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We hold these rights not to be self-evident

With the rioting, threats, and petulant demands by many of the world's Muslims over cartoons being revisited by South Park this last two weeks, I was put in mind of something I've been thinking about for some time. The United States Constitution spells out a set of rights for all people within the United States, and adds that these are not the only ones. (See the Bill Of Rights). Over the years, they have been expanded both explicitly and implicitly, but there are a whole set of so-called "rights" that have been gaining more and more prominence -- and they need to be addressed.

1) The right not to be offended.

"Offense" has no absolute meaning. What someone might find offensive, another might find amusing, thought-provoking, or even laudable. The government has absolutely no business deciding what is so offensive to certain people that it will protect them with the full force of law from having their proprieties assailed.

2) The right to a job.

Nobody has a right to get any job, or any specific job. That is strictly a matter between the potential employer and applicant. There are discrimination laws that need to be enforced, but no employer should be forced to hire and keep a worker.

3) The right to come to the United States in a time, place, and manner of your own choosing.

The United States has quite possibly the laxest laws regarding immigration in the world. Whether seeking to visit, work, live, or even obtain citizenship, we are the most welcoming nation on earth. But we do have set rules and policies, and it is our right to demand they be followed -- regardless of whether it might make a head of lettuce cost another dime or so, or whether high-school kids will rediscover the joys of earning extra cash mowing lawns.

4) The right to get money from the United States government.

For years and years, it has been the stated policy that no money or assistance would be given to terrorist organizations. Hamas has been pretty high on that list for some time. We stated long before the recent Palestinian elections that our policy would not change, that there would be no exception granted, should Hamas succeed in their attempt to subsume the Palestinian Authority. Now we're hearing all kinds of whines because we are actually doing that.

5) The right to free health care.

This one especially frosts me. There is no such thing as "free health care." As the old saying goes, if you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free. What these folks are demanding is that someone else pay for their health care. Perhaps they think the doctors should work for free. Perhaps they want the government to pay for it, which means that everyone else pays for it. Or maybe the insurance companies should simply "eat" the costs, right up until they are sued by their stockholders or go out of business entirely. I definitely think that there needs to be a revamping of the financial side of health care, but to "fix" it by putting the government in charge of it is insane.

I'm a bit of a libertarian, and one of the tenets of that philosophy is that if you want to find the most inefficient, most cumbersome, most inept way to achieve a goal, put the government in charge of it. There are certain areas where the government is the only body that can do certain things -- national defense is one, along with maintaining the road systems and carrying out our relations with other nations -- but by and large, it's simply the laziest approach to a problem.

And never forget: "the government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference We hold these rights not to be self-evident:

» The Thunder Run linked with Web Reconnaissance for 04/14/2006

» Conservative Outpost linked with Daily Summary

» The Pretend Pundit linked with Illegal Immigrants Are Free Market Economists

» Joust The Facts linked with A Mass. Health Gamble II

» The Pretend Pundit linked with Mexico: America's 51st State

» Adam's Blog linked with Blog Round Up

Comments (31)

Re: #5Reading this... (Below threshold)

Re: #5

Reading this, I kept thinking back to the video that showed an American (by American I mean U.S.) woman very passionately telling the person holding the microphone, "If a dictator provides clean water for their people... if a dictator provides free health care, I like that dictator...". I don't think some realized at what a horrific idea that woman was advocating because one the surface it sounded noble.

What this lady seemed to miss is that government has no wealth. It's just a proxy, a middle-man. In order for governement to 'give' something to one group, government must take it from another. The only means government has available to it to accomplish its goals is the threat of or the use of force. Once we decide that a proper function of government is take from one group by force in order to 'give' to another we cease to be a free society and become a society of cannibals, feeding off of one another.

- MikeB

What's frightening is that ... (Below threshold)

What's frightening is that the "right not to be offended' junk seems to have taken root here in the U.S. Down at the University of Virginia, students recently tried to go the extra mile to establish what amounted to a speech code, and at least one forum, students were concerned that w/o the code, they might have to hear something that offended them.

Granted, those students most concerned were the ones who were international students, but still ... you'd think that the free speech attitude would rub off on int'l students, not the other way around.


MikeB,Took a grad ... (Below threshold)


Took a grad class in Latin American history a few years ago. I was by far the oldest student, and I was shocked at what I heard from my younger peers. We had to give oral presentations, and several of my peers did their's on Cuba or communist Nicaragua... which they praises to the skies because they have / had free health care and literacy programs! They absolutely didn't understand - and, in fact, were rather outraged - at the US efforts to isolate or destroy those regimes.

