Rights vs Privileges


June 14, 2009, 01:48 AM
Just one Man's Opinion

I know most people like to use the word RIGHTS. E.g. "I have the RIGHT to ......."; "That's MY RIGHT"; etc... Especially when it comes to the constitution and the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, something can only be a RIGHT if you actually OWN it; that no MAN can GIVE it to you; and no MAN can take it away. A privilege on the other hand is something that the OWNER of something GRANTS to another person. I.e. "Allowing you to cross my land, is a privilege that I GRANT TO YOU". I can take away that privilege any time I want to. You don't have any RIGHT to cross my land.

So, why do I bring this up. Because as much as people want to believe that our "Bill of Rights" are RIGHTS that the government does NOT GIVE us; and therefor can NOT TAKE AWAY from us; that actually isn't quite correct. And that is a very scary thing. There's a lot of complacency with our people. Many have no idea how fragile our constitution really is. Yet, because of how it was designed, it is very strong a durable. However; if we stay complacent; don't learn the REAL MEANING of the constitution; read and interpret what we want to believe instead of what's there; then we can potentially lose what we INTERPRET as Rights! I say interpret, because even the word "RIGHTS" have many Theoretical Distinctions. This is not an opinion, this is truth. And because of these distinctions; also known as "SEMANTICS"; what you may consider to be a "RIGHT" may not actually be one. Here are some things to think about. They can be food for thought; used to debate and comment; or used for toilet paper. But I truly believe that even thinking about them is very important.

"Rights" is a terms that many people believe is something that THEY HAVE POSSESSION of; not given by man; nor able to be taken away by man. I agree. Unfortunately, many of what people have written, said, and believe to be rights; actually aren't. And that's what scares me.

1. A "RIGHT" is something that CAN'T be taken away. Therefor; if a government can take away a person's RIGHT to vote, free speech, gun, etc... (EVEN TO JUST 1 PERSON); then it technically CAN NOT BE A RIGHT!!! A Right CAN'T be taken away. If a felon CAN'T possess a gun; then "Keep and Bear Arms" was NEVER a right for this individual, but rather a PRIVILEGE. A privilege that has been revoked. A person screaming obscenities or yelling fire in a theater, who is escorted out, therefor NEVER had the RIGHT to the government not "abridging the freedom of speech". It was simply a privilege that they revoked; albeit temporarily.

2. The constitution is simply a document that describes what power that "WE THE PEOPLE" have given; to the government. And as such; "We The People" have the ability to take back. Most people read the constitution and the "Bill of Rights" as though it is a list of all the things that "WE" have a right to. On the contrary. Read it closely and you'll see that the "Bill of Rights" specifically is a list of what the GOVERNMENT CAN NOT DO!!! I.e. The Government WON'T abridge your freedom to speak; WON'T infringe on you to keep and bear arms; WON'T search your house, person, property, etc... without REASON and approval; etc...

3. Remember; it was the "DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE" that actually gave us RIGHTS. These are "INALIENABLE" rights. "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Inalienable means they are natural. They aren't bound by any law. And the PURPOSE of the "Bill of Rights" was so that the government would not INFRINGE on our "ACTUAL RIGHTS" of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Every supposed RIGHT that many read in the "Bill of Rights" is not actually a "RIGHT". It is a clarification on the LIMITS of the Government, so that they wouldn't INFRINGE on the Rights of the People.

4. My final thought is that it was the "STATES" at the time who ratified and put the "Constitution" into force for the federal government. So that they could clearly define what power the different branches of Federal government would have. And they clearly state in the 10th amendment, that any power not specifically granted/delegated to the federal government, would reside with the State Government and People. This has been lost. We have allowed the Federal government to Blackmail, Extort, bully, etc... the states into doing the Federal Government's will instead of the Federal Government doing the state's will. E.g. There is no federal law that says the drinking age is to be 21 years old. However; the federal government has made it clear that if a state DOESN'T enact an age limit on alcohol consumption of 21 years old; the state would no longer receive federal highway funds. Which too, it was intended that the STATES would provide the federal government with funds. Not the federal government capable of generating their own funds.

This is what worries me the most. That there are those who think because they read the word “RIGHTS” that it is something that the government can't take away. Well, that's not true. The government takes away such Rights all the time. And they do it by PROXY; because “We The People” have given/allowed them the power to do such a thing. Because it was “We The People” who WROTE the Constitution of the United States saying what POWER we would allow the government to have. And even though we called them RIGHTS; we knew that because “We The People” consisted of MORE than one person; that such RIGHTS would have to have “Responsibilities” associated with them BY “We The People”. And if “We The People” were irresponsible, then such “Rights” could be tempered. And that's why it's important to realize that the only True Rights we have are those in the Declaration of Independence which mention “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. That the “Bill of Rights” is simply a means of putting RESTRICTIONS on the government so they wouldn't infringe on our Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. But even though the Declaration actually mentions our RIGHTS; RIGHTS have to be considerate of OTHER PEOPLE'S RIGHTS. And that's why, even though no MAN gave us those rights; MAN can temporarily restrict those RIGHTS. E.g. Prison sentence. I.e. If you Kill another person, your LIBERTY will be taken away from you; which will stop any “Pursuit of Happiness” that you may have wanted. And in some states, even your LIFE can be taken away from you. So, as "We The People", we need to stay alert and realize that when the government does something we don't agree with, that it is "We The People" who have elected them to do it. And only "We The People" can remove them from office.

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June 14, 2009, 02:25 AM
That was a very well thought out post. And I totally agree with you. I also think that progress is not always a good thing. And what this country needs is common sense. I always thought that particular thing was....well........common but i've come to realize thats not the case. Also there is not nearly as much political involvement by regular folks as there once was which means that an opinion on this bill or that ban ONLY matters if it is a voting opinion.

I have been guilty of complacency myself and have come to realize how much 1 vote may be worth. I have recently started to become more involved in such matters.

June 14, 2009, 02:45 AM
You are dead wrong I have a right to life & liberty that doesn't come from government and can't be taken away without killing me.

Case in point the German Government revoked the "priveledge" of liberty from the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. They demonstrated that their rights weren't dependent on government whim by arming themselves and fighting back. As did the Jews in the Sobibor & Treblinka death camps. As did the founding fathers when they went to war against Great Britan.

If my liberty is wrongfully taken from me I have the right to fight back with every means at my dispoal.

Harve Curry
June 14, 2009, 04:28 AM
Rockwell1 is correct.

June 14, 2009, 10:23 AM
I disagree. Rights can be taken away, and they are. A government can kill you, as tens of millions of people discovered in the 20th century alone. Does that make life a privilege?

Government can imprison you for your exercise of any number of rights. Speech, religion, etc.

The question here is not whether or not a right CAN be taken away, but whether or not a government has the moral authority to do so. The answer to that is governments have the authority to deprive citizens of their rights as long as the citizens allow it. I think this says it all:

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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

June 14, 2009, 11:08 AM
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

There it is, in a nut shell.

