Certain Unalienable Rights
by Larry Perrault on July 5, 2010 at 11:42 AM
The Declaration Of Independence asserted inherent creator-endowed "unalienable" rights. "Unalienable" means that they not only cannot be taken away by other parties including government, they cannot even be voluntarily surrendered. You may not surrender your liberty into indentured servitude, for example. If you enter into such a contract, you may appeal at any time to the standard of the land to assert your freedom, nonetheless. It has been for a long time considered illegitimate to authorize the taking of your own life, except now in Oregon and Washington which have legalized it, and Ohio, where the state Supreme Court has ruled assisted suicide "not a crime." So, the sanctity of life is in something of a decline. And of course, The US Supreme Court ruled in a dramatic spasm of judicial invention over 35 years ago, that any woman anywhere in the US, has a "constitutional right" to terminate the life of her unborn child.
Understand, since such a matter is incomparably intimate, I don't think the US government (rather than states and localities) should or can enforce the right to life of an unborn child even if it intended to, which it plainly does not. However, I believe that any society that absorbs the idea that the life of its own offspring is a matter of personal convenience, has taken a decisive step in the direction of suicidal selfish incivility. Some may object that long abortion-practicing Europe is a very socially decent society. Oh, really? European (and Canadian) governments at the moment are more modest than the US government about expanding already impossible debt. Why? Many of them, with some having already arrived, are staring directly into the face of outright default. And there is no tolerance among the people for the austerity measures proposed or imposed that compromise promised but unaffordable benefits. Responses involve fires, vandalism, and marching in the streets. Coincidence? I think not. But, the federal government shouldn't sanction abortion any more than it does common murder.
But, consider that in the Constitution, Americans are afforded not the right to property, but the protection of private property, the pursuit of which is a natural right. So, think about how these are treated today:
Life - Abortion, end of life counseling, rationed health care
Liberty - Endless regulation of commercial interaction
Property - " and income, capital, and death taxation
Obviously we don't believe in American exceptionalism, because there no longer is anything exceptional about life in America. All of our founding principles are openly defied by our own government.
Republicans advocate for tax cuts to motivate the economy, which is the occasion for charges that they favor the rich. Is there really no way to communicate the truth to the public that has been so jaundiced by mass-culture and public education? In the past few weeks I have been startled a couple of times at how such perception has seeped into my own household. Once an opinion was offered that I must be a jingoist. Merriam-Webster defines jingoism as an extreme chauvinistic nationalism particularly marked by a belligerent foreign policy. Belligerent? Moi? Where did that come from? I find no one in Congress clearer than Ron Paul on fiscal and monetary policy and I even agree we should be as modest as policy in our foreign policy, and I do think we oughtn't encourage countries to be complacent and entirely depend on American troops that have been present in some places for 50-60+ years. But, I scratch my head and recoil at Paul's seeming indifference to security exposure and to foreign brutalities, which concerns I think were conjoined in Iraq. But, I'm not biased about a people or a piece of geography and I don't favor tax cuts merely for their own sake. I favor liberty and private property, which The United States is fast losing respect for.
I can't even recall what it was, but I obviously was saying something critical about a business on another occasion (perhaps along the lines that businesses, especially publicly traded ones, tend to follow money more than principle). But it was thought that as a conservative, I was supposed to favor businesses. But no, I don't favor businesses or even America. I favor liberty. And, it seems that Republicans should make that their clarion call as well. Republicans should make it clear that they are the party of inalienable rights which should be invulnerable. And more than merely a satisfaction for the individual, the society as a whole prospers when liberty is respected and sacred. Not only should Republicans champion liberty, they should be clear that Democrats are hard about restricting it and the social benefits along with it.
A few days ago, video was posted of Milton Friedman on illegal immigration. Friedman was an extraordinary and facile explicator of the consequence of common-sense. Elsewhere, Friedman makes a point similar to what others sometimes make. He says that in world history in various cultures, what are called "golden ages, last between one and two hundred years. America was birthed as a unique experiment in liberty over 230 years ago. Certainly the past 100 is one of those golden ages, the most free, prosperous and productive civilization in the history of the planet. So, is it irrevocably past its prime? Has our corruption of the principles that produced this success, rendered them so damaged that they cannot be fully appreciated and restored in great parts of the populace?
I believe there is a truth about the virtue of these ideas that can be recognized by the diligent mind. But, that truth is so cluttered with the distortions of popular culture that it may only be restored by an overt and diligent effort or an undeniable collapse. I'm thinking too many Americans are too distracted by amusements and popular ideological clutter to engage a focused and diligent effort. I do think a significant collapse is approaching, but I'm not certain that the best and shortest route to restoration is to wait for it. There are many who appreciate those original ideals of The United States. Do they really need to suffer the collapse? And for those who do, will they not get there more quickly without the interminable struggle with the rest of us? What is the point of carrying on that debate that both sides regard as silly, with the debate consequently usually is comprised of scorn? The debate is not only usually unconstructive, it is usually not even congenial. Surely many people wonder why we engage it. There is no longer a relational contract. Why don't the two sides go their separate ways?
They can quickly have everything they want without an exasperating obstruction. And I surely think so high ideals merit a renewed and clear application. Why are we doing what we are doing? I'd really like to hear a good answer, because I haven't heard of one yet.