Tell me about the rights you have. You know, that list of demands that society owes you for simply breathing and consuming Mickey D’s.
We have a distorted obsession with rights. Its a feel good crutch perpetuated by a self-entitled population. Our right to free healthcare. Our right to affordable birth control. Our right to free speech. Bear arms. Fair trial. The list goes on.
Where we are confused is that these aren’t rights, given by God. These are agreements. These are deals we make to our government. And for that matter they’re bad deals. We pay our taxes and behave good and in return we’re told that our “rights” will be protected by the government.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Unalienable: Unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. Really? I can’t take away your life? You couldn’t be kidnapped tomorrow and chained to a fireplace, devoid of all liberty? Assuming that this patriotic aphorism is not biblical in nature, referring to spiritual life, liberty, and happiness, I would say that it is quite fanciful.
Here’s the point: Your rights mean nothing.
Not by themselves at least. They mean nothing because, unless someone is protecting them, they can be taken away.
Like a nation with no borders, no one is protecting your rights from devastation.
Is the government going to intervene and save your life if an axe-murderer shows up in your favorite restaurant this Friday night? The answer is probably no. So much for your right to life. More than likely the cops will show up a couple hours later and dust for fingerprints. If the government can’t protect our lives, what makes us think that they can protect our so-called rights?
Rights are merely part of a badly written contract we make with the government. No one cares about your right to free speech. If you don’t believe me, post the N-word on your Facebook status or better yet on your front lawn and see how many death threats you can get. The government won’t intervene.
Your right to affordable healthcare? As altruistic as it might sound, its nothing more than a feel-good entitlement the big man offers to get your vote and good behavior. I mean, do you really believe that healthcare professionals should work at a discount to fulfill your right? Or should someone else just foot the bill?
Let’s take a second look at Thomas Jefferson’s most quotable line:
“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.”
The first problem is that Jefferson was not only misleading, but down right lazy. Self-evident? Basically we hold these truths to be truth because they are true. An intellectual short-cut that ends up as a not-so-intellectual tautology.
The second problem is that it all sounds so good! Who doesn’t want to jump on this bandwagon? Its fair. And when it comes to the subject of fair, we all become experts, even when we have no idea what we’re talking about. All men created equal? Physically? No. Mentally? No. With regards to treatment by the government? We can hope. But it sounds so good, so we latch on to it. It is, after all, self-evident.
Finally, the not so subtle evocation of our Creator. Being a Christian, i believe in God whole heartedly. But Jefferson’s calling upon God to support his argument serves as a semantic stop sign basically saying “don’t ask questions, Shut-up and color” to a generally pious audience. Like I said earlier, if Thomas Jefferson was speaking in a merely spiritual sense, I would agree. But I don’t suspect that to be the case.
Listen. I know this comes as a shock. Especially after spending all of your student years being fed the idea that God wants you to have free health-care and bear arms. Who doesn’t like the idea of having natural rights owed to them from birth? Its human instinct. But nothing in this world is yours without earning it, taking it, receiving it, and/or defending it.