June 14, 2009, 11:58 AM
Driving in the USA is a privilege, you earn that ability to be able to drive.
Voting is a right offered to all adults, the right to bear arms is offered to all who are adults.
What you do in the course of life effects what rights you still are permitted. If you commit a felony (77% of all felons commit felonies over and over again, or they get into much worse or violent felonies) you are denied the right to bear arms legally by the majority decision of the citizens of the US because you proved you should not be permitted this right. Over time and a law abiding lifestyle you try to earn that right and the right to vote back, but I dont know of one specific example of a felon who has actually earned the right to bear arms back (again, falls back on that 77%).

June 14, 2009, 12:44 PM
In my opinion, the entire OP is a morass of misstatement and inaccuracies. The goal may be fine (be vigilant about your rights) but the path is untenable.

Defining a right as something that cannot be taken away from you infers that there is no such thing as a right. There is NOTHING, including your very LIFE, that cannot be taken from you.

My government does not grant me the privledge of existing. It's my RIGHT. The fact that the Government can kill me doesn't mean that it's not still a right.

The notion of a right, as envisioned by our founding fathers, is that a right is something that morally is bestowed upon all by the mere act of existence. As I stated in the other thread - a right can be taken away or bought, but it's still your right and the act of taking it implies an immoral act.

And, to continue that train of thought, it's important to define what a 'right' is/is not because we often define what we consider to be a crime based upon what we consider to be a person's inalienable rights. For example, it's a crime to kill somebody (outside of the boundaries of articulated self-defense) because everybody has a RIGHT to exist.

People SHOULD be vigilant about their rights, because they CAN be taken away by a government that defines the laws away from their intent. When it is no longer illegal to take away a right, the Government has become untenable.

But that doesn't mean that the subjects of that government don't have rights. It simply means that those rights are denied and that the Government is immoral.

June 14, 2009, 12:52 PM
I am simply stating 2 points.

1) If it was TRULY a RIGHT; then the government WOULDN'T be able to TAKE IT AWAY from you; nor would it be something that the government PERMITTED. Yes, the ability/desire to FIGHT BACK is definitely a right you have. You may not win in the fight, but it's definitely a RIGHT you have and something they can't take away from you.

2) Don't sleep under the "FALSE SECURITY" that because you and others consider these "RIGHTS" that they can't be taken away from you. They can. And as such; aren't actually rights to begin with. REMEMBER: "WE THE PEOPLE" is a whole lot of citizens. While WE have power when united; it is also this "WE THE PEOPLE" where the MAJORITY could affect a change in the constitution. I.e. The MAJORITY could affect a change that could redefine the 2nd Amendment. Don't say it can't happen. The fact that amendments to the constitution has been added since it's ratification; and some have even been repealed (Prohibition); means that they can be changed.

And just because the Bill of Rights was the original 10 amendments that were included with the ratification of the constitution; don't believe that they are somehow different or MORE SPECIAL. They aren't. People collectively is what "WE THE PEOPLE" are. And if enough band together, they can force change. That change may not necessarily be good or what we want. REMEMBER: In the days of the Declaration and Constitution; it was proclaimed that "ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL". People LOVE to quote this; especially when talking about their "INALIENABLE RIGHTS".

GUESS WHAT???? It doesn't mean WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS!!! If it did, why did they allow slavery at that time. Why did those who were involved with the Declaration and Constitution have slaves? They obviously DID NOT believe that Black MEN were in fact MEN!!! And while mentioning MEN, they felt the same about WOMEN. Blacks and Women were NOT the same as MEN in the meaning of the declaration and the constitution. Both Blacks and Women were pretty much property. And the whole purpose later on of a "Marriage License" was to RESTRICT the possibility of Blacks and White" intermarrying. Obviously, our founding fathers weren't quite right. How can "ALL MEN BE CREATED EQUAL"; how can they be "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." And YET, blacks and women can be slaves and property?????? And YET, we recognize that the founding fathers weren't perfect, because we later added amendments to allow Blacks and Women to be treated as equal to men.

Sorry folks, but the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration is a lot more complex than many want to believe. The RIGHTS you believe you have, by definition, are NOT RIGHTS. Call them that if you want. Call them ANYTHING YOU WANT. But realize that they CAN BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU.

And the real only TRUE way to ensure that these "RIGHTS", or whatever you want to call them; aren't taken away from you; without cause; is to ensure that the place where ALL THE POWER originates; "WE THE PEOPLE" stay banded together. If "WE THE PEOPLE" stay united, then the government; at any level; can not harm us. Because WE give the government power; and WE can take it away. But only if WE stand together. And that is why, in the case of the 2nd amendment, we need to get MORE AND MORE gun supporters, more gun users, more gun owners, more sympathy, etc... In other words, when people talk to you about "Why do you have a gun" or other similar questions; don't become arrogant and alienating by saying garbage such as; "IT'S MY RIGHT"; "BECAUSE I'M ALLOWED TO"; "BECAUSE THE 2ND AMENDMENT ,,,,,". The truth is; NONE OF THESE STATEMENTS guarantees that you get to continue exercising these "WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT". And if you alienate the overwhelming mass majority of the Citizens, they CAN CHANGE THINGS and you could lose your "Whatever you want to call it" to "Keep and Bear Arms". The reason you still have these "Rights, or whatever you want to call them" is because most people are still banded together in support. Plus, there's a lot of ignorant people who aren't involved. And THAT IS THE DANGEROUS PART. If you get an overwhelming amount of ignorant and complacent people FIRED UP under a single cause or banner; they can unite and change how things turn out. Sort of like how Obama got elected. He went after a group of people such as the young and minorities who traditionally were ignorant, complacent, and uninvolved; and he united them and got them involved. The same can be done with the anti-gun crowd. We as gun owners need to RECRUIT more sympathy. And you start that off by being more humble and less arrogant. By realizing that the 2nd amendment is NOT some right that CAN'T be taken away from you. And that the only reason you still are allowed to exercise such a "Right" is because the government hasn't been able to organize enough of the ignorant and complacent people together to make a Constitutional Amendment.

Harve Curry
June 14, 2009, 01:48 PM
A good reference to open is THE SECOND AMENDMENT PRIMER by Les Adams, Pallaidium Press. It chronicals The Right worldwide from ancient times through the 20th century.

To continue spreading this modern complicated opinion of yours is a diservice, unintentional and with good will, but a diservice.

During the forming of our country it was political/financial/career suicide to argue against slavery. Thomas Jefferson saw that happen to people he respected. He chose his words carefully in The Declaration of Independence. Jefferson knew that eventually it could not be denied that blacks were indeed men, that's why: "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,"....

Here's the entire text, it's a short uncomplicated read in plain english:

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll
of Carrollton

George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross

Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

Matthew Thornton

June 14, 2009, 01:57 PM
I agree. The point is/was; that if our constitution was written in such a way that it could be amended to accommodate more modern accepted NORMS such as Blacks and Women being considered equal to men; then ANY part of the constitution is subject to change. Which includes the 2nd amendment. In other words, dont think because TODAY in this moment of TIME, that because the basic accepted consensus is that as citizens we have the RIGHT to "Keep and Bear Arms"; that somehow it is something that can NEVER be changed or taken away. IT CAN!!!! That's my entire point. And the way to NOT have it taken away is NOT in the courts; it's NOT in the legislature; it's NOT in the Executive Branch..... It's in "WE THE PEOPLE". We give the power. Unfortunately, if "WE THE PEOPLE" are divided, then those with their own personal and political agendas can use that to their advantage for "Change".

