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View Diary: Paul Ryan-Our Rights Come From Nature and God Repeal Healthcare (17 comments)

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  •  among these (1+ / 0-)
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    The Sheeping of America

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The implication is extremely clear that there are other rights, beyond “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. A right to healthcare could be considered either one of those, or (obviously) it could be considered a component of “Life”. Either way, Ryan's comment is either mealymouthed garbage or a flat-out lie.

    More importantly (and much has been written about this), it is very important to understand that the Colonists wanted to base their claim of independence on Lockean “Natural Law”, that they claimed was a higher law than the English Parliament; yet, the Southerners' insistence* on the protection of slavery, which of course contradicted Locke, made the wording very different. The original, pure, version, written by George Mason, is: “That all Men are born equally free and independant, and have certain inherent natural Rights, of which they can not by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.” In that formulation, the rights were part of nature, and while God might have been involved, that was secondary. Jefferson's rewrite famously changed “born equal” to “created equal”, and, to avoid mentioning the anti-slavery natural law at all, used the phrase “endowed by their Creator” with no further specification. He also avoided “property”, which of course to the Southerners included slaves. Once the extremely dubious origins of Jefferson's wording is known, it frankly becomes difficult (for me at least) to treat it with much respect.

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    *Of course, the departure from a pure formulation of natural law as the basis for independence was only one of the numerous adverse effects the slave-owners caused for the nation, but it was among the earliest ones.

    •  Just goes to show that (0+ / 0-)

      all of history is a compromise.  The Declaration of Independence was a petition of rights being made to a theocracy.  What better way to one-up your opponent than to claim that your arguments are endorsed by The Deity?  Once a portion of the men involved in the Declaration went on to write the Constitution, they dropped the theistic language.

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