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Mr. Ryan's introduction as Mr. Romney's Vice Presidential selection offers an insight into both men. Within the introductory speech was an interesting sentence; designed to draw applause ~ and it succeeded. It is a sentence filled with cynicism and red meat designed to appeal to, perhaps, our less informed family, friends and neighbors.

“Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”

No! They! Don't!

The inspiration for this irrational Republican applause line is, of course, the Declaration of Independence. With a couple of hints toward a supreme being, the authors of that document provided a false foundation upon which this argument is built. Our English language has evolved a bit over the past 235 years, and the structure of thoughts by great thinkers can be a bit overwhelming for those who want to believe something is true more than they wish to research the truth.

Here, I edit a few sentences from the Declaration, just a bit, to highlight specific clauses:

When ... it becomes necessary for one people ... to assume ... the separate ... station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them, ... they should declare the causes.

...

... all men are created equal  .... endowed by their Creator with certain ... rights, ... among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

In the original, and in these {hopefully simplified} sentences, the language is complex and difficult. It is English, but, it seems that so many of our neighbors have never sufficiently figured out how how to comprehend what, exactly, the language means.

The Declaration of Independence is a wonderful document in the history of our government, but let us remember that this document is akin to a younger sibling telling the older, "You're Not The Boss of Me". Our founders, in this analogy, are the younger siblings to the monarch of Great Britain. The authors are yelling, in a wonderfully poetic language, "I'm telling Mom!" They are using the justification of a higher authority to support the seriousness of their claim.

Of course, the authors were not children. They were some of the wisest men of their times (and perhaps of all time). They did not stop their reasoning at the foot stomping and breath holding. They continued their argument.

And it is the next sentence that becomes so very important.  Here, I include that sentence ( and actually, I see now that it is a sentence fragment ... but I like my argument better with the title 'The Next Sentence' ~ so I continue with this error )

- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

{ here, I pause to admire the beauty of this language }

Read that language carefully ... it says :

Men create governments, and it is the function of government to secure rights for men. And if government is not securing the rights of men, men can break down the government and build a new one; organizing a better government for the safety and happiness for men.  

God, apparently, doesn't have a very big part to play in any of this.

I understand that religious people wish to use their religious beliefs to justify, well, everything ~ especially the things they don't understand (like the complex English sentences above). But, in this, they are so very, very wrong. And I weary of their incorrect assertions.

God does not give people in America the right to peaceably assemble, men do.

God does not give people in America the right to bear arms ( oh, please, try to find that in any of the ancient holy texts ).

God does not protect people in America from being forced to give their homes to soldiers.

How can god reasonably grant the rights of the 18th and the 21st Amendments to the Constitution?  

Truly, if any of the fundamentalists who believe that rights come from god spent just a few moments thinking about the rights in our Constitution, they would realize the nonsense of the thought.

And yet, there are Mr. Romney, and Mr. Ryan, pretending to believe such hoo-ey. Such mindless pandering, on such an important topic, should be disqualifying for higher office. Rights are granted by Governments. And in our case, the government has authority to grant such rights because of the consent of the governed.

Now, personally, I don't believe in religion, nor in a supernatural being. I understand that some do ... and in accordance with the First Amendment to our Constitution, I am perfectly willing to allow anyone to believe any bronze age mythology he chooses. But, it damned well pisses me off when they start claiming that their specific bronze age mythology is what gives me my rights.

Our rights come from nature and god, Mr. Ryan?  Really?   No, sir.    No! They! Don't!

Originally posted to michaeledward on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 02:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  rights are inherent. it has been the history of (15+ / 0-)

    the human race that rights are eventually recognized (or not, as the case may be) by different governments, tyrants, tribal leaders, etc. thru mass movements & sometimes revolution or rebellion.

    the romney/ryan bullshit is the same rw talking points glenn beck, rush limpballz, sean insannity, michele malkin, & the rest of the certifiably psychopathic crew at propaganda hq has been spewing ever since cheney/bush left the building.

    of course, even a whisper of dissent when dick & dubya were in the wh would get your ass thrown in jail, but since the d's are occupying 1600 pennsylvania avenue, it's ok to claim no one owes alligence to the constitution if it doesn't suit your fancy, or advocate the violent overthrow of the country & water the tree of liberty with the blood of the prez & other democratically-elected officials.

