partial quibbles with some of these.

      As much as I despise those who want to do so in a disrespectful way (you’re supposed to dispose of worn flags by burning them, so not all burning flags is bad), I do think they have a right to do it–it imposes no harm on anyone, as long as the flag is one they bought and paid for (don’t take the one on my flagpole down and burn it). Mind you I will likely exercise my right to tell these people exactly what I think of them.

      As for the homosexuality–I see it largely as a matter between consenting adults. That leaves out pedophilia (where one of the parties is not a consenting adult), and that leaves out forcing me to pay for tranny surgery, both of those being real rights violations in the guise of an invented right. But straight-out buggery between two consenting adults? I’ve no business stopping it. But by the same token, I don’t have to approve of any of it either, and I will feel free to call it buggery as the mood strikes.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. They never stop with mere tolerance, they want to propagandize, recruit kids and stop/punish disapproval.

        Then there’s the violence, addictions, diseases, etc. among that population.

        It’s not healthy, happy, holy – or – normal. Science, statistics (medical, police, mental health) and Scripture agree on that.

        It’s sin and sin always brings harm and sin is always malignant cancer. Once you break or contradict the laws/word of GOD, the consequences are always negative.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. I don’t deny it’s self destructive behavior. But that doesn’t give me leave to intrude and stop it. I’m talking about the actual buggery.

          They have no right to demand I approve of it. I suppose they can propagandize (but not at my expense), since that’s just them voicing their opinion. “Recruitement” would depend on the circumstances–again, not at my expense, and certainly not in a school I’m being forced to pay for!

          Liked by 7 people

          1. Evidence of my point – the Catholic Church, military (male/male assaults now outnumber male/female assaults) and scouts (many expensive lawsuits/assaults, yet they still went forward with infiltrating/indoctrinating the organization).

            Heart wrenching. It’s just not a healthy lifestyle. I’ve watched those I know reap the consequences.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. An actual assault is a violation of the victim’s rights…and it doesn’t matter WHY or whether the two people have the same “parts” or not. In and of itself it’s not a reason to try to forbid something that happens between consenting adults–it’s a reason to put the assaulter in prison.

              Liked by 4 people

              1. Good point. However, many of those assignations that start out ‘consensual’, end up in assault, violence, even murder, due to pain, injury, disagreements, sometimes about payment, etc. I can name a number of those among acquaintances, in the news, in my small county. Then there are the diseases. It’s just a high risk lifestyle.

                Liked by 4 people

              2. Yes. Look at the very young teen kids in Conyers who blew the CDC stats with epidemic proportion STDs…and the swinging elders at the swanky FL retirement center. However, there’s always a ‘bi-sexual’ getting the STD ball rolling, so to speak. Same with the AIDS epidemics in Africa.

                Liked by 2 people

      2. Agree with you on these issues. I am fully aware that homosexuality has a variety of causes and is NOT “normal” by any stretch of the imagination. But there should be NO application of religious law against homosexuality and that is why far too many people want something done about the issue.

        Consenting adults have the right to privacy described in the 4th Amendment of the Constitution and that includes privacy in their own dwellings. If no-one is being harmed, it is no-one else’s business. Neither hetero- nor homosexuals should advertise their sexual proclivities in public, IMO. It is exceedingly unseemly but people like to shock others, unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. To be sure, a lot of things that GA/FL has highlighted are indeed NOT consenting adult matters, but that doesn’t justify trying to ban the things that are, whether or not there’s a high statistical association between the two.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great stuff.

    The idea that “fake rights” imply ways to infringe on the rights of others seems key. Using this, we can really rip up these fake rights by the roots and throw them on the trash heap of sneaky socialist stealth dictatorship.

    All of these FAKE “rights” are quite literally designed to create a “right” of the government to impose upon the individual.

    And WHERE did such extremely bogus “fake rights” first appear?

    That’s right……

    THE SOVIET UNION

    That would be primarily “Russians”, we must explain to the Democrat Fake Russophobes, and their NeverTrump Real Russophobe “allies”.

    So liddle Teddy “ChiCom Infiltrator” Lieu is basically snuggling up to OLD RUSSIAN VALUES.

    COMMUNIST values.

    “Mmmmmmm-hmmmmmmm.”

    Oh, yeah. Not a surprise.

    Soviet Democrats. The “new left” is simply the “old left” in a new victim country.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Roosevelt’s four freedoms are a mix, he’s using valid ones to sneak invalid ones in under the radar.

      1) Freedom of Speech — valid–provided, of course you’re not expecting someone to pay your expenses doing so.
      2) Freedom of Worship — same as above.
      3) Freedom from Want — very much BOGUS–this is an assertion of a “right” to be supported by others.
      4) Freedom from Fear — what, precisely, did he mean by this? Fear of what? Fear of socialism? Fear of not getting the car you want? Fear of Hitlary? I could go with some of these but not others.

      There was a more recent president or presidential candidate (I can’t remember who, but it was earlier than 1970) who listed a whole bunch of bogus rights; the first two or three were fairly innocuous if you interpreted them one way, the rest of the list got worse and worse–the first two were clearly meant to draw the reader in. I’m going to have to research that in print, my google fu is failing me.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Steve–So JW -James posted this today! The right to wear MAGA !!! Ya think we need to get courts involved in this? It’s getting ridiculous!

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Steve, think this is a good post. You did mention group rights–there is freedom of assembly. Also, regarding privacy, there is the 4th amendment. Realize you are aware of these things, just thought I’d point them out. I think IV amendment is violated all the time.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. The Fourth covers the *government* snooping on you; it doesn’t necessarily cover the peeping tom looking at you from a thousand feet away with a 4 inch telescope.