Health care has become the Holy Grail of many people, and not just on the left. The enervating belief that somebody else should provide for one's wants and needs is widespread in our country, and I fear what will come of it. How many people are willing to chuck our American liberties in exchange for promises from some politician that he'll "take care it them"?

PW, universities have been ... (Below threshold)

PW, universities have been trying to protect "the right not to be offended" since the 1980s at least. It's far more alarming that it's also happening away from universities now.

Or would be, if so damn many of the stupid trends this country has subjected itself to since the 1960s hadn't started in universities.

Don't forget the right to R... (Below threshold)
Mrs. Davis:

Don't forget the right to RESPECT.

Why is it that those who se... (Below threshold)

Why is it that those who seem to demand the "right not to be offended" are ususally horribly offensive [at least to me]?

This goes equally to those worried about sex, religion, or sports.


You left out an important r... (Below threshold)
Terry Beckner:

You left out an important right. The right to public speech without any consequences. That has become a much exercised right, especially with Hollywood celebrities.

I believe Epador hit it on... (Below threshold)

I believe Epador hit it on the head, the ones that are so offended by everything are the ones that are the most offensive!

I think people get confused... (Below threshold)

I think people get confused with the whole issue of rights. We have so many in this country, and it's a good thing. But some start feeling like they're entitled to every little thing their heart desires under the guise that it's their "right" to have it. Such as the "right not to be offended" as if it's everyone else's mission to tread ever so softly when you're around them.

Jay Tea:It's a goo... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea:

It's a good post. I'd suggest adding "the Right to Equal Outcomes". Government needs to tax the rich and give to the poor because it isn't fair that some people have more money than others.

I also liked something that Speaker Gingrich said before the 1994 elections:

"The Declaration of Independence says '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.' Pursuit is an active verb. Pursuit implies that your doing something. It doesn't mention happiness stamps, happiness entitlement, or a U.S.Department of Happiness. We are a vigorous and robust society.

The motto for the State of New Hampshire says, 'Live free or die.' It does not say 'Live free or whine.'"

My favorite (?!?) that I re... (Below threshold)

My favorite (?!?) that I recently read was a woman saying "A baby does not have a right to inhabit my body." Wrap your head around that one.

How about the rights of tax... (Below threshold)

How about the rights of taxpayers to keep their own money. The right to own your own home free and clear of threats by government.

6. The right to be browbeat... (Below threshold)

6. The right to be browbeaten in the most ponderous, ponderous manner by a person whose only qualifications are his willingness to reach into his bag of frowzy, unoriginal and uninspired rhetoric, and recast whatever is rolling around in the Bushite Theocratic echo chamber as "argument."

7. The right to promote elective wars that you yourself are unwilling to fight.

Wow, your self-perception i... (Below threshold)

Wow, your self-perception is acute astigfa.

Re: #5 - The next time some... (Below threshold)

Re: #5 - The next time someone is advocating "free" healthcare, you just tell them to come over here (the UK) and see how well that's going for us.

(And, of course, the next logical step after socialised medicine is socialised dentistry. Like we have here. And, of course, Brits have such wonderful teeth. That, at least, should shock advocates of "free" healthcare in your country into realising what a bad idea it is!)

8.) The right for Jay Tea t... (Below threshold)

8.) The right for Jay Tea to call Ted Kennedy a
"wetback." Hilarious.

astigfa, you have the right... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

astigfa, you have the right to post Michael Moore idioms and pretend they at least sound logical.

My mother seems to think th... (Below threshold)

My mother seems to think that free health care is a good idea, which is odd considering the rest of her political views. I don't think she understands that "free" health care is never free, and it's destined to be corrupted and broken.

What's the point of free health care if there are no real rights to enjoy in health (like private property, free speech, and so on)?

And never forget: "the g... (Below threshold)

And never forget: "the government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."

Right, and the debt ceiling is headed for $9 trillion under Republican leadership in the House, Senate, White House and the fiery Halls of Hell. And the government payroll is ever so much bigger than it was when Bush backed into the White House. Do these words have meaning for you?

Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Didn't think so...

