Friday, January 23, 2009

Misconceptions - Unalienable Rights

The teacher has just made the statement, "The basis of all morality is duty, a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual." He goes on to say, "a human being has no natural rights of any nature."

. . . . Somebody took the bait. "Sir? How about 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"

"Ah, yes, the 'unalienable rights.' Each year {in class} someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What 'right to life' has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What 'right' to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of 'right'? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man's right is 'unalienable'? And is it 'right'? As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost."

"The third 'right'? --- the 'pursuit of happiness'? It is indeed unalienable, but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can 'pursue happiness' as long as my brain lives --- but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it."

----Robert A. Heinlein, "Starship Troopers"

I was catching up on some news, that is, I had the radio on and was looking at some news websites. This is a not uncommon occurence for me, but I started to put some of these thoughts together again and decided to share. I know that this might upset some people, might offend others, and some may agree. If you want to share your point of view, leave me a comment, please. All I ask is that before jumping down my throat, you read the whole entry and think about it before yelling at me, OK? Ok, thanks... and awayyyy we go...

But I was thinking about this book and looking at some of the headlines. These are some headlines that we, as Americans, could see and hear about every day if we look at the national news. Its almost a constant. Civil Rights are being violated here or there, this group is fighting for their rights, Civil Rights, workers rights, gay rights, whatever it happens to be. Every group in America seems to think that they deserve or are entitled to have their own special rights. I know that many people have discussed this or similar topics in the past, but as I was writing the last post about Cultural Oxymorons, it got me thinking about this quote and boom, Bob's your uncle, and you have this post.

So many of these groups fought tooth and nail to be included in the mainstream of American culture, but now that they are there, they want to have special rights. "Seperate but Equal" was a bad thing when it was imposed from the outside, but now that they are doing it to themselves, its ok. The problem is, a lot of the "rights" that they want, are not equal. They are concessions to that group in particular.

In my opinion, if you want to segregate yourself, that's fine. But don't ask me to give you special permissions or leeway to do something that you want that I can't do either. Also, don't be udset if I decide to segregate myself as well. You want to have BET, and black student unions, and hispanic student unions, etc. Don't be made when I want to have a whites only group. Granted, I don't really care, but if you have the right to do that, then I should have the same right.

Remember, "All men are created Equal"... this is all of us, not, we are all created equal but some are more equal than others. We all should have the same rights. No matter how many or how few, they should all be the same.


HermitJim said...

I, for one, think you are right on the money with this post! This is a topic I have discussed many, many times and always it seems that folks think I am being racist or degrading or something like that when I even suggest it.

To me it seems simple...we are either equal or we are not. None are more special as a group than others...but then that's just my opinion.

Excellent post, my friend!

Joel the K said...

I think this is a very touchy subject. And although I am not offended, and I see your point, my point of view is somewhat different. Generally minorities form exclusive groups as a reaction. They most likely are at the bottom of the power tower and in order to be heard, or to make some kind of stand against whatever the particular majority is at the time, they form groups. Now if that minority later becomes the majority, at the top of the power tower. It would then be seen as an abuse of power and position for them to remain exclusive. In the near future nobody will raise a fuss if white only groups spring up. Because the other groups will have more power. It will be reactive. Just like we disdain secret societies who only tap the powerful for membership. They already have the wealth and power so we see it as an abomination. But if a group of garbage men make an exclusive group, nobody thinks anything of it because they are trying to move up. something like that. see you later Farmer. Good post. Love the Starship Trooper quotes.