      The first amendment looks, at first, like a “grab bag” amendment, listing a bunch of seemingly unrelated things that maybe each deserved their own listing…but if you look at it, every one of them is a manifestation of your freedom of conscience, even the one about assembly.

      Liked by 7 people

  5. YOUR RIGHTS end at the TIP of MY NOSE…

    The communist idea of ‘rights’ are based on THEFT. They want to take your property/earnings at the POINT OF A GUN and give it to someone else, mainly themselves. Marx just dressed up feudalism in a fancy ‘new philosophy’ stolen from Ancient Spartan Communism.

    “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s idea of guaranteed jobs with “family-sustaining” wages” does not mention the COROLLARY, Fabian co-founder George Bernard Shaw does.

    KILLING THOSE “UNFIT TO LIVE”
    “The moment we face it frankly we are driven to the conclusion that the community has a right to put a price on the right to live in it … If people are fit to live, let them live under decent human conditions. If they are not fit to live, kill them in a decent human way. Is it any wonder that some of us are driven to prescribe the lethal chamber as the solution for the hard cases which are at present made the excuse for dragging all the other cases down to their level, and the only solution that will create a sense of full social responsibility in modern populations?”

    Source: George Bernard Shaw, Prefaces (London: Constable and Co., 1934), p. 296.

    “Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well.”

    George Bernard Shaw: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928, pg. 470

    Sure sounds like the way a farmer treats his livestock OR his SLAVES.

    I wonder just how many young folk would be so happy with AOC if they realized ” guaranteed jobs” actually means a FORCED LABOR SYSTEM like in the Soviet Union.

    The Soviet Union: Achieving full employment

    Between 1957 and 1961, so called ‘antiparasite laws’ were adopted in most of the USSR. These measures were to force everyone to have a ‘socially useful work’, and noncompliers were punished with 2-10 years of forced labour….

    Under the (1976) constitution, citizens had the right to work (i.e. to guaranteed employment and pay in accordance with the quantity and quality of their work, and not below the state-established minimum), including the right to choose their trade or profession, type of job and work in accorance with their inclinations, abilities, training and education, albeit subject to the caveat of taking into account the needs of society. On the other hand, it was the duty of and a matter of honour for every able-bodied citizen to work conscientiously in his/her chosen, socially useful occupation, and strictly to observe work discipline. Socially useful work and its results determined a person’s status in society. Evasion of socially useful work was incompatible with the principles of socialist society […]

    Sort of makes you wonder exactly WHERE AOC got her ‘idea’ from for guaranteed employment…

    Liked by 11 people

  6. I actually think you answer your own question:

    just because a right exists, does not mean that one can be forced to pay for or provide the venue or service.

    There is also a reciprocal right to refuse service.

    However, when it comes to health care, anyway, while the government should not be able to force us to pay for someone else to receive it, the government also cannot prevent us from seeking it, and receiving it if the service is offered by a practitioner. In fact, the government would be compelled to defend the seeker and the practitioner under our system if the service is legal. That does not mean that the government has to be involved other than defending the “right” to provide or receive the service.

    It’s a tangled knot, TBH. The problem came in when medicine ceased being a charitable service, and waded into compulsory territory.

    Liked by 8 people

      1. When the govt forced Hospital Emergency Rooms to treat anyone who walks in the door…it opened that can of worms.

        It invented ‘the right to be served’.
        It invented ‘the right to healthcare’.

        And…
        It destroyed ‘the right to refuse service’.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Actually the right to refuse service died long before that, in other (non-medical) contexts.

          But aside from that minor thing, you’re absolutely correct. *Forcing* emergency rooms to treat absolutely anyone who walked through the door, even a known deadbeat, essentially forced *us* to pay their medical bills.

          And now, the fact that we *must* pay for it is used as an excuse to require people to modify their own self-destructive behavior, which otherwise they’d have the perfect right to engage in. Because now WE must pay for the consequences of the behavior.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. It’s a sneaky way to take over our lives.
            Total control.
            That is the ultimate goal of the SoComs.

            I am convinced that Property Taxes are another way that ‘they’ are trying to achieve that Total Control.

            How do they take over all the land?
            They raise property taxes so high that people can no longer afford to own their own land.

            High property taxes also cause Rent to go up.
            This is why there is such a homeless problem in so many leftist-controlled areas.

            This is an insidious problem that is slowly ticking away like a time bomb.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Even a property tax that isn’t hiked can be problematic, because it can still go up with your property value. So if you’ve paid off your house but it’s in an area that suddenly got fashionable, you can be priced out in a hurry. Some states rely on property tax (rather than income or sales) and those amounts are horrific.

              Of the three major tax types (income, property, and sales), I find the sales tax to be least obnoxious. Income tax is very intrusive to the individual, and can force them to sell half of an inheritance to pay the taxes on it.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Yes, I agree…sales tax is the way to go.

                Property Tax predates the Income Tax.

                I recently watched an old episode of ‘Little House on the Prairie’.
                [Never really watched that series before.]

                The property tax went up on everyone in that county…and the little town of Walnut Grove went bankrupt.
                Even the wealthiest residents went under.

                The entire community had to just abandon their properties and move away.
                Couldn’t sell…no one was buying.

                The town became a ghost town.

                I wonder how many times that happened in real life?

                Like I said, there is a time bomb ticking away with Property Taxes.
                And it’s happening under the radar.