Art Eatman
June 14, 2009, 01:58 PM
People have rights which exist in the total absence of any government. That's why the Bill of Rights speaks to "enumerated" and not to "granted". Governments don't have rights; they have power, and power can be abused to deny the excercise of a person's right.

A right continues in existence, whether a person chooses not to exercise it or is denied the ability to exercise it.

June 14, 2009, 02:36 PM
The right to life & liberty are natural human rights. They descend to us from God (or nature if you prefer) alone and they exist wholly & totally separate from any Government or Law or Court or Document. This was proven in the Warsaw Ghetto and at Sobibor and at Treblinka. Incumbent to these rights is the right to defend them by any means necessary or available, regardless of what any government says or how any court interprets.

I have the right to openly defy any government that moves to rob me of the means to defend these rights.

June 14, 2009, 03:54 PM
Well, the problem is semantics and meaning. I don't consider something a true RIGHT if it can be taken away from me. I consider the DOI's statement that we have inalienable rights of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" as our ONLY rights. I believe that the Bill of Rights simply lists what the government is restricted from doing to it's citizens, because those things listed are what ensures that we are able to have the RIGHT of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness".

But we are talking semantics. It doesn't matter if you want to consider them RIGHTS, or consider them PRIVILEGES, or believe that GOD gave them to us, or that NATURE gave them to us, or that the GOVERNMENT gave them to us. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT you call it, or WHERE it came from. What DOES MATTER, is that as a collective society; "We The People"; it is possible for "The People" to allow the Government, THE POWER, to repeal our ability to EXERCISE such Rights, privileges, or WHATEVER you want to call it. And the ONLY way to ensure that this doesn't happen, is if "WE THE PEOPLE" remain united and not allow the government to have such power. And the way to do that, is to WIN ALLIES among the Non-Gun owners; the Anti-gun crowd; and others who don't believe that it AFFECTS them. And the way we do that is to:

A) Not to portray ourselves as arrogant gun nuts. Just about every gun owner has guns because he/she likes them. They like them for hunting, for plinking, for sport, for self defense, etc... Basically, you LIKE THEM. Discuss with those that are "ANTI" from this perspective and not the arrogance of "It's My Right"; "Because the Constitution Says I Can"; etc... Not everyone interprets the same way and you DON'T have a constitution, court, government, etc... to protect you against the "ANTI" crowd. The "ANTI" crowd is Still part of "WE THE PEOPLE". And they have just as much say as we do in what you may WANT to call RIGHTS.

B) Explain to those who aren't necessarily FRIENDS of gun owners, that ALL of the perceived rights in the constitution are linked together. At one time, our dollar/economy/debt was backed by gold. It was tangible. That changed in the 70's to our debt being backed by a simple "FAITH" that the government will honor it. Well, our RIGHTS as we want to believe in the Constitution are simply words. Very powerful words, but words none the less. As long as the PEOPLE maintain the power over the government, that FAITH in the words will exist. As soon as "We The People" give up power, the words don't have as much strength. So convince the "ANTI" crowd that if the 2nd amendment is messed with, then all amendments and the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness can be messed with.

June 14, 2009, 03:58 PM
Rights are not absolute in the sense that anything you do while exercising that right is ok. For example you could not practice a religion that involved smoking meth or killing people, and you cannot say or write anything you want about anybody. Also, rights can have restrictions in sense that certain conditions can apply to them. Yes you have the right to vote, but you have to vote in the right place and on the right day. You couldn't forget to vote on election day, and then complain the next day that your rights had been violated. (well you could complain, but everybody would think you are crazy).

June 14, 2009, 04:01 PM
Well, the problem is semantics and meaning. I don't consider something a true RIGHT if it can be taken away from me.The semantics are important.

The fact that you've chosen to redefine the common and accepted notion of the word RIGHT (as described by our Founding Fathers) for your own purposes doesn't make you correct. It simply makes you, um, unique.

And, as I've said elsewhere - the fact is that your definition would lead to an individual never having ANY true rights, since there is virtually no aspect of your existence that cannot be taken away.

Your definition is flawed, no matter how hard you try to defend it.

June 14, 2009, 04:01 PM
A Right CAN'T be taken away. If a felon CAN'T possess a gun; then "Keep and Bear Arms" was NEVER a right for this individual, That's not true, you can give up your rights, they have to be taken away by a jury trial.

Harve Curry
June 14, 2009, 04:28 PM
Semantics is not part of the equastion. Forget about it.
Do a defintion of the words.
Read the sentences in the context of the time they were written in. What was happening? What was in the news papers?
Then and only then will you come away with the accurate meaning of what the authors wrote.
If you add semantics into it you'll get a twisted, corrupted, distorted view of human Rights, and that is what the powers that be want you to believe.
Anything can be taken away by overpowering someone , Rights included. Genocide, concentration camps, registration, permits, you name it. That doesn't detract from the persons Rights, they're just being violated.
Any discussion with anti 2nd Amendment Rights people should include that we were founded as a Republic that recognizes the Rights of the minorities. Forget the semantics, keep it simple, use the original documents text and you cannot lose.

June 14, 2009, 04:28 PM
Hey There:
I understand where you are coming from. But must add. That is exactly what our government would have us all to believe. Which is false....
Our rights ? These rights were not handed to us on a silver plate. They were paid for in Blood. That by itself makes them usable when ever the need calls for that action. the government may abuse it's power that {we gave them }
and then it will be up to you and I to take back that power. A right is only good for those who will use it. Just because so many misunderstand these rights is not justification to call then no good. Because many choose to reinterpet the wording and meaning of these rights does not make the original right null and void.
We have all become very lazy with our rights and rarely ever use any of them in their proper context.
In this post Art has added his thing and I agree with him..
To lavish and confound words makes no sense at the end.

The right to keep and bear arms is only good for those who would choose to use it and to make payment for that right with Blood again if need be. :fire:

June 14, 2009, 04:32 PM
Don't sleep under the "FALSE SECURITY" that because you and others consider these "RIGHTS" that they can't be taken away from you. They can.

A Right CAN'T be taken away. If a felon CAN'T possess a gun; then "Keep and Bear Arms" was NEVER a right for this individual, but rather a PRIVILEGE. A privilege that has been revoked.

You are playing a word game. Rights cannot be taken away from you.

Governments, through either force or agreed law, can deny you your rights, but that does not stop the right from existing.

You are incorrect in saying that rights can be "taken away".

You are born with them and you die with them. Some people just live under governments that deny them, or by some action of law the rights are otherwise denied, as in the case of a felon. A felon has the right to bear arms, but the rest of us have agreed that through the force of law we can deny those rights to him on a temporary basis.

He may choose to exercise that right anyway, but if he does we reserve the right to put him in prison for it.

A privilege is a drivers license. You don't automatically have the "right" to drive a car. You grow up, apply for a license, and the privilege is granted.

Felons are born with the right to bear arms. Through some action of their own the community at large has empowered government to temporarily deny that right for the safety of the community. That a felon can petition the government to own guns again proves that the right has existed all along, it was just denied by law.

That is not the same thing as "losing" the right.

Yes, it's a word game but the distinction is very important.