    •  Exactly. Governents get their power thru consent (19+ / 0-)

      Read your Constitution and your second sentence fragment again carefully. It does NOT say that people get their rights from the government's efforts to secure them, but actually says that the Government gets ITS powers FROM the consent of the people.

      Rights are just that: Rights, and are "inherent" i.e. intrinsically belonging to ALL people, irrespective of what any government thinks or intends. This is where the entire civil rights aspect of the Gay Marriage debate gets its force. No one has the power to restrict or abrogate a right.

      What that sentence does say is that if the government in question fails in its pursuance of following the will of the governed, it is the right of those governed to change it.

      Of course it hurts! You're being screwed by an Elephant!

      by CAPitBull on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 04:59:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well said. and much better than i did. :) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens
      •  Rubbish (9+ / 0-)

        Rights are not inherent. They are artificial constructs of human intelligence. Marriage equality is not right because denying it violates some mystical cloud of woo. It is right because the distinction that is required to deny it has no basis in reality. We know, as a matter of objective fact, that there is no function or aspect of marriage that demands the persons married be of opposite genders.

        No right is "inherent." Any can be violated casually if there is widespread consent to such a violation. A "right" is not a natural law but a declaration of political intent, ideally grounded in reason, but with no mystical underpinning. If you think your right to life is "inherent," for instance, then try arguing it with the rising water when your boat sinks in the middle of the ocean and you're drowning. And don't say that if other people know you are in peril, they will rescue you. That's a human decision, albeit a moral and commendable one, not anything "inherent."

        It is, however, true to say that governments get their powers from the consent of the people. Because governments are human constructions, without at least passive consent they can do nothing. It would be almost a banal statement if we disregarded the context, where such baseless fables as the divine right of kings were accepted without question. Governments have nothing to do with divinity. Tyranny or democracy, they do not in any aspect go beyond the human realm.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 08:44:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Human decisions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens
          That's a human decision, albeit a moral and commendable one, not anything "inherent."
          I guess the response to this would be, so how do humans decide things if not by an inherent sense of morality and justice-- of what is right.
          •  The same way (2+ / 0-)

            we make all our decisions - based on the training we receive in our youth, from responses to our actions, and on observations of the actions of others.

            The problem is we're arguing about the wallpaper and we haven't even got a foundation yet.

            by 84thProblem on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:40:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  People have an inherent sense of morality (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DBunn

            And this sense can lead them to do terrible things. Certainly we have a natural morality for we are social creatures and morality derives from sociality. Social animals need to punish non-cooperators and reward cooperators in order for cooperation to be successful, and to resist parasites. From this, we developed our sense of morality.

            But that is just an undeveloped sense and can lead to injustice, in the form of, say,  lynchings and mob rule. And in any case, though the sense itself derives from nature in the sense of natural selection, that does not mean that rights derive from nature. Rights derive from our agreements to uphold those rights.

            Without working agreements to uphold rights, they are just words. Wishing for a pony does not make a pony appear, because ponies are not inherent to our nature. Same thing for rights.

            The argument is nothing more than appeal to authority. It is a logical fallacy that says, "Believe what I tell you because... NATURE! (or GOD!)" Well, if rights were inherent, you wouldn't have to use logical fallacies to get people to uphold them. And we would all agree on every single particular about what rights entailed, because we could all "see" the same real, inherent thing.

            •  Necessary but not sufficient (0+ / 0-)

              Things I think we agree about:

              1. Humans possess an inherent sense of morality.
              2. We have an inherent moral sense because, for a social species, it confers evolutionary advantages.
              3. Our inherent moral sense, by itself, doesn't always deliver a just and peaceable society.

              Here we don't entirely agree:

              though the [moral] sense itself derives from nature in the sense of natural selection, that does not mean that rights derive from nature.
              ... although our disagreement might be only a semantic quibble. If our moral sense derives from nature, and our legally defined rights derive from our moral sense, then it seems a bit obtuse to say that our rights don't (ultimately) derive from nature.

              Maybe a phrasing we could agree on would be that our inherent moral sense, which is derived from our very nature as humans, is necessary but not sufficient to the defined rights that we enjoy in this enlightened democracy. To get all the way to where we are now, with properly defined legal rights, we need to add in many layers of civilized development, which includes development of literacy, law, and civil structures, all involving thousands of years of experimentation with what approaches yield which results. The filter through which all those millennia of experience must pass, in order to arrive at our ideal outcome (not yet attained), requires the engagement of rational thought processes. I would never dispute that.