Oh: Epador, make a little drawing of what I said, then make a little drawing of what you said -- you know, the parts of speech, concrete references, nouns and verbs and so on. Maybe your teacher can help you, or your mom or dad, or maybe the nice person who helps you out in the dayroom, the one who wipes you and helps put your pajamas on.

Do you know what I mean now? Know what you said and all? Still need help?

Well, Mac Lorry, my old, I ... (Below threshold)

Well, Mac Lorry, my old, I haven't read MM, but maybe I should -- if you recommend him.

astigafa,Your #7 i... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


Your #7 is right out of Moore's routine. What has the world come to when the loony left has to plagiarize the even loonier left. Don't you have any ideas of your own?

Your #7 is right out of ... (Below threshold)

Your #7 is right out of Moore's routine.

Haven't seen it. And I am truly the "loony left": veteran, gun lover, voted for Ford, Reagan, Dole, Bush II -- definitely looney. Would vote for any of those guys again, except most definitely and particularly Bush.

-- Actually sat in a comfy chair up in the Presidential Suite at the Pantland Hotel in Grand Rapids many years ago and swilled too much of Gerry Ford's very good booze, a claim that no other "conservative" in this virtual room can make. He's a great guy, hope he's doing okay. So: yeah. Nuts. Out there.

But I am a veteran, joined when no one else would back at the end of the Vietnam war, having heard enough of radical feminism and antipsychiatry and all that shit in college, those people trying to beat patriotism out of students -- a very lonely kind of gig, back then. So I definitely feel that there is virtue in military service; maybe you wouldn't agree, not having been there, right?

What we're talking about here are simple, widely-known facts. I repeat no man's cant, can refute every charge of having done so. Where exactly did Cheney serve? Bush? The communists were coming to get us, remember. There was a war on; now there's a wall with 60 thousand names on it in Washington. "Dulce et decorum," I say. And if you were the kind of person who knew where that line came from, we wouldn't be having this chat.

So what did Dick Cheney do during the war, any goddamn war? George? Kim? JT? Kevin? You?

Now I hold Michael Moore to be a subliterate sensationalist with an overpowering need for approval from the people he mistakenly perceives to be his peers. He makes me very sad. Won't someone, not to say the grim reaper, help this poor man?

But if MM has indeed said this thing, then perhaps he's not entirely helpless. Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.

To put it simple (Kim or JT might be reading this): Saying something similar to something somebody else has said does not detract from its truth or accuracy in the least. If you disagree with the assertion, attack the question. Refute it; take it apart; answer the question is poses.

Straight up, now, Mac: Are veterans benefits social entitlements in your book?

If your answer is no, great, fine, I agree. A contract is a contract, and these people are fighting and dying for us.

If your answer is yes, please explain it for the benefit (no pun intended) of the milbloggers and veterans hither and yon who read this thing, erroneously believing that they have friends here.

And remember to answer the question before you post your sophomoric insults, children. It pains me to have to reeducate so many stunted beings.

Actually sat in a ... (Below threshold)
Actually sat in a comfy chair up in the Presidential Suite at the Pantland Hotel in Grand Rapids many years ago and swilled too much of Gerry Ford's very good booze, a claim that no other "conservative" in this virtual room can make. He's a great guy, hope he's doing okay. So: yeah. Nuts. Out there.

Well, of course you are -- if you expect us to believe any of that.

I don't expect you to belie... (Below threshold)

I don't expect you to believe anything. In fact, I don't think you believe anything or believe in anything -- not God, not small government, not life, nothing.

You neocons believe in a pragmatical program that changes with every broken wind. You are against gambling -- until one of your darlings is caught gambling. You are against drug abuse -- until one of your leaders is caught abusing drugs. You will seize power while shrieking about the sins of large government -- and then you will grow that government beyong anything any socialist has ever conceived of. Stealing, lying, cheating, robbing, ripping, raping -- it's morally wrong until some neocon somewhere is caught red-state-handed. You are not against immorality: you are against liberal Democratic immorality.

My personal view is that one day scientists will establish the existence of a gay gene, and then abortion will seem like a very reasonable thing to you.


astigafa, are you familar w... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

astigafa, are you familar with the internet term "Moby?" You should be.

The kicker is asking where Bush served. Since he flew one of the most dangerous jets of the Vietnam era, and joined the squadron when it was expected to be deployed to 'Nam, known facts that no Leftroid has ever successfully rebutted, use of this question is a sure sign of a moonbat. It would be like a moderate or a conservative pretending to be a Leftroid but pointing out that Carter displayed unforgivable cowardice in the face of an enemy when he allowed a nation-state to occupy an American embassy and hold hostages without an appropriate response to an act of war.