June 14, 2009, 05:02 PM
I don't consider something a true RIGHT if it can be taken away from me.

Christcorp, I do believe this statement is the simplest and fundamental mistake in the entire debate.

By this definition, there is nothing, not RKBA, not the pursuit of happiness, not liberty, not life -- not even thought and emotion -- that cannot be destroyed or otherwise taken from you.

By this logic, the term "RIGHT" means nothing at all. Not one thing anywhere, any time.

So what then, are the DoI and the Constitution about? In your logic, they are about a non-entity. Much talk about a thing that does not -- CAN not -- exist.

Please either defend your belief that this is TRUE (that the Constitution and the foundation of our country is based on the defense and preservation of a NON-thing and so are, themselves, worthless) -- OR admit the mistake and adopt the proper definition of "RIGHTS."

Thank you,


June 14, 2009, 05:39 PM
Sam is also right.

Undersatnd lest ye be confused.:fire:

June 14, 2009, 06:10 PM
Well, the problem is semantics and meaning.
But we are talking semantics.

I wonder, when people say things like this, what they imagine "semantics" is.

Semantics is not about "obfuscation of meaning though subtle nuance," it is entirely about the actuality of meaning, the precision in expression of meaning.

I was my fortune to grow up in the household of one of Alfred Korzybski's students.

It was a never-ending lesson in precision of meaning.

Korzybski had a number of remarks on understanding, and relationship of expression to actuality.

"The map is not the territory."
On which he expanded thus:
"If words are not things, or maps are not the actual territory, then, obviously, the only possible link between the objective world and the linguistic world is found in structure, and structure alone."
. . . and further:
"If the map shows a different structure from the territory represented -- for instance, shows the cities in a wrong order. . . . then the map is worse than useless, as it misinforms and leads astray."

And this last remark is of prime importance.

A poorly constructed description or explanation is worse than saying nothing, as its apparent plausibility can lead, not only to wrong conclusions, but to the perpetuation of the line of thought that will continue to derive those wrong conclusions.

My father was a man of meticulous precision of expression -- even when he was intentionally butchering the English language (a prized sport in our house) -- and a man possessed of a broad and deep vocabulary and a rigorous grasp of grammar.

When one of us came to him confused about the meaning of some lengthy and rambling paragraph, he didn't attempt to explain it in his terms or couch it in terms of his opinion. He reached for the dictionary. When that wasn't enough, he would have us diagram the sentence.

Semantics doesn't mean "fooling people with clever and artful wordings."

Semantics is about deriving actual meaning from definition, form, and context.

The dismissive "well, that's just semantics" is an indictment of the speaker.

It's a little like telling an astronomer, "well, that's just math."

Yeah. That'll sure fly.

Now, about the "rights" thing.

Our founders discovered, through study and experience, that rights are not a matter of the despot du jour waving his hand and declaring, "you may all now speak freely!" or a governing body, standing in the stead of such a despot, doing the same thing.

Rather, rights are an attribute of humanity, whether recognized by rulers or not.

The trick is to establish the recognition of those rights to begin with, and to impress their acceptance upon the ruler or ruling body, by force if needed.

And so we did that.

It's not particularly surprising that, over the last couple of hundred years, there have been those whose objective is to acquire power at the cost of the rights of those over whom the power is wielded.

So has it always been.

That serious encroachments have been made, and the population bamboozled into the belief that the seat of power is the source of rights, is a matter of consternation to those who understand how it ought to be.

That one has seized power, however, does not mean that one is now qualified to dispense "rights" to the governed.

The consent of the governed is always required.

The degree to which we, as a governed people, will continue to consent is the matter in question.

June 14, 2009, 07:45 PM
What this entire thread boils down to is:

If "WE THE PEOPLE" stand strong and united, then the government can not take away, restrict, deny, hinder, etc... ANY of our Rights, Privileges, or whatever else a person wants to call them. We are not protected by the words of the constitution. We are protected by "WE THE PEOPLE" who are the ones that allow the government the power to do what they do. We need to become allies with "THE PEOPLE". Yes, the government is PEOPLE also; but their power is given to them via the constitution, via "WE THE PEOPLE". Too many people are complacent with THEIR GOVERNMENT.

I guess, in it's simplest form, when I read such threads as "Why do you have a gun"; "Why do you have a CCW?"; or any similar thread, it seems to be that there's a large portion of people who's answer always revolves around: "Because I have the RIGHT"; "Because the Constitution ,.,,,,"; "Because the 2nd amendment ....." etc... And their response implies that until the end of the world, they will have THOSE RIGHTS and that they can't be taken away from them. "WELL YES THEY CAN". And until all of "WE THE PEOPLE" understand this; not just the 2nd amendment, but also the 1st amendment and all others; then we will ALLOW the government the power to change How we are allowed to exercise our 3 prime Rights of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". So by all means contact your representatives to government and hold them accountable. But also, join forces with "THE PEOPLE". When someone asks why you have a gun, bought a lot of ammo, go hunting, etc... don't get defensive with answers like "It's My Right"; "Because I'm Allowed to"; etc... That does more harm than good. Educate those who don't think the 2nd amendment applies to them. Educate them to realize that our Rights, and the constitution that we use to grant government with power, can be affected. If one aspect of a right can be affected, ANY of them can. And ULTIMATELY; it is the 2nd amendment that is the TOOL we have to protect us from the government infringing on our rights. But if we don't bond together with the rest of "WE THE PEOPLE"; then certain people and groups will capitalize on the ignorance and complacency of these people. And then they will align with them; and eventually the MEANING of our RIGHTS will change. Because they are words, and words have meaning, and meanings are INTERPRETED.

June 14, 2009, 08:59 PM

You're in a hole, stop digging

June 14, 2009, 11:01 PM
Hole or not; Rockwell, I don't give a damn. It bothers the hell out of me when people walk around yelling "I've got rights". And it happens from all directions. You've got criminals yelling it as well as the bleeding hearts trying to defend them, terrorists, and others. And now, we've got each other talking about "Their Rights". Well, that's going to all be find and dandy until our "So called Rights" no longer exist. "Oh yea, that's right. That can't happen because the government DIDN'T GIVE ME my rights, so they can't take them away". I forgot.

So you can talk about "Holes" all you want. Just don't be surprised when you wonder why it feels like someone is trying to "Fill" one of those holes?

I'm not a paranoid, but there are a lot of people who believe that they are "PROTECTED" by their RIGHTS. So, if you believe that your "Rights" are given to you by God; or NATURE; then you better have one hell of a good relationship with him/her. Me personally; I'm going to continue to remind people that "WE THE PEOPLE" are the true meaning of the Constitution and that WE need to hold our government responsible TO US.

June 14, 2009, 11:38 PM
Well, that's going to all be find and dandy until our "So called Rights" no longer exist. "Oh yea, that's right. That can't happen because the government DIDN'T GIVE ME my rights, so they can't take them away". I forgot.

The Jews in Sobibor didn't seem to be disuaded from asserting their rights to life and liberty by the fact that some government said they didn't exist.

Bottom line no government controls my freedom, if I have to die proving that someday so be it.

If you can't grasp that, if you aren't willing to defy tyranny,
If you don't have the stones to stand and fight, you're not free now.