              I would, however, suggest that these rational processes by which we establish our legal/constitutional rights, if they are not to become mired in infinite loops of colorless calculation, must be informed at every decision point by our intuitive moral sensibilities. As we thread our way through a vast, dense pyramid of logical gates, we have to have some basis for choosing one direction over others. And that basis, I submit, ultimately comes down to our inborn understanding of what is moral-- in other words, of our natural rights.

              •  But our rights don't derive from our morality (0+ / 0-)

                They derive, in the sense of "come into existence" from our agreements to uphold them. Without that agreement, they are simply ideas that have no force in the real world.

                The moral sense is also not necessary, in the sense that a sociopath, lacking that sense, could through logic choose to follow the agreements we set.

                And the major problem with our morality is that it is tuned for different circumstances, circumstances we evolved with. Being suspicious of strangers is part of our "moral sense," should that be enshrined in law? Privacy is neither natural nor moral, and it involves a person giving up a more natural right (the right to sense) for a less natural one (the right not to be sensed), yet we value privacy and enshrine it as a right.

                Moral, social creatures we may be, but rights must come from our logical minds, and our interpersonal agreements, not some sense of what is natural or right.

        •  Exactly, the idea is... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrayCat, Brown Thrasher

          Even back before Government existed we humans had rights, we just didn't have a word for it. We knew in the rational parts of our minds that no one person had more of a claim to be here than any other and so it was wrong to go around killing randomly. We all earned the right to live by beating the overwhelming odds of death.

          And you don't have to believe in a creator (I certainly don't) in order to believe every human has the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness, no matter who you are or where you're from. Whether that right is infringed by fellow humans is another story. And that is sort of the point.

          To return to the overarching issue, the role of Government is to protect and insure freedom for the people by facilitating the tools we need to realize and exercise our rights. Sometimes this means restricting actions for the greater good of society. Sometimes it means getting out of the way of a free expression of ideas.  

          The right to hold criminals to account is a great example of Government facilitating rights we hold but would have no way of enforcing as individuals. The right for the accused to have a fair trial among their peers is another. The right to see and hear the evidence being presented against them. Those are the things Governments provide so that our rights are secured and society can prosper.

          Those are the things you didn't get back in the caveman communes or a religious theocracy. Nor did you get the opportunity to evolve and reshape the system as you go.

          We lose if we choose to forget; the lives of men, and money spent.

          by DeanDemocrat on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 01:29:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  agree with all you said except (0+ / 0-)

        this:

        No one has the power to restrict or abrogate a right.
        Surely throughout history people have possessed, and demonstrated, such power, and this continues to happen today. It's true, though, that these people weren't and aren't wielding their power justly.

        Knowledge is a responsibility. Therefore, ignorance is not a right.

        by rmoore on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 01:46:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary - but a small criticism (5+ / 0-)

    I would change it to say that "people create governments", not "men create governments".

    Granted it's a quibble, and admittedly many of the great thinkers of the day wrote in terms of "men".

    However, the first three words of our constitution express the fundamental basis of our government - and it should apply to all governments.

  •  You are absolutely right! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marleycat, notrouble, Debby

    The Founding Fathers were declaring their independence.  Why?  Because their rights had been taken away.  To secure these rights they didn't have a prayer meeting.  LOL.  They said look we are setting up our own government and they do so not in God's name but

    ...by Authority of the good People of these Colonies...
    God may have given us certain rights but the way we mortal wo/men, hapless human beings maintain those rights is through a government who serves at the will of the People.
  •  I run a totalitarian goverrnment. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, StrayCat

    You just made my day.

    “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”

    No! They! Don't!

  •  Be reasonable (0+ / 0-)

    Do you really expect any politician to say that our rights are artificial?  That governments give us those rights, and governments may take them away? That not even the cruelest and most oppressive government violates the rights of its citizens, because those citizens were not granted any rights by their government to begin with?

    •  They can be taken away (0+ / 0-)

      There is a process to do just that. A process that cannot be embarked upon without government.

      But there are also some basic human rights, and any government denying its people those rights would be in violation.

      The way to protect those rights is to strengthen the international community.