                Liked by 2 people

        1. It’s frightening how many commie policies have been implemented so long ago they’re now considered part of the American Way.

          Public education isn’t necessarily “communist” but can certainly be taken over by them and used as a tool to control the masses. That’s easiest for them if they already control the government that owns the schools, but of course the other way is to infiltrate the system and use it for mind control *before* they have the government in their control, which is what happened here.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. http://www.libertyzone.com/Communist-Manifesto-Planks.html

            The 10 PLANKS stated in the Communist Manifesto and some of their American counterparts are…

            1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rents of land to public purposes.
            Americans do these with actions such as the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1868), and various zoning, school & property taxes. Also the Bureau of Land Management (Zoning laws are the first step to government property ownership)

            2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
            Americans know this as misapplication of the 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 1913, The Social Security Act of 1936.; Joint House Resolution 192 of 1933; and various State “income” taxes. We call it “paying your fair share”.

            3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
            Americans call it Federal & State estate Tax (1916); or reformed Probate Laws, and limited inheritance via arbitrary inheritance tax statutes.

            4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
            Americans call it government seizures, tax liens, Public “law” 99-570 (1986); Executive order 11490, sections 1205, 2002 which gives private land to the Department of Urban Development; the imprisonment of “terrorists” and those who speak out or write against the “government” (1997 Crime/Terrorist Bill); or the IRS confiscation of property without due process. Asset forfeiture laws are used by DEA, IRS, ATF etc…).

            5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
            Americans call it the Federal Reserve which is a privately-owned credit/debt system allowed by the Federal Reserve act of 1913. All local banks are members of the Fed system, and are regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) another privately-owned corporation. The Federal Reserve Banks issue Fiat Paper Money and practice economically destructive fractional reserve banking.

            6. Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State.
            Americans call it the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated through the ICC act of 1887, the Commissions Act of 1934, The Interstate Commerce Commission established in 1938, The Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Executive orders 11490, 10999, as well as State mandated driver’s licenses and Department of Transportation regulations.

            7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
            Americans call it corporate capacity, The Desert Entry Act and The Department of Agriculture… Thus read “controlled or subsidized” rather than “owned”… This is easily seen in these as well as the Department of Commerce and Labor, Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, and the IRS control of business through corporate regulations.

            8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
            Americans call it Minimum Wage and slave labor like dealing with our Most Favored Nation trade partner; i.e. Communist China. We see it in practice via the Social Security Administration and The Department of Labor. The National debt and inflation caused by the communal bank has caused the need for a two “income” family. Woman in the workplace since the 1920’s, the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, assorted Socialist Unions, affirmative action, the Federal Public Works Program and of course Executive order 11000.

            9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country.
            Americans call it the Planning Reorganization act of 1949 , zoning (Title 17 1910-1990) and Super Corporate Farms, as well as Executive orders 11647, 11731 (ten regions) and Public “law” 89-136. These provide for forced relocations and forced sterilization programs, like in China.

            10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
            Americans are being taxed to support what we call ‘public’ schools, but are actually “government force-tax-funded schools ” Even private schools are government regulated. The purpose is to train the young to work for the communal debt system.

            Liked by 4 people

  7. Excellent essay and deserving of multiple, slow, careful readings. As I read online I wanted it in Pages or Word with comments/revisions enabled, because I found so much to comment on. So I will have to come back and quote and comment!

    I will briefly note that one of my pet peeves has always been “Constitutional rights.” Of course I will listen to a good rebuttal, but we have the rights, sans the Constitution, which only 1) enumerates the rights and 2) “guarantees” the rights. Right to protection and self defense is the one people most commonly reference under my argument, but there are others.

    A big one for me and I suspect you, Steve, is the right to travel. Every time a right is exchanged for a license or a permit, we end up with a privilege granted by the state. Grrrrrr. How many of you don’t think twice about purchasing “license tabs” every year for your automobile(s)? At least in Washington, the original and unchanged intent of the legislation (1923) was to register the PRIVATE automobile for reasons of identification, NOT to assess an annual TAX on that private property.

    OK, finished for now.

    PS I didn’t like your referenced comment at the time simply because I am way behind and can’t keep up with everyone!

    Liked by 10 people

    1. There was a really great article on the RIGHT to drive but I can not find it right now. Remember you did not have to have a licence to drive your horse and buggy on public roads…

      My favorite anarcho-capitalist, Mark Stoval had an article on The State versus Governance

      …The ‘government’ we reject is the nation-State government that Proudhon railed against:

      “To be GOVERNED is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.” — Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

      .

      There is a large difference between the brutal, coersive state government that we all know and the voluntary governance that we wish ruled our society.

      Another website with interesting ideas…

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Ah…no one has a “right” to drive. 🙂 That is a commercial act, not a private act. I do love my Black’s Law (4th or 5th edition, and earlier).

        Liked by 3 people

        1. The big issue is…you’re driving on someone else’s property. That “someone else” happens to be the government, so we expect them to provide access somewhat equitably, but it’s still someone else. If I owned the roads I’d be within my rights to forbid socialists to drive on them.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Hmmmmm. Here, they belong to WTP. We pay for them with our gasoline taxes. As one of my tutors (who has logged thousands of hours in the law libraries) keeps telling people, “They are called FREEways for a reason!”

            Liked by 4 people

              1. Yup…WeThePeople. 🙂 And in Washington we do pay for the ones the state thinks they own…Private roads are another matter and are maintained by the property owners who live along them. However, I note more and more of them are receiving county numbered signs (another way to eradicate culture is to remove named roads and replace them with grid numbers and you lose the history of Mr Jackson who built the first house, and who built the original steep winding road that rises from the lowland flats of Pioneer Highway up the ridge).