June 15, 2009, 12:11 AM
I beg your pardon, but I am most definitely free. And as long as the government is held responsible to me and "We The People"; I will remain free. And if it means I have to fight to ensure they stay subservient to "We The People"; then I have no problem with that. I spent 21 years serving our country and swearing an oath to protect and defend the constitution. But these are the old days or tyranny and military coups. This is a more modern world. A world where those who want such control will feed off of the ignorance, complacency, and fear of the citizens. Then, as long as those citizens remain the "Majority"; they will allow more power to be given to certain others and quite likely add more amendments to the constitution. Some that could easily redefine existing "Rights".

Imagine redefining the 2nd amendment where the vast majority agreed that the meaning of "Keep and Bear Arms" meant only for the protection of oneself and property. And that NO open shooting, sport, hunting, etc... was allowed. And maybe even to the extent where you were allowed any weapon you want; but ONLY on your own property. Never in public at all.

The key to this is the citizens. 54% of those over 18 years old voted in this past election. 122 Million +. Of those, 63 Million + voted for Obama and the democratic ticket. If you take a good portion of those; feed on the fear and ignorance of the 100 Million + who didn't vote; you can get a lot of support to directly affect and change our way of life.

This is not paranoia. Simply a means of describing possibilities. When people complain about our laws, politicians, "Rights", etc... They only have themselves to blame. And if we have any of our rights infringed on or trying to be amended, again, we only have ourselves to blame. It's NOT the government's fault. "WE THE PEOPLE" ARE THE GOVERNMENT. WE as a people have agreed that WE would be allowed to exercise certain rights. So long as we do so responsibly. Unfortunately, WE as a people, can take that freedom away. So while you're exercising your RIGHTS, don't forget that these Rights rests in your fellow American's hands. And they, WE, "The People", have the power to change it. And we delegate a lot of that power to representatives. While I'm enjoying the freedom to exercise certain "RIGHTS" (For lack of a better word); I'll continue trying to educate and hopefully getting more people involved. Involved in the political process. Involved as a gun owner/shooter. Involved with understanding how the government works, and that IT works for WE THE PEOPLE.

June 15, 2009, 12:27 AM
If the 2nd amendment is so clear; and it's a Right that the government did not give us; then why are there different rules in different states???

1. HOW can one state require a PERMIT to buy a gun, while another state doesn't?
2. HOW can one state require any type of waiting period while other states don't?
3. HOW can one state set up certain requirements for carrying, and others don't or differ?

The list can go on. Obviously, not only is the 2nd amendment allowed to be interpreted by different states and it's people; but it allows for the questions of WHO, WHEN, WHERE, and WHAT the 2nd amendment can apply to. This person CAN have a CCW, this person CAN'T. This person CAN buy a hand gun, this person CAN'T. You CAN have a gun here, you CAN'T have one there. I really wish that ALL the amendments and the constitution in general was as clear cut in it's meanings as many believe it is.

The first thing we need to fix with the 2nd amendment's interpretations, is that the interpretation is the same in all 50 states. We should be allowed to go to ANY state and buy/carry/use a gun EXACTLY the same that we do in our home state. Freedom of speech shouldn't change because I'm in Mississippi instead of Montana. Carrying a gun shouldn't change because I'm in New Jersey instead of Georgia. The government shouldn't be allowed to search my house/possessions/person differently in California than in Texas. It seems that the vast majority; if not ALL; of the bill of rights is interpreted the same in all states. The exception seems to be the 2nd amendment. We need to get the 2nd amendment recognized nationally the same.

June 15, 2009, 09:07 AM

If the 2nd amendment is so clear; and it's a Right that the government did not give us; then why are there different rules in different states???Because, as has been stated earlier in your diatribes, it's not yet been incorporated. I suggested earlier (in the other thread in which you satted these positions) that you research that topic, and I'm guessing that you haven't. It's pretty key to understanding how the Constitution actually works. And it's not something that you just pass laws to change.

Do you even read the responses in the thread, or are we just providing a bully pulpit for you?

June 15, 2009, 03:02 PM
I understand the constitution quite well. And I understand quite well how bills, laws, etc... are formed and put into place. And yes, I have read ALL responses in this and other threads. But the answer has NOT been acknowledged by some. I know the answer; many others in some of these threads have shown that THEY know the answer; some others definitely don't know the answer. The answer is; what many want to consider Rights; that the government does not grant and therefor can not take away; is incorrect. Our Rights are only safe from being infringed on, as long as we, the people, maintain control and distribution of power. And the constitution is very clear at verifying this. And the fact that 17 additional amendments could be added and rescinded over a 201 years span; demonstrates that nothing is guaranteed if enough support is garnered.

June 15, 2009, 03:07 PM
I'm begining to think we have aquired a troll

June 15, 2009, 03:36 PM
If you look at the etymology of the words, Privilege in Latin meant Rule or law for one. It was a law that only SOME were able to enjoy.
as for the word Right, if you look at the old English, it was something that was correct, just, proper, As it should be... etc;

I see the the bill of rights as simply that. Rights. They are correct and just. They are for all, not just a few. To me the exclusivity should be on anyone who cannot live an interact within the society without resorting to violence, fraud or other significantly malicious actions. All others should be able to enjoy the right. As opposed to the law for a few based on job, or political affiliation or lineage, education... etc;


June 15, 2009, 03:38 PM
Yea; I signed up 2 years ago; and posted 300 times; just so I could wait around and troll you with this particular thread. You caught me. What a genius you are. But I guess there is 1 thing we can agree on. Some people believe we have RIGHTS that weren't given to us by the government and the government can't take them away. And some people believe that certain freedoms we have; whether they are defined as Rights, Privileges, or whatever; CAN be taken away from us by the government with the approval of the citizens. And if we're not careful, then these freedoms WILL be taken away from us.

June 15, 2009, 04:16 PM
The answer is; what many want to consider Rights; that the government does not grant and therefor[e] can not take away; is incorrect.
Uh, dude?

You're seeking to redefine the word. Fail.

Rights are what they are. Life -- that is, "being alive" -- is the most fundamental of rights. Murderers take life every day. That doesn't mean that the right of life doesn't exist, but only that it can be abridged.

Crime, when properly defined, consists in the abridgement of someone's rights.

Theft is the abridgement of the right of property. If the right of ownership of property were not already acknowledged as a right, theft would not be the subject of criminal codes; it would simply be the forceful acquisition of property and a demonstration of Darwinism at work.

The right to life, the right to ownership, the right to be free of violence to one's person: these are the foundation of rights and of morality.

That they can be abridged is not in question. History is largely the collected stories of people and groups violating the rights of other people and groups.

But while rights can be violated or abridged, this does not mean that rights are in any way a fiction.

You may kill me, and violate my right to life, but doing so does not mean the right never existed.

Our Rights are only safe from being infringed on, as long as we, the people, maintain control and distribution of power. And the constitution is very clear at verifying this.
Which is fine. The rights exist nonetheless. It matters not which group of thugs violates them. Their existence remains.

And the fact that 17 additional amendments could be added and rescinded over a 201 years span; demonstrates that nothing is guaranteed if enough support is garnered.
Amendments aren't rights. Amendments don't grant rights. The same applies to laws.