      Under law, a government is not sovereign if it practises genocide ... there is a lawful way that other governments can intervene .... we are a bit picky about how we apply that.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 10:06:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I suppose (5+ / 0-)

    that if our rights come from God a god, the bastards believe that those of us who are non-believers shouldn't have any rights.

    "Ghosts," said in a half whisper. "I got ghosts." He went on to explain that he was a Vietnam vet and that he'd been on the streets 4 years. "And how are they gonna help all these guys comin' home now, if they haven't even dealt with Vietnam?" - Russ

    by BitterEnvy on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 05:03:30 PM PDT

  •  It was a natural law argument (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Garrett, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    The insurgents needed to justify their defiance of Parliament, which was the source of the laws governing them at the time. They needed to appeal to a higher authority, namely Nature and Nature's God. They were not arguing that the American majority had any primary legal authority per se over Parliament; their authority was only in consequence of the violations of Nature's law that they imputed to Parliament.

    Well, it's true.

  •  God really doesn't have much to do with it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby, bigjacbigjacbigjac, gnbhull

    in the original document either, not in the sense Ryan may have meant (and Ryan, by the way, is a devotee of the militant atheist, Ayn Rand, so we can't take him too seriously on that, either).

    I've written two, maybe three diaries in my classical music series that delved into the subject of Enlightenment era rationalist conceptions of God and natural rights.  When, in the Declaration of Independence, they refer to rights "Endowed by God," that's code language for natural rights.  Saying "Endowed by God" is the same thing as saying, "Human beings just have rights simply by being human and that's that."  

    Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, as we all must surely NOW KNOW BECAUSE OF A CERTAIN RIGHT-WING AUTHOR LOSING HIS PAYCHECK, didn't believe in the supernatural.  Late 18th century rationalist positions on the nature of God weren't Fundamentalist and can require some explaining.  Atheist sites often too eagerly lump them into the atheist camp because clarifying the differences is too much work.

    So you're picking a fight here you don't necessarily have to make.

  •  Ever notice (9+ / 0-)

    that those who insist our rights come from God are amongst the first to try to take our rights away? They are usually trying to argue as well that it is not they who are taking those rights away, but God. Perhaps that is why they insist.

    •  Observe also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      godlessmath

      The group of those who insist our rights come from God who are American Exceptionalists, who believe God intended Americans to have more rights than anyone else. Except for health care, where according to them Americans have the "right" to die when they get sick if they are not rich. But they call that a right, too.

  •  Here's the hirearchy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gnbhull, StrayCat

    God -> Romney/Ryan -> little people.

    If you want to talk to God, you talk to Romney/Ryan, and then if they feel like it, they will put in a good word for you.

    Now get back to work with the job we provided.  Oh, we didn't provide one ?  God said you don't get one.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 07:26:51 PM PDT

  •  As someone with fewer rights than most... (10+ / 0-)

    ...people, I have to say that if the government doesn't recognize you have rights, you don't have them...because it is unlikely your neighbors are going to recognize them.

  •  Declaration of Independence is a divorce decree (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marleycat, sagesource, michaeledward

    The Constitution is a new set of wedding vows. I don't know any couple that refers back to their divorce decree for marital guidance.

  •  as a practicing christian (6+ / 0-)

    i find the gop's constant use of religion as a weapon so very offensive.

    i have "rights" from the god that i believe in that have nothing to do with any government.  

    all humans have human rights regardless of their gods or governments.  

    i do not understand why this is such a difficult concept.  

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 07:53:02 PM PDT

    •  It’s not a difficult concept, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michaeledward, Angela Quattrano

      It’s just a little difficult to define.  

      “Natural” or “god given” rights are anything you can do by yourself, in the middle of nowhere.   They include standing, sitting, picking your nose, starving and being eaten by a bear.  You also have a “god given right” to kill anything you want (and can), including any person(s) who intrudes on your solitude.  Unless, of course, they are bigger, faster or more numerous . . . in which case they have a “god given right’ to kill you.  Or enslave you.  Or whatever they want to do to you.  That’s how it is . . . how god and nature made it.  The race does go to the swift . . .

      All other “rights” (all “rights” where other people are involved) are derived from some social agreement, including an agreement to use “social force” to enforce fulfill or protect them . . . that is to say, rules, laws and “government”.  And such “rights” almost always devolve to either an assertion that others may not use force or power that they otherwise have to constrain or compel you, or that “the government” has a duty to you (as part of the “social contract”, whatever that is).