                Liked by 4 people

              2. A numbered sign is okay as long as it’s in addition to the name–from the way you’re talking, though, it isn’t.

                We still have people here who live on roads with (their family’s) name on them, and they tend to be *extremely* independent types. Almost 20 years ago there was a BIG controversy over zoning the eastern (rural) half of the county–we ultimately lost. (I wasn’t part of the “we” back then but I helped “them” fight it, only partially because I wanted to move out of the city at some point.)

                But something else strikes me. The county is putting numbered signs on roads that they themselves do not pay to maintain? What the hell?

                Liked by 3 people

              3. Remember, Western Washington has been in the control of the commies for a looong time. As goes the County of King,so goes the county of (fill in the blank).

                Liked by 2 people

            1. D’oh! I just figured out what you meant by that. For some reason I had it in my head that “WTP” was some kind of government organization with a cutesy name.

              The problem with trying to say that something is owned by “everyone” is that someone…meaning some one still ends up controlling it. That’s the government, most of the time. So realistically speaking, they DO own those roads; they have total control over them, and the money comes out of their coffers (once it comes out of your pocket). The one difference is that people generally expect a government owner to run it for the benefit of “society”–whatever that means, and again, some one has to make the decision what is and is not most beneficial to society–which is why we have mass transit highways within a highway (much more expensive because of barriers, space, etc. for separation than an extra ordinary lane would be) foisted on us.

              The interstate here, between Denver and Colorado Springs, has a 20 mile stretch in the middle that is still only four lanes, and it routinely grinds to a halt. It needs more lanes, and only now is our Denver-centric government finally doing something about it (it’s not in Denver, after all).

              Our state government is adding another lane…a toll/HOV lane. Damn them!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. You DO NOT NEED a Licence to DRIVE a horse and buggy on public roads!!!

                You never did and you STILL DON’T. So the ‘treaspassing on ‘gov’t property’ is not going to fly.

                Also if you go back to English Common Law, public right-of-ways go back EONS and so do the laws governing them. I have walked some of those English public right-of-ways going up and over stone walls on stiles and along the worn path through the farmer’s sheep pasture. (NOTE: ALL the land in the UK, Canada, NZ and Australia BELONGS TO THE QUEEN.)

                Remember in the EU, Roman built roads are still used. In the state of Taxachussetts going all the way to NY the Mohawk trail pre-dates the white settlement of the Americas. It is called Route 2 now and passes a few miles from where Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman) was born.

                HISTORY per WIKI

                As the number of motor vehicles reached tens of thousands, state and local governments assumed a new power: authorizing vehicles and drivers. In 1901, New York became the first state to register automobiles; by 1918 all states required license plates. States were slower to require licenses for drivers. Only 39 states issued them by 1935 and few required a test, despite widespread concern about incompetent drivers….

                So it was a NEW POWER ASSUMED after the 1913 FERAL No-RESERVE Act. Just one more way to suck wealth from the American people and slap chains on our freedom.

                Liked by 1 person

    2. I will briefly note that one of my pet peeves has always been “Constitutional rights.” Of course I will listen to a good rebuttal, but we have the rights, sans the Constitution, which only 1) enumerates the rights and 2) “guarantees” the rights. Right to protection and self defense is the one people most commonly reference under my argument, but there are others.

      That’s something I should have emphasized more. It’s implicit in what I wrote, but I should have made it explicit: The Constitution merely guarantees the rights, it doesn’t create them.

      Thanks!

      Liked by 8 people

  8. The more I think about this, the rights outlined in the first eight amendments involve the infractions of which the British government both in the colonies and across the pond committed on a regular basis. This was the stuff that stuck in the founders’ craws. That’s why they were specifically mentioned.

    That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot more.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Actually you START with everything you are free to do — TOTAL FREEDOM — and ONLY curb those acts that impinge on another person.

      For example:
      Pollute all you want on YOUR property BUT you do NOT have the right to pollute on your neighbor’s property.

      Once YOUR acts affect someone else, then it is no longer your right.

      I can swing my fist if I wish. I can not swing and hit your nose. I can own any type of fire arm I want, BUT I can NOT shoot at you or your property unless it is in my defense…

      You do not have the RIGHT to tresspass on my property. You do not have the Right to take my property…

      In reverse, I do NOT have the right to force another person. I can not force them to give me a job, give me $$ or services such as medical care WITHOUT a fair and free exchange.

      We as a people can agree to pay for common defence and common laws and governance. However we should NOT be able to remove anothers freedom with out due process and the violation of an agreed upon set of rules protecting our freedoms.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. At the moment, I’m wishing I had the right to take a sledgehammer to my brother’s iphone.

        Seriously, if we would all practice good manners, which is all about not inconveniencing others, these discussions would be far less important.

        Liked by 5 people

          1. I know that’s the “golden rule” but I do have a minor quibble with it. It’s phrased as a positive obligation.

            It’d be really pleasing to me if you were to give me a thousand bucks. Am I therefore obligated to give you a thousand bucks?

            I prefer the negative phrasing–don’t do to other people what you wouldn’t want them to do to you. (This is the way it is phrased in other religions, by the way–Christianity didn’t invent the golden rule.)

