Home » Political Theory » Goddamn it, Get it Right

Goddamn it, Get it Right

Rights are a concept invented to enshrine things we already have. So, for instance, from the moment when we emerge from our mother’s womb we have our life, and no one, not even the government, can take it away (lest ye be convicted in a court of law by a jury or try to take away someone else’s life, or property, in which case ye hath forfeited yer rights). Thus the three classical rights are the right to your life, your liberty, and your property, three things which can never be taken away involuntarily. By definition, there is no “right” to anything which must be given to you, especially not when it is being given to you by a government, since before a government can give anything to anyone, it must first take away something from someone else. It is the very foundation of modern society, it is the social contract upon which the western world has operated for four hundred years.

There is no “right” to healthcare. Healthcare doesn’t just exist, someone has to provide it. So if you are therefore entitled to receive it regardless of whether you can afford it, you would be guilty of taking either someone’s liberty (since labor without compensation is called slavery) or you are taking their property (since the materials cost money as does acquiring the intellectual abilities necessary to provide healthcare). It is this crossing of rights, however, that makes the topic of healthcare such a sticky wicket. Which is superior: the right to life, liberty, or property? All three are on the line when it comes to the issue of healthcare.

There is no “right” to unemployment benefit. How does being out of work entitle you to other people’s money? Sure, we have accepted the idea that as a society we will all pay taxes into a common pool which can then be withdrawn from by anyone who either can’t or won’t find employment, but by no means is the absence of this social construct enforced at the point of the government’s gun some grave sin that makes America little better than the third world. Ditto, food stamps or any other government benefit. Also, as it happens, why should these be rights anyway? Plenty of people who shouldn’t be getting these benefits are getting them. It’s not like the lack of a codified “right to food stamps” is causing mass starvation amongst the poor. Come to think of it, there is no “right to food” either, yet we all seem to be getting enough food. Strange, I thought if government doesn’t mandate something be provided no one will receive it (that’s satirical sarcasm of what liberal’s believe, in case you missed it).

But being able to buy a gun is a right, and here’s why: the government can’t deny you the ability to acquire a particular piece of property that does not in itself violate someone else’s rights. Likewise, you have the right to carry a gun because the simple act of being in public with a piece of your own property is an act the government cannot regulate when the piece of property in question is of no inherent danger to the public. If I choose to buy a gun, that decision affects no one but the gun seller and the gunsmith. If I choose to carry a gun in public (especially if concealed), it neither affects nor harms anyone simply by being in my pocket. Simply put: I could do it without the government and without violating anyone else’s rights, which therefore places it beyond government’s powers because our government is a government of limited powers. It says so, in the constitution. It also says I have a right to keep and carry a gun, if I so choose. So there.

The framers of the Constitution must have thought guns are pretty important, so they chose to enshrine them in the Constitution by protecting them from government. All that being said, however, the rest of Mr. Noble’s article is quite good.

-SL

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3 Comments

  1. t4rge says:

    I really don’t know what to make of your fury at me or at the article I wrote. It would appear that – for whatever reason – you completely misunderstood what I said, which is almost impossible to believe.

    I would first like to set you straight on a couple of points, on which you are completely wrong. Secondly, I would suggest you re-read the very excerpt from my article that you have re-posted here.

    To begin, The Guardian Express is neither Leftist, nor British; The Guardian newspaper is the one you are thinking of. Unfortunately, we have similar names. The Guardian Express – for which I write – is a fairly new site. We are in the process of growing, developing and hiring. We are based in Las Vegas, Nevada – which, last time I checked – is in the United States of America.

    The next point of contention is your utterly bizarre claim that I, myself, am a Leftist and am bashing America. If you are in college, I certainly hope you are not studying for a degree in either English language or Political Science, as you appear to have absolutely no grasp of either subject.

    Let’s take what I wrote piece by piece:

    “Gun ownership should not be a political issue, since it is a right enshrined in the Constitution.” – Please explain how you could possibly derive, from this sentence, that I am arguing AGAINST gun-ownership. I have cleary stated here that gun-ownership IS a right…and, unlike President Clinton, I do know the meaning of the word “is”!

    “Healthcare is not a right; unemployment benefit is not a right; receiving food stamps is not a right…” – so, here I am VERY CLEARLY saying that these things are NOT rights. How can you possibly have so profoundly misinterpreted this part? These things are not inalienable rights; they are things that the government provides you with and pays for with OTHER people’s money. I am completely opposed to this.

    “…but being able to purchase and – if you so choose – carry a firearm is a right.” One again, I could not possibly have made it any clearer that gun-ownership IS a RIGHT. It is enshrined in the Constitution and is, therefore, NOT up for debate!

    The rest of my article goes on to CLEARLY criticize the Senator from California – whom I despise totally, to be perfectly frank – for using a tragedy to further her agenda of disarming the American people.

    I would suggest you remove what you have written here and give it some thought. I am suggesting this as a favor to you, as an intelligent person that reads the above rant will be shaking their head, wondering – as I did – how you could have taken something very clear and concise and interpreted it as meaning the EXACT opposite of what it actually means.

    Sincerely,

    Graham J Noble, Libertarian/Constitutionalist
    The Guardian Express

    • barnettlanepolitics says:

      I am surprised you would bother to reply to such a two bit operation like this one, but I am flattered that you did. And what a reasonable response it is, indeed.

      Firstly, my apologies to your organization (and yourself, my insults were quite uncalled for, in hindsight). Living in Britain as I am, I simply assumed, wrongly as it turns out, that The Guardian Express was an off-shoot of some sort of the famously left-of-centre Guardian Newspaper. Had I bothered to do two minutes’ worth of searching, I am sure I would have realized my error. So, strike one.

      Next, because I thought you were writing for The Guardian, I assumed, again wrongly, that you were a leftist. Well, given the nature of your response, not to mention the rest of the original article (which, if you will note, I did say was quite well written in my original screed), I can only conclude and concur with your assertion that you are most certainly not coming from the left. Strike two.

      As for your other claims, believe it or not, I thought you were being sarcastic and taking a flippant jab at our political system (again, mistakenly thinking you were a foreigner). I thought you were trying to mock our lack of positive rights, rather than paean negative rights. That is how I ended up thinking you had made the opposite point you were intending to make. Strike three, I’m out. I do think, however, that had your organization not had “Guardian” in the name, I might have avoided making these errors in judgment. That of course does not excuse my laziness and asinine observations, but I do think it is something you should bear in mind as you expand your audience.

      However….misunderstandings aside, we actually agree almost completely on what it is we are writing about. Therefore while I will remove the sophomoric insults to your honorable person, I will not remove the discussion on the nature of rights, since I stand by the idea that rights exist to secure that which we already have. Indeed, that is a point you yourself seem to be making, so I see no reason why it should be removed.

      I am sorry to have wasted your time, but it goes to show that I shouldn’t read and then write “articles” at three o’clock in the morning.

      -SL

  2. I appreciate your response. I am actually from the U.K. originally and I am familiar with the Guardian. It is unfortunate that the name of our site is so similar and I can see how you would have assumed a connection. Looking again at what I wrote, I can also see how you might have assumed sarcasm, on my part; Liberal elitists are famous for their assumption that they are incredibly smart and it’s actually the sort of thing some pompous, left-wing jackass would have done.

    Cheers!

    Graham

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