      Such "human rights" as "all humans have" are pretty much worthless in any social context (absent agreement and an enforcement mechanism).

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 08:49:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This points to, I'll note in passing, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, 84thProblem, trueblueliberal

        the inherent fallacy of the "right to life" movement . . . if there is a god given "right to life" then there is no need for man or government to enforce it. If it requires pickets, petitions or Constitutional Amendment to enforce then it is not "god given" in the first place . . . it is a social choice, or not, and "god" has nothing to do with it.

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 09:05:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The founders were very clever.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat

    as I stated here...

    Rather than celebrating the true genius of Jefferson and Madison, who placed man’s liberty within the possession of their deistic God and so out of the reach of autocrats, than secured God himself in the hearts and minds of men and so finally out of the reach of theocrats
    ...by assigning mans' rights to God (or natural law) they denied the right of governments to abridge them.

    They could hardly foresee the liberties (heh) baggers would take with their game of three card Monte but would have sighed and tolerated them....

    There is a much larger story to be told of their intent and our duty to tell it....

     

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 08:21:17 PM PDT

  •  Rights aren't given (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby

    so much as they are taken.

    If we are not vigilant

    rights will be taken away.

    A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by notrouble on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 09:03:32 PM PDT

  •  Nature's law says (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michaeledward

    the big guy eats the little guy and spits out the bones. We have "rights" when we live in a civil society. Let's send Mitt and Petey to talk to the Somali pirates about their god-given rights!

    Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

    by Debby on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 09:51:53 PM PDT

  •  Nice work - thanks :) nt (0+ / 0-)

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 10:36:29 PM PDT

  •  and this, among other things, (0+ / 0-)

    is what guarantees a loss in nov., for the romney-ryan ticket. the overt pandering to their (relatively small) religious fundamentalist base. this will prove anathema to the vast majority of the voting public, who themselves may believe in god, but not the god of the tiny few, who currently seem to hold sway (by dint of being really loud) in the republican party. romney-ryan can't just turn it on and off at will, and it will sink them.

    eventually, as the tiny but loud few die off, their influence in republican party politics will diminish as well, allowing the party to become "normal" again. by that time, it may be too late.

  •  Precisely! (0+ / 0-)

    What foolishness.  But keep in mind this is the same party that says health care is not a human right.  They don't believe in fundamental human rights.  They believe that money rules us all.  And if those with money say we have rights then we do.  Fuck the GOP.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 04:17:13 AM PDT

  •  Hey gang, guess what? You're all wrong! (2+ / 0-)

    The late, great, George Carlin
    was right,
    I'm right,
    and the rest of you
    have it backwards.

    There are no rights.

    There

    are

    no

    rights.

    We have obligations,
    not rights.

    What we do have,
    is a collection of human animals,
    who use language
    to attempt,
    and often fail,
    to anticipate future situations,
    and write up rules and regulations,
    lists of obligations,
    in order to make things happen
    within certain fuzzy boundaries.

    That's all we have.

    Some folks,
    like the founding fathers,
    and everyone else so far in this thread,
    like to state the situation backwards,
    by starting with certain goals,
    broad goals,
    such as happiness,
    impossible to define,
    but who cares,
    charge ahead anyway,
    and use language
    to write up lots of rules,
    hoping the rules
    will somehow enhance
    someone's happiness.

    It's a crazy mish mash.

    A much better way to understand
    human interaction
    is to look at community standards.

    I wrote a diary here recently
    about community standards.

    That's the key to understanding
    what we need to do.

    That's the basis for the Declaration,
    the Constitution,
    and all the wonderful words we use
    to establish boundaries,
    to chase down happiness.

    Once again,
    I have no rights,
    but you should behave in such a way
    that I can find happiness.

    If you rob me at gunpoint,
    that slows down my chasing,
    my chasing after happiness.

    So,
    you have an obligation,
    an obligation
    to point your gun somewhere else,
    and let me keep my dollars,
    and let me eat my sandwich.

    You have an obligation,
    in many situations,
    to stay out of my way.

    But that's obligations you have,
    not rights I have.

    One more time:

    We
    have
    no
    rights.

    Thanks for reading.

  •  I'm not sure about this.... the notion (0+ / 0-)

    that simply by being born a human being means that you are entitled to certain rights-- rights to speak freely, for example, the right not to be enslaved... this is a good thing.