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Part of the problem with the “Golden Rule” is that it usually leaves out the first part:

              The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Chapter 22:

              [34] But the Pharisees hearing that he had silenced the Sadducees, came together: [35] And one of them, a doctor of the law, asking him, tempting him:

              [36] Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? [37] Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. [38] This is the greatest and the first commandment. [39] And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [40] On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets. http://drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=47&ch=22&l=37#x

              The Gospel According to St. Mark, Chapter 12

              [28] And there came one of the scribes that had heard them reasoning together, and seeing that he had answered them well, asked him which was the first commandment of all. [29] And Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God. [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment.

              [31] And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these. http://drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=48&ch=12&l=30#x

              The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 10:

              [25] And behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?

              [26] But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? [27] He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself. http://drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=49&ch=10&l=27#x

              Of course, the original versions of this are in the book of Leviticus.

              Liked by 4 people

  9. The Social Contract Theory line of argument for a right to healthcare is a tactic of Leftists. What is the inherent problem with this logic? One problem is that no person has an inherent right to the services of other people. Another problem is that “free” healthcare is technically an oxymoron.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Another concise, intelligent essay from Steve.
    My only quibble is that we routinely deny rights to certain people. Minors, the mentally ill, developmentaly delayed, even prisoners. When we take away someone’s automany we must assume responsibility for them in stead.this is relatively easy for the likeable ie children, but problematic for the unlikeable . By this I mean psych patients, prisoners, the elderly demented. Meaning if we are going to lock someone up we assume responsibility for their care- nutrition,healthcare etc. just because you are retarded and unable to give consent to health procedures, sign legal documents even perform personal hygiene doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to health care, protection from exploitation and basic living care. I’m not talking about the mildly disabled having the world handed to them on a silver platter but I believe that a civilisation can be judged on its treatment of its most vulnerable. If only for the there but for the grace of god goes I argument. After all a bad accident ,brain injury can land anyone in that boat.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, a complete theory of rights has to take into account the people who are NOT capable adults, for one reason or another–not having got there yet (children), or having lost capability either due to injury or because we are confining them for violating others’ rights. Admittedly, I was only discussing the “nominal” case here.

      But I find it indicative that in all of these cases (except for capital punishment), their caretaker/keeper/custodian is expected to keep them alive.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. “doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to health care, protection from exploitation and basic living care.”

      NOBODY has a “RIGHT”……. to “Healthcare” or “Basic Living Care”.
      And there is no “RIGHT” …. to not being exploited… or not be offended…. or not be Hungry.

      There a LOT more that is WRONG with this COMMUNAL type thinking.

      Like

      1. We accept, in fact mandate, that children can’t work for a living. Long gone are the days you could send your kids out to be a chimney sweep or work in the mines. We all accept that children have rights to food shelter clothing. This is usually provided by the parents, however, in certain circumstances they may not be able to provide for their kids. Even the best of parents can fall on hard times, die, get desperately ill. The elderly often pass the point of being able to work for a living, have multiple health issues. Prisoners can be made to do hard labour but as they can’t pop out of jail to have that funny lump checked out , a doctor has to be provided in the jail setting.
        This is not something that separates us from animals. Many species have shown care for their injured, compassion and empathy. Many don’t. For them nature is truely red in tooth and claw.
        From our earliest beginnings we have shown compassion. In Africa a distant ancestor left bones showing the telltale deformities of vitamin A poisoning. This primitive hominid would have been unable to walk, hunt or gather but someone fed them and cared for them. There must have been a place by the fire for them to keep them safe. This bone delamination occurs over a long period of time. All hunter/gatherer societies have prohibitions on eating the livers of predators, where vit a is concentrated. Was this person part of the original learning curve? They wer adult and female. Was it a child who fed them, carried them? Presumably they were productive previously and perhaps it was hoped that one day she would get better. Maybe it was a bet that didn’t pay off and there was no altruism involved. On the other hand there is the skeleton of an adult male Neanderthal who had been severely crippled since birth. His bones showed no signs of malnutrition and he was buried not discarded. Someone loved these people. There day to day lives were harder than we can imagine surrounded by predators and eking out a living but they still developed empathy.
        Matt Ridley has excellent books. I highly recommended The origin of virtue. And red queen.

        Like

        1. ozzytrumpster,

          CHARITY, and that is what you are talking about, SHOULD NOT BE UNDER THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!! (It is not a RIGHT, but should be a voluntary act by your fellow citizens.)

          It belongs to the local people, whether via the churches or the county ‘home’

          I remember the county home where my mother volunteered. We did not HAVE street people because they were picked up and taken to the county ‘home’ aka ‘Poor farm’. They grew much of their own food, sold produce and milk. The residents did what work they could and so did volunteers from the neighborhood. In this way it was not a drain on the purse strings, people felt useful and volunteers, including doctors, dentists et al. gave time instead of $$. Of course there was staff, but a lot of the help were people like my mom.

          Then the Liberals descended and said it was ‘shaming and nasty and cruel’ to MAKE the people living at these farms actually have to WORK!! 😲 So then the county had to HIRE help to do the work the residents used to do and most went under. The residents got toss out on the street…. MUCH TO THE DELIGHT OF THE LIBERALS! Ever since then they use these people and the ones tossed out of mental institutions as weapons against conservatives to DEMAND bigger and more centralized government.

          Liked by 4 people

  11. What is interesting is WIKI’s definition:

    Free Republic does a much better job of saying what I was trying to say.

    WHAT IS A RIGHT?

    A right is the sovereignty to act without the permission of others. The concept of a right carries with it an implicit, unstated footnote: you may exercise your rights as long as you do not violate the same rights of another—within this context, rights are an absolute.