Great swathes of human history have been written as a result of people, tired of having their fundamental rights suppressed, rising in revolt against those responsible.

No one is arguing that the government can't suppress, abridge, or violate rights.

We are simply observing that rights are not a function or consequence of government.

Rights were there before government was. Rights will be there after government is gone.

And, while there IS government, it can only do what is permitted by the consent of the governed.

June 15, 2009, 05:06 PM
but it's only a kernel, and the plant that the OP is trying to grow from it is a thin reed at best.

Remember that the philosophers of the Enlightenment lived in what they considered to be a created universe. While many of them would not be considered "Christians" in any modern sense, they had the idea that the universe, and particularly that part of it called "Man", was the product of an act of conscious creation.

They very well may have been wrong, although we cannot know for sure.

So, if they were wrong, and we are not "created" beings, then there really can be no such thing as "RIGHTS" as the OP has tried to formulate them, or even in the more limited form in which many here believe that they exist. If there is, in fact, no external source of those ideals that we call "rights", what are we left with?

The answer is easy, really:

The consent of the governed. Whether or not it is a matter of "rights", it is observably true that human social groups tend, long-term, to resist oppression, and to try to build social structures that maximize their own scope of action. "Property rights" are an abstraction, and not all human societies have had them, (some that didn't were quite successful, albiet in limited circumstances,) ut it's pretty clear that most do. That tells us something about the utility of "property" in forming stable groupings of humans.

The same arguments can be made regarding what we're talking about here, the ability of individuals to resist potential violence by offering violence of their own.

What it comes down to is that there are certain rules by which we have set up our society. We have agreed that we will grant a government the power to rule over us as individuals, because we get something out of that. But we've chosen to put limits on that power, and some of those we call "rights". What we're really saying is that the government cannot go beyond those limits without loosing our permission to rule us. Now, most governments throughout history have not ruled by permission. But what we say is that, if they do not, getting rid of them (peacefully if possible, by force if not) is a moral action.

It can be equally well understood as an agreement, without recourse to hard-to-define things such as "rights", and without appeal to higher authorities that may or may not exist, and which we can't prove in any case.


June 15, 2009, 06:08 PM
A Right CAN'T be taken away. If a felon CAN'T possess a gun; then "Keep and Bear Arms" was NEVER a right for this individual,

That's not true, you can give up your rights, they have to be taken away by a jury trial.

((((((annoying buzzing sound indicating an incorrect answer))))))

A jury trial can not take away a right. Read posts #16 and #20 again. The jury can be used to criminalize the 2nd Amendment right, but the right continues to exist and is the possession of the individual. It may now be illegal to exercise the right, but it hasn't been taken away, just abridged.

There is no way to "give up" your rights. You can choose not to exercise them, but then again, you still have them. How could you "give up" your right to life?

Joe Demko
June 15, 2009, 06:56 PM
The jury can be used to criminalize the 2nd Amendment right, but the right continues to exist and is the possession of the individual. It may now be illegal to exercise the right, but it hasn't been taken away, just abridged.

This is first class obfuscation. Rights are abstract concepts; they have no physical existence. So, when a jury makes it illegal for a felon to carry a gun, he has no right to carry a gun. Saying his right still exists is basically saying that the abstract idea of his bearing arms still exists though he may not actually do so. The rights still exists, perhaps, in that others may still bear arms; but for that felon that right is gone.

June 15, 2009, 10:22 PM
You are absolutely correct Joe. There is no such thing as a right if you are not allowed BY CHOICE to exercise it. A person on death row who is executed has had their RIGHT to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" taken away from them. When s/he is dead, they aren't simply "Not Exercising" their Rights. When a person commits a felony and is no longer allowed to own a firearm, they aren't simply "Not Exercising" their Right to "Keep and Bear Arms". That right has been Taken away from them. They DON'T have that Right (or whatever) any longer.

Thank you Joe for finding words that eluded me, such as: "Rights are abstract concepts; they have no physical existence". That is so true. The closest I came to was the analogy of our economic system. At one time it had substance. It was backed by gold. No longer. It is now backed by the "Good Faith" of the United States. And that's all our "Rights" as described in the DOI; and the government's limitations to infringing on our Rights as spelled out in the Constitution of the United States. I hope we can maintain "Good Faith" in our government and those in power. If not; the only recourse we have is "We The People". I just hope that the vast majority aren't conned, lied to, scared, and B.S.'d into believing that certain "Rights" need to be changed, amended, abridged, eliminated, etc.... It was Men that gave us the DOI and Constitution; and it is Men (Including Women) who will either protect or change those faithful words.

June 15, 2009, 11:55 PM
A person on death row who is executed has had their RIGHT to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" taken away from them. When s/he is dead, they aren't simply "Not Exercising" their Rights. When a person commits a felony and is no longer allowed to own a firearm, they aren't simply "Not Exercising" their Right to "Keep and Bear Arms".

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

See that bolded part? Your felon and your death row inmate didn't have their rights removed arbitrarily. They were found guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, unanimously, by a jury of their peers, of some crime that the majority of Americans agree warrants a revocation of those rights.

If the government just decides to attempt to stop "We the people" from exercising our rights, we have the right to resist by any means necessary or available. and no government can take that away from us.

June 16, 2009, 01:08 AM
You're absolutely correct. And just like I said, the person's Rights were TAKEN AWAY from them. CoRoMo made the point that in the case of a felon no longer being allowed to "Keep and Bear Arms", that their Right hasn't been taken away from them. They still HAVE the Right. They are just not being allowed to exercise their Right. Talk about a twist on words. A RIGHT is NOT a RIGHT if you can't exercise it. Now maybe your Right has been taken away from you legally; by a jury of your peers; but it has been taken away non the less. So now that we agree that your Rights can be taken away from you; your next statement is directly in line.

If the government just decides to attempt to stop "We the people" from exercising our rights, we have the right to resist by any means necessary or available. and no government can take that away from us.

You are 100% correct with this statement. And it would be almost impossible for the "GOVERNMENT" to attempt to stop "We The People" from exercising our rights. If the "Government" collectively used every single military, police, guard, reserve, sheriff, ranger, DEA, FBI, CIA, and every other form of "Law Enforcement" personnel; that would barely put a dent in the 80,000,000 (80 Million) gun owners in the country who potentially could resist. And that is why I am quite happy with the "Government" knowing how many LAW ABIDING citizens have guns and how many guns we have. The "Government" should be very afraid of it's Citizens. That is what makes us such a free and wonderful country.

HOWEVER: This is where I get back to my original point. If the majority of the PEOPLE in the nation through persuasion, lies, deceit, fear, or whatever means; is convinced to SUPPORT Constitutional Amendments; such as the 17 amendment created AFTER the original Constitution and 10 amendments were ratified; then it is possible that the "Constitution and Bill of Rights" as you know it today, could be changed. The document and words within were written by people. And PEOPLE can change it. And that is my fear. You can believe that GOD or some other supreme being or of nature GIVES us the Right to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"; but unless that supreme being plans on coming down to ensure those Rights; then the power rests with the people. We just need to ensure that the PEOPLE stay united with the meaning and purpose of the Constitution, and that they aren't persuaded into believing it is in the best interest of our nation to CHANGE it.