    If the concept of human rights is something that can be determined by a committee of fellow humans, what is to stop these fellow humans from instituting a caste system?

    Think about the rich bastards at the 1%. They would certainly agree that "natural order" seems to have "selected" them for rule over the unwashed masses. For them, a caste system would benefit greatly.

    No. Rights are just there, they exist for the individual human as a natural given, as surely as oxygen. No matter how many millions of voters you can amass to file paperwork to take rights away from another person, that does not make it right. Only those adjudicated of certain crimes lose their rights, and they don't lose all of them.

    I fear this is dangerous territory to be walking into.

    •  Deist ethics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      michaeledward

      has always involved a good deal of hand-waving.  The Judeo-Christian crowd can build an ethics out of scripture, and come out with something amazing like Bonhoeffer's resistance to Hitler.

      But when you want to oppose a king, you need an authority higher than the king.  And when your God is just a logical construct, and you have no scriptures, you have to talk real fast.

      The only reason it worked is because a very large number of the "founding fathers" were swayed by the writings of John Locke.  Today, not too many people read Locke.

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 05:57:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The idea of inalienable rights granted by God (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat

      or Nature comes from a clear philosophical tradition. Today, the political philosophers are Ronald Reagan and Joe the Plumber. Back then, it was John Locke and Rousseau. Anyone learning civics today should learn about the intellectual roots of the Declaration of Independence, Deism v. Christianity, but philosophy and liberal arts education is now considered superfluous, passe, effete snobbery (thanks Spiro Agnew).

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 07:50:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you could elucidate... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aznavy

      If all rights come from a creator or from nature, then what about the right to keep and bear arms, which is recognized only in this country? Did God and/or nature only grant that right to Americans, or is everybody else doing it wrong?

      •  I believe that is supposed to (0+ / 0-)

        elucidate a right of the plebeian classes to defend themselves from unjust assault by the Nobility-- back in the day, the profession of arms was a nobleman's undertaking, and the peasants had no recourse to arms if the King decided  to seize their property, etc.

        The right to self-defense against tyranny, essentially.

        Bear in mind, I am pro-RKBA and I can, in fact, see how this could be a Progressive value, so fair warning right there. I don't automatically see the ownership of firearms as a base and horrible thing fit only for scum and villainy.

  •  Regardless of where the rights come from, (0+ / 0-)

    the issue is whether agents of government respect them and carry out their obligations to promote and protect our welfare.

    From a practical standpoint, rights are derived from our human functions:

    speech
    association
    integrity
    reproduction
    perambulation
    respiration
    etc.

    Some of these are shared with other organisms and lead the most generous of us to postulate animal rights, as well.
    In any event, governments are not instituted and agents of government are not designated to deprive humans of their rights.  But, that's precisely what Romney/Ryan propose to effect.
    In part that's because, according to their line of thinking, humans are inherently bad and have to prove themselves worthy of staying alive and getting any protection from the vagaries of man and nature.
    It's a prejudice and, like many a prejudice, is attractive because it justifies preferred behavior.  Conservatives are not into giving or serving.  Conservatives take.  In that they are like natural predators, with the singular difference that other natural predators do not prey on their own kind. On the other hand, conservatives have sublimated their predatory impulses and refined them so that their destruction of their own kind is bloodless and vicarious, using money as their instrument of torture and the prey's eventual demise. "Not enough money" is a wonderful excuse for depriving others of what they need to be sustained.
    How do we know it's an excuse?  Well, lets take the matter of nutrition.  On a global basis enough food is being produced to provide a nutritious diet to 9 billion people.  Since there are only a little more than 6 billion extant at present, fully one third of what's being produced is going to waste and, since at least a billion are near starvation, the whole thing is a kerfuffle beyond belief.  Moreover, since the quantity of money, a figment of the imagination, we can produce is infinite, that there's not enough money or food to sustain the human population is an obvious lie.  
    Which only leaves the question, "why?"  And the answer to that is that some humans are into power, into lording it over their fellow man, and power, to be felt, has to hurt.  So, it is incumbent on those who seek power to deprive people of their rights -- and animals, too.  But, that's another matter.
    Ryan's a deprivator because he's a power addict. As with all addictions, there needs to be an intervention.
    Who's got the authority in a democracy?  We, the people.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

    by hannah on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 02:06:28 PM PDT

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