    A right is universal—meaning: it applies to all men, not just to a few. There is no such thing as a “right” for one man, or a group of men, that is not possessed by all…
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/973633/posts

    “Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.” — WIKI

    1. General: (1) Justified, recognized, and protected (violation of which is unlawful) claim on, or interest in, specific tangible or intangible property. (2) Freedom, immunity, power, or privilege, due to one by agreement, birth, claim, guaranty, or by the application of legal, moral, or natural principles. Rights are divided into two main categories: (A) Liberty: right to something a right-holder cannot be prevented from, such as to speak freely or follow a particular belief, and (B) License: right to do something which is otherwise illegal, such as to sell liquor or drive a powered vehicle. Other categories of rights include: (1) Alienable: rights that can be taken away or transferred, such a property rights.

    (2) Civil: rights that accrue to all citizens of a country, such as rights to equality, good governance, and justice.
    (3) Entitlement: rights that specify what their holders would receive, such as an office holder’s rights, or beneficiary’s rights under a trust.
    (4) Human: rights that belong to every member of humanity, such as rights to education, equity, fair-play, free association.
    (5) Inalienable: rights that cannot be taken away or transferred, such as right to justice or privacy.
    (6) Natural: rights that can neither be bestowed by a government nor abrogated by it, such as rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
    (7) Prima facie: rights absolute in normal circumstances but which may be taken away in extraordinary situations, such as right to life annulled by a death penalty.

    http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/right.html

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sorry, I was in a hurry.

        The first definition is what I consider the correct definition. The Wiki definition (second) and the business dictionary (third) are definitions that have been MORPHED by liberals. I highlighed some of the liberal speak.

        (Hubby was after me to go help with the lambs.)

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, that is what I wanted to show.

            The usual Commie morphing of the definition of a word so they can USE the word against you.

            😲 ” quivering dog vomit” 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

            Like

  12. Rights are not granted by the government or even the constitution.
    The duty of the government is to protect your rights and not create them.

    Your rights are endowed to you by your creator. The most important right is the Right to Life. Without life there is no Liberty or the Pursuit of Happiness.

    Notice that the US constitution is the only constitution were the so called Bill of Rights, more accurately called ‘Bill of Protections’, start with the provisor that: “No law shall be made ….”.
    This implies that your rights needed to have existed before the constitution was written. You need to go to the ‘Declaration of Independence’ were it states that your rights come from “Your Creator” i.e. they existed, since you were conceived.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I failed to emphasize the point that the rights pre-existed the constitution. It’s actually implicit in what I wrote (after all I did say that not all rights were listed), but I didn’t say it in so few words.

      Thanks!

      Liked by 3 people

  13. thank you for explaining your reply to my post about Lizzy. I didn’t comment on it because in these areas I am woefully uninformed to converse intelligently.
    (I don’t have a WP account therefore I cannot “like” anything)
    But your thread is very informative and I understand a lot more than i did. thanks Steve!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Steve, I’m not in favour of the welfare state but we have duties to the incapacitated and minors. Matt Ridleys origin of virtue shows that it’s all/mostly on a kin group altruism basis. Even fish ! !! A zebra fish exploring a possible threat to the school remembers who is a good wingman and who lags back.
        Our kin group selection of altruism started when we were tribal and now we apply it to nations. Other societies ie Iraq still operate on nepotism.

        Like

        1. “… we have duties to the incapacitated and minors.”

          NO WE DO NOT! That is the door opening to COMMUNISM and Boy do they use it!
          Should we, as civilized humans help others? Yes.
          Should we help children? Of Course.
          BUT IT IS NOT A RIGHT that can be demanded from STRANGERS. It is a gift that we give to others.

          I am hoping I am making myself clear.
          ….

          An example:

          We had a neighbor down the way who popped out a baby just about every year. She LOVED babies but had no desire to deal with her children once they became toddlers. So Mom kept diapers and ended up changing that woman’s children on a daily basis. I got stuck more or less babysitting the older ones since they liked me and I helped them with their homework.

          Then one day my German Grandma was visiting when the group trouped over dirty and the littles smelling of poopy diapers. Grandma took one look at those kids and told the oldest, take you sisters home and tell your mother to change their dirty diapers (In much stronger language) — That was the end of Mom and I being unpaid babysitters. (Grandma read her the riot act as soon as the kids were gone.)

          Liked by 1 person

  14. On Property taxes…

    The sister orginization to the Council on Foreign Relations is the Committee for Economic Development (CED). It was officially established in 1942.

    …CED determined that the problem with American agriculture was that there were too many farmers. But the CED had a ‘solution’: millions of farmers would just have to be eliminated.

    In a number of reports written over a few decades, CED recommended that farming ‘resources’ “ that is, farmers“ be reduced. In its 1945 report Agriculture in an Expanding Economy, CED complained that ‘the excess of human resources engaged in agriculture is probably the most important single factor in the ‘farm problem’ and describes how agricultural production can be better organized to fit to business needs.
    https://www.opednews.com/populum/page.php?f=History-HACCP-and-the-Foo-by-Nicole-Johnson-090906-229.html

    CED has continued its nasty work of under mining farmers and rural towns in an effort to DRIVE people into cities and corporate jobs. (NAFTA’s did something similar to Mexico to what was done to Americans in the 1940s BTW)

    Now they are working to RAISE property taxes on farmland to be equivalent to that of HOUSE LOTS!!! SNARL😡

    https://ced.sog.unc.edu/property-tax-breaks-for-farms-in-nc-a-development-tool-in-need-of-reform/

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well done, Steve!

