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Bill of Rights or Privileges?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Owen Sparks, Aug 1, 2010.

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  1. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    Here is something interesting that I came across while doing research for an unrelated project.

    In 1702 a law was passed requiring the men of London to have a license in order to carry a walking stick or cane. Cane use was considered a privilege, and gentlemen had to abide by those rules or lose the privilege. The price of the license was set high enough to keep sticks out of the "wrong" hands, that is commoners.

    One example of a cane license reads:
    Quote:
    You are hereby required to permit the bearer of this cane to pass and repass through the streets of London, or anyplace within ten miles of it, without theft or molestation: Provided that he does not walk with it under his arm, brandish it in the air, or hang it on a button, in which case it shall be forfeited. Signed________.
    (Source: Lester and Oerke Accessories of Dress, Peoria, IL. The Manual Arts Press.)

    Is this not EXACTLY the same thing we see with FOID cards and other gun control measures that license who may have a weapon and in what manner it must be carried? Licenses convert a right into a privilege, but we don't HAVE a Bill of Privileges, we have a Bill of Rights. Anytime the state assumes the power to license or regulate a right, it also assumes the power to deny that right.
     
  2. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    I always shake my head when someone mentions that driving an automobile is a privilege and not a right.

    We've been indoctrinated to believe the government grants rights.
     
  3. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    Actually, you can drive without a license, inspection sticker or even a tag on private property. The license requirement only applies on public roads. The kicker is that the Constitution does not make that distinction with the 2A. The bill of rights applies on your own property as well as any public property that you pay taxes on.
     
  4. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    My point was the difference between a right and a privilege. A privilege can be revoked without cause. I'm not aware of anyone losing their license without just cause.
     
  5. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

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    In modern usage ( though not perhaps before the Civil war ) the term privilege denotes a lower class of rights that are granted to an individual by either a government or other private person.

    For example; it is a basic human right ( not a privilege ) to go about in public using the public right or ways. It is a privilege ( a right granted by permission of the government ) to drive a motor vehicle on public streets and roads. You have a basic right to be on your own property but must be granted the privilege to be on someone else's property.

    People need to understand that there are more than one class of legal rights. There are basic human rights ( right of free speech, freedom of assembly and IMHO the RKBA ), some rights granted by the constitution, ( right to trial by jury ) and lesser rights called privileges. To name a few.

    Not everyone believes that the RKBA in general is a basic human right or a right granted by the constitution. Ultimately that is what the whole debate over gun control is about. What type of right is it? A basic human right, one that exists only because the constitution grants it to us or some sort of privilege where we must ask the government's permission before having the right.
     
  6. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    There is only one thing enumerated in the Constitution that you are guaranteed the right to posses.
     
  7. alohachris

    alohachris Member

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    Driving is a privilege? Then we all need to turn in our firearms for flintlocks. People have the right to mobility, that is to move about freely, without hinderence, so long as they do so lawfully. (e.g.: driving on the road and not the sidewalk.) Driving is simply the modern extension of the horse. I pay for the roads & interstates, they belong to the body politic, not the government.

    Saying that driving is a privilege is to say that email is a privilege, not a right and therefore not protected under the first amendment or modern firearms are a privilege not protected under the second amendment.
     
  8. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    JellyJar made the observation that:
    The government has grown to a point that it has assumed eminent domain over all property just like In olden times when the kings owned all the land. You are only allowed to stay in your home only as long as you pay the rent (property taxes) right? This usurpation of liberty fosters a mind set that everything, all property ultimately belongs to the state. This is incredibly dangerous as all rights will eventually become privileges to be granted or denied at the whim of those in power.
     
  9. MinnMooney

    MinnMooney Member

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    Licensing & taxing are the best ways for the gov't to know EVERYTHING about your life including sporting activities, vehicles, house, types of hunting, trailers, income, expendatures and health.
    That's the real reason for licensing anything... they want to know... and knowledge is power.
     