It just ain't part of the thinking. Good try, though, almost had me convinced until that point. Then your rant following up blew away any credibility your previous statement had.

Well, almost ain't good eno... (Below threshold)

Well, almost ain't good enough, partner.

Gosh I...guess I'm not wanted >. Guess I'll...go back to the left.

If you only realized how *good* that makes me feel...

Jay Tea, maybe you should c... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, maybe you should check out this old post of mine that addressed this issue 4 years ago. I present to you The Bill Of No Rights.

astigafa,I don't g... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


I don't get into personal information too much on the web. First it's totally irrelevant in this forum as only knowledge, reason and the ability to articulate them has weight. Second, no one can prove or disprove personal information and some have made claims not supported by the content of their writing. You say you're a conservative and a veteran, but you wrote and defend this statement:

7. The right to promote elective wars that you yourself are unwilling to fight.

Basically you're saying that it's disingenuous to promote an elective war if a person is unwilling to fight. More specifically you are saying that it's disingenuous to promote the war in Iraq and Afghanistan even for veterans who have already done their part in defending this nation. You are saying the same about all people who because of age, physical condition, or circumstance are unwilling to personally go and fight a war.

It's your statement I'm arguing with, not you personally, so it doesn't matter if you are a true conservative and a veteran. Tell me what's wrong with my argument, not who you are.

Straight up, now, Mac: Are veterans benefits social entitlements in your book?

Veterans earn their benefits by their service and the risks involved with that service. Even if a particular person didn't serve in a combat zone, the fact that they were under orders and could have been sent into combat is what counts in my book. I would add benefits such as for every year of active duty a person could take a 100% exemption on their federal income tax return in whatever years they pick. This would help offset the finical hardship of serving, and I would make it retroactive.

astigafa, I'll have you kno... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

astigafa, I'll have you know that I'm a veteran of two wars, with five Purple Hearts, a triple amputee, and two Medals of Honor. So take your candy-assed career and shove it.

Obviously, I'm being facetious here. But the point behind it is simple: you're trying to cheat your way out of the debate. You're not bothering to refute the arguments, but instead want to make the fight about the debaters, not the topic at hand. I've gone after that before (http://wizbangblog.com/2005/06/27/id-rather-be-a-chickenhawk-than-a-chickensht.php), and everything I said there still stands true.

Why are you so afraid of actually debating the issue? Why do you need to make it about the people, and not the facts?

I suspect I already know the answer.


Right, and the debt ceil... (Below threshold)

Right, and the debt ceiling is headed for $9 trillion under Republican leadership in the House, Senate, White House and the fiery Halls of Hell. And the government payroll is ever so much bigger than it was when Bush backed into the White House. Do these words have meaning for you?

Yes, they do ...

>$3 Trillion of that debt is from the failed experiements of the Great Society and the War on Poverty ... a quagmire if there ever was one. When are the proponents of THAT war going to admit their errors, and in some cases resign from Congress?

>Just as it was with Reagan, increased spending is the price you pay when your opposition has the numbers to obstruct common-sense, essential legislation, and the will to do so for crass political gain.

>Part of that debt also comes from the cost of rebuilding our military, after cashing in the "peace dividend" in the 1990's by whittling our forces down ... which may actually have a silver lining, as it compelled us to use technology to leverage manpower, keeping our troops safer while making them more productive in their deadly profession ... lessening the number of troops needed to achieve a particular objective.

>Keep in mind, the cost of this war to date is approximately what we pay in less than TWO years as a nation, to prove to the IRS that we didn't cheat on our taxes. If you are concerned about costs, you should be behind the Fair Tax, as it eliminates almost all those "compliance costs".

Short of that, at least support making the President's tax cuts permanent ... as they increased the revenue coming into the Treasury, reducing that defecit from what it might have been.

Have you never encountered ... (Below threshold)

Have you never encountered the well-known fact that the current system of health-care administration by private providers and insurers is responsible for incredibly high costs and inefficiencies because of the massive bureaucracies these companies keep in order to minimize their liability? Something like 17% of all money spent by people in this country on health care ends up wasted in this way. It's actually a simple example of a system in which centralization would benefit everyone. If you weren't so dogmatic about your economic libertarianism you would accept this fact.






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