    A cogent analysis of what is, for many, a difficult concept. I have this discussion periodically; I will use what I have learned from you next time.

    People who want to “expand” our rights to include health care, not to ever be hungry or afraid, to have a “free” education, etc. essentially strike me as lazy. They want everything to be easy and come without too much work or sacrifice. You are exactly correct that any “right” I have won’t come at the expense of anyone else.

    Socialism is the root of the evil. We must fight it with all our might.

    Like

  16. Always interesting to have this kind of discussion.

    Time to play contrarian in order to test our foundations.

    1. Language is socially constructed – it is the means by which we communicate with others. No individual can “invent” a language without the cooperation of others.
    2. We use this language as the basis/means for defining systems of logic, our laws etc – all socially constructed through agreement.
    3. The concept of “rights” flows out of this social behaviour.
    4. A right is not an “objective thing” that exists on its own – it is an idea, that has arisen through the conscious interaction of individuals, agreed mutually by some major percentage of them …
    5. That is why they keep changing …

    Rebut / refute / discuss

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s clear that rights can only exist in a social context. If you’re alone on a desert island, there’s no one else to interact with, thus no one with whom boundaries must be set. Rights have no meaning in such a situation since only natural events can affect you.

      Even in normal life your right to life isn’t abrogated if a tree falls on you and kills you; your rights aren’t violated if it falls on your house either–unless some other person caused either of these events to happen.

      Assuredly language is also a construct between people and is in some ways arbitrary–for example the specific word used to refer to that thing over there with the flat top and four (or maybe only three) legs, we say “table,” Germans say “Tisch,” Russians say “stol” (and write it “стол”). But in large part the concept behind the word is objective; there’s probably a word for the concept of “table” in every language spoken by people who actually use tables. Because they have a physical existence, the word can be defined ostensibly, by pointing to a table. Can’t get much more objective than that.

      Even many abstract concepts (such as “rights”) can be defined such that we can be pretty confident everyone means the same thing by the word–although with “rights” this clearly isn’t the case at this point. Nonetheless, after a lot of discussion, two people can at least determine what the other means by the word. (Philosophers deal with a lot of abstractions; sometimes they will spend hours doing this so they can at least present an argument relevant to their opposite number. It looks like “arguing” to an outsider; actually, they’re trying to get on the same page.)

      To justify a particular definiton of “rights” as objective, you need a theory of human interaction from which it naturally derives. I specifically didn’t want to go there for this essay, in large part because almost everyone here believes God handed them down (though I’ve never seen this point of view rigorously justified out of the Bible); I am one of, at best, a handful of exceptions; I would want a justification for the existence of rights that doesn’t depend on assuming God’s existence.

      I believe a secular justification for the concept of rights I present here has been made (not by me, I’m not that clever), but I’m still rather reluctant to broach that subject here–if only because it would detract from the main point of this post.

      If I were to do so and you found my explanation (or some other explanation) satisfactory, then what you’d be talking about in points 4 and 5 are actions taken out of dishonesty or ignorance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Re your final para – that still depends on my agreement at any given time. I tend to change my mind as my understanding of the world changes – so my agreement is subject to be withdrawn.

        We cannot thus avoid the notion that rights are dependant on human agreement – and as such will be fluid over time. The right to life – one which was deemed to be self evident – is currently being attacked by a not insignificant block in your country.

        I don’t think we disagree much on this – you would seem to agree that “rights”, as they pertain to the conduct of human affairs, are decided by the community. Any “theory of human interaction” would similarly have to be agreed to by the community before any “right” can be derived from it. Even this notion pre-supposes so much as to the type of community “we” live in, etc.

        So I contend that no human right exists as an objective “thing” – we live because Gd (or the universe) allows us to live – we exist as a result of factors beyond our power and it is rather hubristic to claim that we are entitled to any rights.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Uh, don’t drop context. I was discussing our discussion, not the objective rights themselves, in that last paragraph.

          What is needed is to show that, in essence, a right is an emergent property of human beings when they get together in a group. Of course some will disagree with that–there are still people out there who think the earth is flat–but the rest of us will be able to move on.

          Like

          1. I don’t see us resolving this dispute – in my mind it is clear that any definition of rights is subject to human agreement, which can be withdrawn at any stage.

            “You have a republic – if you can keep it” pretty much spells it out. Any human endeavour relies on agreement – failing that, dispute resolution mechanisms come into place (themselves requiring agreement), until finally force is resorted to.

            Resorting to force comes at a cost – hence humans are motivated to get along. This is the way it has always been.

            Good luck defining a theory of human interaction that delivers objective rights which people have to accept – if they do not like the outcome, some form of dispute will ensue – rinse and repeat.

            The founders knew that this enterprise was not infallible – hence the “if you can keep it”.

            Like

            1. JasonD,

              I think it comes down to Freedom or Slavery and it is not just for humans.

              Thousands of years ago certain species of animals, the dog, horse, cows, goats, pigs, chickens…. gave up their FREEDOM to live in bondage to humans.

              So what do FREE Animals and humans have as rights? The ability to do as they please as long as it does not impinge on other humans.

              Whether you are an animal, or a human, destroy a humans property of kill a human you are going to get hunted down and killed by other humans.
              ….

              Our system of government is the ONLY government where humans are FREE. In all others the government OWNS YOU. You are not a citizen, you are a subject.

              This is an interesting essay on FREEDOM: 9,000 years of anarchy in Ireland?