  10. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    Um, yes. There is no constitutional right to drive.
    So in the interest of fairness, the government should buy everyone who needs one, a car.
    It's not right that Joe can drive to town, but I can't. Hmmmm?

    Do people have a right to free healthcare?
    You know, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Right to e-mail? Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha...........

    I hate to break this to you, but the bill of "rights" did not define what the government must do for you, rather it limits what the Federal government can do to you.
     
  11. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Well, one has the right to mobility. It's called "walking."
    The use of public roads has been deemed a "privilege." You get a license and pay the fees. Then you can drive. If you can't do that you can get a friend to drive you, call a cab, get a bus.
    I do think you do have a "right" to "mobility," but as the previous poster said, the government is not under obligation to provide you with a cab, a car or whatever.
    You have the right to keep and bear arms, but the govt. doesn't have to buy you a Garand. Your right to free speech does not include a govt. supplied printing press or radio station. As said, the BOR is there to keep the government off your case; all else is up to you.
     
  12. cavman

    cavman Member

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    you have the Right to use public roads. you only have a privilege to drive your car on them.

    But the right to use public roads ends if you intend to walk on the Interstates. Then you can only exercise your granted privilege to drive on them.

    did i get that right? :)
     
  13. PA Curmudgeon

    PA Curmudgeon Member

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    .
    Maybe I can help simplify things...


    BillofRightsVOid.jpg

    :fire:
    .
     
  14. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

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    BTW, just look up the definition of the word "privilege" in any good dictionary.
     
  15. alohachris

    alohachris Member

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    There are many recognized rights not enumerated in the constitution. The constitution doesn't specifically include the right to vote, a right to privacy, a right to travel, etc. That are long established in law by precedent.
     
  16. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    I didn't say you don't have a right to travel, I said you don't have a right to drive.
    And yes, people are shocked to discover that the word "privacy" does not appear in the constitution.

    Laws are passed by congress. Precedent is not law. Courts choose to use precedent to justify rulings. Courts don't make laws.
    Yeah, like the right to welfare, food stamps, medicare, medicaid, section 8 housing, illegal immigration. As well as bailouts for big corporations, stimilus programs. I dare say all these rights have made the Country worse.
     
  17. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    The Bill of Rights is a list of things that government is supposed to have no power to control. They are considered to be “negative rights” meaning that they can be exercised without imposing on anyone else. Your right to “Freedom of Worship” does not mean that you are to be provided a church building at tax payer expense. Your “Right to keep and Bear Arms” does not mean that if you can’t afford a gun you will be provided one by the government. No, The BOR just guarantee that you may exercise these liberties on your own without interference.

    “Positive rights” such as the “right” to health care must be had at the expense of someone else. Anytime you receive something from the government that you did not work for, someone worked for something that they did not receive. It cost your fellow citizens nothing for you to exercise your Second Amendment rights. Anything that must be had at the expense of someone else can not be a right.

    Roads and bridges cost money and are largely paid for through consumption taxes on gasoline and car tags. If you don’t own a car you don’t have to buy a tag, pay gasoline taxes or have a driver’s license. Government provides the roads and taxes and regulates their use. This is no different than joining a local shooting club or gym in that you pay for what you get.

    The problems arise when government seeks to tax and regulate things that it does not provide such as firearms in this case.
     
  18. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

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    I recommend to anyone here who is interested in the history of the origins and true meaning of the bill of rights to read this short essay at this link ( too long to post full essay here ):

    http://physioprof.wordpress.com/200...ginalism-natural-law-and-the-ninth-amendment/

    I disagree with the author about what unalienable rights may be protected under the 9th amendment and the law of nature; i.e. gay marriage, health care, housing, food and such. I don't believe in the existence of "positive rights" i.e. right to housing ect.

    The subject of Natural Law theory is very long and complicated. However, I urge all to investigate it as our Republic is based on this theory of Natural Law. Without the theory of Natural Law there would be no legal or moral justification for the existence of this country as a free and independent nation.
     