I believe in the concept that God gives us those rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. But they mean nothing if as a society "We The People" don't agree collectively on them. If these are natural/human rights, then they'd be recognized and honored all over the world. And they aren't. And it isn't because God loves us more than other people in other countries. It's because some countries/lands have a government system whereby the "People" don't control the power of that government. And as such; the government is free to allow freedoms as they see fit. We're fortunate because we still have a government that is responsible to the people. But it sure seems like the people are giving more and more power to the government.

June 16, 2009, 01:28 AM
Any idiot with a pen and paper can write a constitution granting rights. Heck...it can even be etched into stone tablets.

Any idiot with a pen and paper could also write a new religion. They just have to convince bigger idiots to have faith.

There have been many "constitutions" enacted by various nations over the timeline of modern man which granted "Rights". Many of these "constitutions" have disappeared along with the "Rights" guaranteed in them.

Heck...when a practiced religion has outlived it usefulness it gets relgated to the status of mythology. But make no mistake, these various "mythologies" were practiced with a fervor at one time and believed with the same conviction as the various newer religions.

Every individual has their own beliefs and arguing about "Rights" is about as productive as arguing about "religion". Perhaps I'm pessimistic but I have a hard time believing in "RIGHTS" or anything which can, has, and will be changed/modified in the future. YMMV!

June 16, 2009, 02:27 AM
If these are natural/human rights, then they'd be recognized and honored all over the world. And they aren't.

There isn't any logical presentation I can think of that validates that statement.

Off the cuff, I'd classify this as "begging the question," a logical fallacy in which premise assumes the conclusion is true.

If what you are trying to establish is that "we get to keep our rights to the degree that we stick together," then I can follow that.

The argument that "they're not rights unless we all stick together" is, however, flawed.

I have no trouble accepting that rights must be preserved or defended.

Let us be very clear, though, that government is not the source of rights, nor is some arbitrary population majority.

In fact, when government begins "awarding rights" it does so invariably at the cost of actual liberty and the abridging of original or natural rights.

Yes, we are all aware the preservation of rights requires that we keep watch.

"The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance."

June 16, 2009, 03:07 AM
Never try to teach a pig to sing, you waste your time and annoy the pig

June 16, 2009, 03:34 AM
We have many rights. Rights cannot be taken away. Rights can, however, be usurped, and often are.

If someone kills you, they did not take away your right to life, they simply violated it.

June 16, 2009, 03:44 AM
They have effectively moved the guns rights into gun privileges.

But this is nothing new, it has been going on in this country in some form since the 1800's.

June 16, 2009, 01:21 PM
Not that anyone cares because we all seem to have our own personal definition of the man-made-word "Right" but...the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a "Right" as "something (as a power or privilege) to which one has a just or lawful claim". Basically a "Right" is a "Privilege" that is granted by the laws of man. But what authority does the dictionary have to impose the definitions of words on the members of this forum responding to this thread? :cuss:

June 16, 2009, 02:47 PM
IMHO a felon has given away his RTKBA. He made the choice to commit the crime; no one took it away from him, he forfeited it.

June 16, 2009, 03:30 PM
He made the choice to commit the crime; no one took it away from him, he forfeited it.

Try not to prejudge because that is not always the case. Read enough testimonies from this site, and you'll learn how precarious a law abiding life can be. Tell this guy (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=5651064&postcount=29) that it was his choice.

June 16, 2009, 03:43 PM
In 2004, state and federal courts convicted a combined total of nearly 1,145,000 adults of felonies -- state courts convicted an estimated 1,079,000 adults and federal courts convicted 66,518 adults (accounting for 6% of the national total).

No they all didn't make a choice to commit the crime, but I bet you alot of them did. I was just saying, wrongful convictions aside, felony criminals forfeit their rights, in my opinion; felony criminals are not being infringed upon or having their rights usurped.

If you tell me Volvo makes safe vehicles and I show you a wreck where someone died in a Volvo, the former is not negated by the latter.

June 16, 2009, 04:37 PM
The primary problem that I see in this thread is a basic failure of semantics. As an aside, I congratulate Art for coming the closest to articulating the frame work which I hope to expand upon.

There are "rights", there are "natural rights" and then there are "unalienable natural rights". These are not coextensive or interchangeable. So let us begin with "unalienable natural rights". Unalienable, means something which can not be given up. Natural rights theory is a subcategory of natural law, which sought to supplant another philosphy in vogue prior to our colonial period... that being the "divine right of kings". In essence, natural law theory articulated the ideal that: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". This is the social compact theory, articulated by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. It is within this context that the subject of "unalienable natural rights" arises. Essentially, what it postulates is that there are certain rights so fundamental to the human condition that they are incapable of being transferred by the people to the government when creating the social compact.

So how do we determine whether something is an unalienable right or not? The great philosophers postulated that these unalienable rights could be discerned by careful study of what it means to be human. We can not give up our basic essence because, even if we attempted to do so we would fail. What they are talking about and what might seem remarkable to many, is those things which are instinctual or inherent in our very nature. Self defense is the "first law of nature" because it is instinctual, we can never surrender it, it is unalienable. That does not mean that government can not pass a law which prohibits same and that does not mean the government is powerless to punish persons who violate the prohibition, what it means is that a government which does prohibit and punish self defense has violated the social compact. A law may be passed which prohibits a person from blinking his eyes when water is thrown in his face, but that law violates the natural right of self defense... Why? Because , and regardless of the laws command, we will blink our eyes anyway. Such a reaction is instincual and not subject to our voluntary control and as such WE ARE INCAPABLE OF CONFORMING OUR ACTIONS TO THE DICTATES OF THE LAW. When that is the case, you can rightfully say that the laws violates our unalienable natural rights.

So... 1st principle: an unalienable natural right refers to the instinctual and biological imperatives of the human species which we have no control over. An easy example, we have an unalienable right to relieve our bladders. Certainly, government can and does impose some rules with respect to that unalienable right and such does not violate your unalienable right itself, SO LONG AS YOU CAN COMPORT YOUR BEHAVIOR TO THE DEMANDS OF THE LAW. A law can not validly prohibit you from relieving yourself, although it can prohibit you from relieving yourself in public. A law can not prohibit you from exercising the right of self defense, but it can require you to retreat prior to exercising said right, as such, the law provides you with valid options which you can comply with, but it can not force you to do something which you can not do...

Seems odd, though... Not to many people would consider instinctual or biological imperatives to equate to "unalienable rights", but that is exactly what these great philosophers meant when they used that terminology. So, as a matter of semantics and as a definitional prerequisite for the natural rights theory, that is exactly what it is.

Natural rights encompasses all of these unalienable rights plus others which the human species would indulge in the absence of government sanction. Governments do limit or prohibit the free exercise of these natural rights which are not unalienable and such is perfectly legitimate... in fact most laws do exactly that. We surrender some of our natural rights in order to obtain the benefits, protections and advantages of society. In most instances, the advantages obtained by living in an orderly society far outweigh the loss of these natural rights. In essence, natural rights encompass everything that we would or could do in the absence of government.