              This most remarkable historical example of a society of libertarian law and courts first came to my attention while reading Murray Rothbard’s For a New Liberty. This was a society where not only the courts and the law were largely libertarian, but they were basically anarcho-capitalist in the modern sense of the phrase. This Celtic society was not some primitive society or tribe but rather it was a highly complex society. Ireland for centuries was the most advanced, most scholarly, and most civilized society in all of Western Europe. And all without a government![…]

              The oral traditions and any written histories showed no shift in the Irish culture in any way, no wars or conquests: so we would have to believe that that anarchy that met the Christians immigrants (and confused them) in 600 AD was not new at all but had a long history even at that point. We can say with certainty that it ended with the English invasions of the 1640’s. We can find no archaeological site that indicates any central state other than just one slight possibility that goes back 5,500 years or the few hill fortresses built in Southern Ireland to repel the invading Swiss Celts of 100 BC. There is much evidence of farming, prosperous trading communities, centers of art, and religious areas going back 9,000 years but no evidence of any State. All we can find is evidence that the Irish lived peaceably for an extended period of time and were trading goods and services with their neighbors.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Gail, I do not dispute the “good” of the American system, or the necessity for freedom for all – my issue how do you persuade your fellow humans that this is an essential element of a good society.

                As I said to Steve, these matters are decided by civil society, and that seems somewhat difficult in these times.

                A significant percent of western “society” are actively working to radically change it – they are seeking power over the citizenry with the intent of wielding it. They will NOT agree with this concept of freedom and no rational argument will serve to change their minds – the only question is – How numerous / influential are they?

                We should find out in due course …

                Like

  17. I wanted to ponder on this post overnight Steve… a couple of thoughts:

    “But even if we come up with a good definition of a “right,” one that allows for freedom of conscience (speech, religion), freedom to have firearms, etc., but does NOT include “right to health care,” the Left has a counter-argument. To them “rights” are “social constructs,” arbitrary decisions by society which society can decide to countermand whenever it feels like. To the Left, there’s no objective definition of what a “right” is, because rights don’t really exist, so the concept can mean whatever you want it to mean.”

    It would seem to me that people who believe in the individual as having rights, would adhere to the individualism represented in the “freedom of conscience, (speech, religion, assembly) firearms, (individuals owning firearms as opposed to the State) etc. When it comes to the potential interpretation of the 9th Amendment, people who believe in the power of the State by using these “social constructs” they’re going to go with the interpretations which actually expand that power of the State vs the power of the individual.

    IMO, the Founders intended for the individuals to have rights enhancing their own freedom AGAINST the State, whereas progressive/leftists interpretation of the 9th Amendment lends itself to ensuring that society at large is responsible for giving you social construct rights.

    And therein lies the big difference. Either we’re free as individuals or we’re bound by being dependent on society for our happiness or satisfaction.

    Now my other musing, and it’s more of a question. The legal beagles have weighed in over time regarding Roe v Wade and the fact it does NOT violate the Declaration’s clause, “right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” I guess it has to do with the fact of defining the unborn child as an independent life. But these same legal folks also believe SCOTUS overreached by denying states the right to decide on this issue. Meaning it’s a state’s right… Thus there was always hope that at least Roe v Wade would be overturned on the basis of violating state’s right to decide on issues.

    Now the Left has upped the ante, and moved to outright infanticide.

    Those of us who perceive the unborn as real persons, with that right to life, we, of course, feel they’re being denied “life.” But SCOTUS, so far, doesn’t recognize that. OTOH, killing a child after they’re born, obviously takes away their right to life and personhood. This is where I believe the Court will have to go – either people are going to be allowed to murder children – what age will it stop, 10 min, 1 day, 3 mos. etc. etc.? or SCOTUS decides when taking a life is murder, or not.

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    1. I did reply to this, but it suffered the curse of the bottommost post and ended up below it at the same level…so I thought I’d put this here in the hope that your notifier flags it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. IMO, the Founders intended for the individuals to have rights enhancing their own freedom AGAINST the State, whereas progressive/leftists interpretation of the 9th Amendment lends itself to ensuring that society at large is responsible for giving you social construct rights.

    True. The founders had a correct understanding of rights, in that they understood that rights don’t entitle you to things but to freedom of action.

    The legal beagles have weighed in over time regarding Roe v Wade and the fact it does NOT violate the Declaration’s clause, “right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” I guess it has to do with the fact of defining the unborn child as an independent life.

    You’ve definitely hit on something there. Rights are things that people have. Now you need to define “people” as used in this context. Some people think their dogs are people; they’re clearly wrong at least as regards to people as entities that have rights. So then–fetuses? Zygotes? Blastocysts? If some but not others, based on developmental standards, where is the line?

    I’ve talked with leftist lawyers who agree that Roe v. Wade was argued poorly; they like the result though and won’t make waves. (And they certainly won’t talk about it in print–I think they might want to run for office someday.) I haven’t spoken to them in years though so I don’t know what they think about the fresh push beyond the moment of birth.

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    1. Thanks, Steve. Yes, going forward it will be interesting to see how the infanticide issue is dealt with by the courts.

      The other issue cropping up – forced labor – Illinois is passing legislation which would “force” physicians to perform abortions – that not only violates our religious freedom/conscience clauses, but it basically is saying that the physician’s skills are subject to the STATE and therefore, we’re talking slavery. No wage compensates for forcing someone to do something against their will.

      This could all stop if physicians developed a cohesive response and said, “NO.”

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I was expecting someone to bring up the body of legal work the Founding Fathers had available to them at the writing of the Constitution and it’s basis for making sense of government. The details are vague in my memory at the moment but I know they’re important to this discussion. Anyone have those details at hand?

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