Rights and Government, Take Two.

When I wrote about how Rights have to exist independently of any particular government in order to exist at all, I thought that with only a little explanation it would be obvious.  That the “government grants rights” concept was something that people believe mainly because they just haven’t thought through the consequences of that position.  And yet, there was this person:


Seriously, how can a person seriously hold such a position?  How can a person be such a sheep as to believe that they only have a right to life if the government grants it to them?

If the only rights you have are those granted by government than no government can ever be said to violate “human rights.” The rights, after all, are what the government says they are, neither more nor less.  The UN Human Rights Council is meaningless. (Well, I agree it is, but not because rights are only what governments say they are, but because of the UN’s penchant for putting representatives there whose positions are anathema to the very idea of human rights.) All the “sanctions” against various nations for violating human rights?  In error because how can a government that gets to decide what rights one does or does not have possibly violate rights.  If it kills you, has it not simply decided you don’t have a right to life?  If it imprisons you, has it not simply decided you do not have a right to liberty?  If it impoverishes you, has it not simply decided you do not have a right to property?  And so on.

I would like to think that the person with the obscured name was engaging in satire or sarcasm but the wording of the comment suggests otherwise.  This person apparently truly believes that the right to life–the most fundamental of all rights as one cannot hold any other right from the grave–is only yours if government permits it to you.

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men [in the vernacular of the time, this structure was general–all persons male, female, or the occasional other] are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men deriving their just power from the consent of the governed.”

How remarkably naive that seems in the light of Obscured Name’s comment.  What should be self-evident is not so very evident at all.

With positions like that Obscured Name up there is sowing the wind.  Let us pray that we do not reap the whirlwind.

4 thoughts on “Rights and Government, Take Two.”

  1. I would even suspect that she doesn’t really believe it- not for her own life, liberty, and property anyway.
    The almost universal human core concept of “You are people in the same way that I’m people, and thus you should be treated the same way I want to be treated”is a hard one for some people to grok.
    The very idea that the government could decide to take her property, restrict her liberty, make her a slave, or liquidate her has never really entered her mind.
    Because Of Course she’s of the Right Sort of People! It’s those lesser deplorable fly over serfs that would be on the chopping block- for their own good, of course.


  2. It is ideas like this that make me certain that we need every citizen to affirm, upon their majority their understanding of their rights and responsibilities. In a perfect world (read my dreamed up version) failure to affirm and prove an understanding of these rights and responsibilities would result in never attaining a right to vote or run for political office. Yes I know this is reality and that is not an option, but give me the magic wand and that is a change I would make.


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