  19. Lou McGopher

    Lou McGopher Member

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    The right to drive is an extension of the right to move about freely, in the same way that the right to keep and bear arms is an extension of the right to self-defense.

    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." -- Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution


     
  20. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Right To Travel

    Lemme see here . . .

    The Constitution grants the power tax or otherwise regulate all the "other" rights secured by the Ninth Amendment? In other words, if a right isn't specifically enumerated, then it's really only a pretend right?

    You know, travel by motorized carriage has been around longer than the licensing, taxing, and fees currently associated with it.

    It seems to me that government looks for plausible claims to taxation and "fees" in an ever-widening scope, and we as a constituency seem altogether too willing to buy into the idea that -- regardless of how heinously inefficient its "job" performance -- government is entitled to extract monies against the claim that it's providing value and service not otherwise attainable.

    But to claim that government has this power by virtue of there being no Constitutional prohibition against it is to reason backwards. The Constitution isn't about government's having power except where constrained, it's about government being constrained except where power is granted.

    Rights, on the other hand, are assumed to be secured except where the Constitution grants specific powers.

    If you run the model backwards, you wind up with such absurdities as government granting new "rights" such as health care, which would perforce mean that someone's work and resources automatically -- and without his consent -- belong to someone else.

    This business of assuming that government automatically has whatever powers are not specifically prohibited is something worth taking great pains to avoid.

     
  21. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    I must have learned civics when they still taught things like that in school.
    There is no right to drive.
    The right to move about freely simply means that you don't need a passport to go from one state to another.
    No. The right to keep and bear arms is not an extension of anything. It's in the Constitution.
    The right to free speech simply means that the Federal Government can't lock you up for speaking. (within limits)
    Tell you boss to stuff it and see where your right to free speech gets you.

    The Bill of Rights (and I can't say this enough) LIMITS the federal government. All other rights are reserved for the states.
    The founding fathers did not want the Federal government to get too big.
    Now look what we have allowed our politicians to do!
    The interstate system was developed to move the MILITARY quickly in case of an invasion. The fact that we use it is an afterthought.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  22. LibShooter

    LibShooter Member

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    Precedent is not legislation, but it is part of the "law" by any functional definition of the word. Even all the legislation passsed by Congress, state legislatures and municipalities can't cover every single specific case in any court.
     
  23. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    Precedents are incredibly dangerous. Take the recent Supreme Court decisions on the Second Amendment for example. Both times the court decided by 5 to 4 votes that the
    2A is an individual right and then that it does apply to the states. This sets the precedent that the Supreme Court HAS THE POWER to decide what parts of the Bill of Rights it will recognize or ignore. We came within ONE vote of losing a basic Constitutional right and now it is just a matter of time until another new Justices is appointed and reverses this decision. Anything that the government has the power to allow, it also has the power to forbid. The Founding Fathers intended for the federal government to have NO power to regulate firearms.
     
  24. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator Staff Member

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    Perhaps. But nonetheless the doctrine of stare decisis has been fundamental to our legal system and the Common Law of England, on which our system is based, for 500+ years. It's not about to change any time soon.
     
  25. stickhauler

    stickhauler Member

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    Wrong, you can still walk or ride a horse without a license or insurance. When you drive a motor vehicle, you have a very good chance at having an accident, whether your fault or the fault of another. They require you to have insurance to assure that if you are at fault, the victim (the other driver/car) is made whole again. The roads, while it is a fact a portion was funded by your taxes, is not entirely paid for by you. So they require you to have a license to drive, a license plate for your car, etc.

    The right to keep and bear arms isn't entirely because the founders felt people had a God given right to self defense, in their opinion, you had that right, given a free man by his creator, for self defense, for gleaning game for food, for use to defend your state against any and all enemies.

    A right can not be revoked without cause, a privilege is granted to you, as long as you abide by the laws under which the privilege was granted to you. Refuse to buy a car tag, you can't drive on the roads. Get too many tickets, you lose that privilege to keep your license. Refuse to get insurance, you're not legally allowed to drive on the roads.
     
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