OK, this brings us down to the common terminology "rights" as opposed to "privileges". The common understanding of these terms has nothing to do with natural right theory except tangentially... generally speaking, the reason for the creation of these rights is based upon the concept of unalienable rights but it is in the reason for their delineation as a right protected from governmental infringement... Essentially a "right" in this context refers to something the government can not do by virtue of merely passing a plain vanilla law. To overcome a right, it is necessary to alter the social compact itself by passing a constitutional amendment. A privilege can be withdrawn at any time by merely passing a law to that effect. Under this view, rights do not necessarily have anything to do with "unalienable natural rights" or even "natural rights". Thus, a right to a jury trial in civil matters where the amount in controversy is in excess of $20 is neither an "unalienable natural right" or even a "natural right" since natural rights refer to those things that exist without government and a jury is merely a governmental institution. However, it is a "right" because it can not be altered without amending the social compact.

The confusion of these terms stems from the fact that many portions of our BoRs are associated with "unalienable natural rights". It is the reason why these items ended up on the list of things that can not be altered without amending the social compact.... it is not an equivalency, it is merely the rationale for their inclusion in the BoR's.

Additionally, the BoR's, for the most part, do not directly protect unalienable rights, but protect rights which are ancillary to unalienable natural rights. Blackstone termed these as "auxiliary rights" in that they tend to protect, preserve and enhance the underlying unalienable natural rights. Thus, the 2nd serves to protect, preserve and enhance the underlying unalienable right of self defense. The 1st, serves to protect, preserve and enhance the underlying unalienable natural right of freedom of conscience (humans are thinking animals and will believe what they will believe, a law requiring one to actually believe that the sky is yellow instead of blue will be disregarded by our brain, regardless of our desire to comport to the requirements of the law).

This, of course, begs the further question of how does government obtain the power to impose the death penalty when the people are incapable of alienating that power to government under social contract theory.... However I have rambled on far too long, so I leave that one up to your imaginations.:D

June 16, 2009, 10:01 PM
You should have stopped with your first sentence legaleagle_45. I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Everything thereafter was nothing but convoluted semantics. Individuals are going to interpret the word "Rights" differently. Heck, even animals have rights and they cannot even say the word let alone understand it. :p

Whenever my step-father witnessed people arguing silly topice he would always say...that person would argue with a stoplight. Seems about right! And YES...he said that to me a lot! :rolleyes:

June 16, 2009, 10:25 PM
Read your John Locke.
He wrote about 330 years ago.
His enemies felt that humans were subjects of the king, essentially slaves with no rights but were granted by a better man than you. Locke perceived that man is created by God, and God-given rights are inalienable.

Locke and the other British subjects had the same argument about the proper definition of 'right'. The Revolutionary War settled the question for America.

The right to try to defend yourself is an unalienable right. The alternative being to meekly accept violence. The case of when you couldn't defend yourself wasn't under the purview of rights.

The right to refuse to willingly pay unjust taxes. The alternative being to willingly pay. Being robbed (i.e. being coerced into paying taxes) has nothing to do with your rights.

The right to pursue property. The right to bear arms when no one can stop you, but your king ordered you not to bear arms. The right to kill someone at your mercy. The use of the word 'right' in the sense of inalienable rights and 'right' in the sense of right and wrong have the same historical origin. Rights of the 1600s pertained to morality & religion and pertained to what you could actually do and whether you should do it. No one talked about the right to property that you couldn't defend (or hire someone to defend), no one talked about bearing arms if the government could sucessfully take your weapons at a whim.

Locke explicitly noted that the right not to be at the mercy of another was a right worth killing for.

In it's proper historical context, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" doesn't mean that you can walk around with a gun and the cop isn't allowed to bother you. It means that you and your neighbors won't allow the cops to bother people just for having a gun. If the cop bothers you or your neighbor, you get together with enough people to be effective (the milita) and reason with the cops, convincing them to stop. Only if necessary and just, you and your neighbors use arms and violence to prevent the cops from bothering you and your neighbor. It means that you and your neighbors go down to the capitol and make sure anti-gun laws don't get passed, or get repealed post haste. The threat of effective violence is explicit in the 2nd amendment - "a well regulated Militia" can demand and get justice. The modern concept of the right to bear arms as a privilege is actually the fruit of the right to bear arms, in the sense of 'it is right to use force and the threat of force, and to be able to effectively threaten and use force, to keep your liberty and property."

Normally, you owe obedience to the police, because you consent to our form of government, which invests police with the authority to keep the peace, give lawful orders, et cetera. You've implictly agreed that the police have the right to tell people what to do and punish people who break the rules. The Bill of Rights delineates a few rights of the people.

Essentially - your right to free speech means that it is right to stop the government from making and enforcing any law the abridges your freedom of speech. It is right to stop them, using force if necessary.
Your right to bear arms means it is right to stop the government from infringing on your how you keep and bear arms. It is right to use force if necessary. Only the 2nd amendment talks about a militia because a well regulated militia is the means - you need people to help you (and they need your help) to keep this right. None of the other rights talk about the means to protect them.

June 17, 2009, 12:19 AM
Sounds like John Locke didn't like authority! Today he would be labled an anarchist, he would post a tax protest web page, and belong to a anti-government militia...he would label himself a true patriot and spout hate towards current government leaders. He would preach to all who would listen that he knows a better way!

Funny how things stay the same and only the names of the players change.

July 4, 2009, 10:04 PM
No they all didn't make a choice to commit the crime, but I bet you alot of them did. I was just saying, wrongful convictions aside, felony criminals forfeit their rights, in my opinion; felony criminals are not being infringed upon or having their rights usurped.

Said by maskedman504 from Florida with this as part of thier signature:

I carry mine where ever I go, even into California. Unless you make a big deal out of it who's going to know? I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.

I found this a great irony because that is a felony. Someone from out of state carrying a firearm in CA is commiting a felony as people from out of state can never legaly obtain a carry permit or register thier weapon with the CADOJ. California also does not recognize carry permits from any other states.
Illegal concealed carry of an unregistered weapon (it does not matter if registered or permited or otherwise legal in another state, the definition of "registered" in CA law specifies something else) is a felony.
Registration is not a requirement, and it is not even an option for those without CA residency. However if you carry it becomes a felony. So you can legaly bring an "unregistered" handgun, but if you carry it you commit a felony.
The quote supported by maskedman504 clearly references illegaly carrying a concealed firearm for self-defense into California in violation of the law.

So someone who adamantly supports permanently denying anyone who commits a "felony" thier Constitutional right supports commiting a felony by carrying concealed into California when they visit, and references it in thier signature.
Too funny.

July 4, 2009, 10:55 PM
There is no spoon... Think about it for a second.
There is no government. It is about people who share common beliefs, anything beyond that is kabuki theater. I know that when a car pulls up behind me with a rather loud noise and flashing lights that I need to pull over: Not because of some magical, mystical force of law, but because he has a gun and so does his buddies. When I am told to go stand in front of a jude; I don't do it because I won't gain entry to heaven, but because those same guys with guns would drag me down there anyway (and even take me hostage for a while).
our government is founded on the idea that we are all equal (HAH!), and in saying that... We are no longer equal. In our own right we have developed a certain social style of caste system.
We can sit here and hash this stuff out 'til we are blue in the face, but face it; we are free simply because our government isn't inclined to crush our faces with their boots... yet.

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