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Where do your rights come from?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Drjones, Dec 26, 2002.

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  1. Drjones

    Drjones member

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    This is a continuation of a TFL thread.

    This is a particularly interesting question for me, since I am not religious.

    Actually, it should be of equal interest even to religious people who believe God gave them their rights, because even if god himself gave you your rights, they are still not totally "inalieable"; if god gave them to you, he can also take them away.

    We would agree that what man can give, man can take away. Same goes for god.

    So....chat away!
     
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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    Ayn Rand addresses this well:

    "The Declaration of Independence stated that men 'are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.' Whether one believes that man is the product of a Creator or of nature, the issue of man’s origin does not alter the fact that he is an entity of a specific kind-a rational being——that he cannot function successfully under coercion, and that rights are a necessary condition of his particular mode of survival." ~ "Man's Rights"

    “The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A-and man is man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right for him to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational.†~ Atlas Shrugged
     
  3. Blackhawk

    Blackhawk Member In Memoriam

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    I already told you on the TFL thread. Go get what I said and drag it over here. Go on now! :D
     
  4. Mark Benningfield

    Mark Benningfield Member

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    Yes He can

    Hello All.

    (Aside to Oleg, Fantastic Job!!:D )

    Dr. Jones:

    Since I do believe in God, I know that my rights as well as my life were given to me by Him, to use according to His purpose, not mine. Now, you say that this makes my rights not truly "inalienable", since He can take them away. This is not technically true. Inalienable means that whatever it is cannot be made separate from yourself -- it is in your nature. If God were to remove your rights from you, it would be a fundamental alteration of your nature (which He created in the first place).

    Okay, what about if someone says, "Well, you need to give up your rights or life because it is God's will." Well, I didn't see that in my Bible and not having had a personal revelation from God about it, you can bet that they will wish they hadn't tried!! HTH.
     
  5. Schuey2002

    Schuey2002 Member

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    Blackhawk,
    I went and did it. Here you go.Sorry,but I couldn't resist. :D :D

     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2002
  6. dave

    dave Member

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    I believe that just about sums up my feelings as closely as anything I've read.
     
  7. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    It's important to start with where they DON'T come from: governments or any other human source. The people who founded America mostly believed (or claimed to believe) that they came from God.

    I have had a serious Constitutional scholar/lawyer tell me that the "political reliability" in Constitutional terms of an atheist was, in his view, suspect.

    My belief? I don't know. The "God angle" may very well be there, but there's an alternative, what I call "innate biological morality".

    See, man is fundamentally a social animal. Our nearest ancestors in the animal kingdom are pack animals, and most of the smartest mammals also have pack/herd/pod/whatever social structures.

    (For simplicity's sake I'll call all of these "packs" below.)

    Those social structures exist to preserve the "rights" of the individual members: the right to live, breed, even own property. You think animals don't know anything about property rights? Go try and take a dead Caribou off of an Alaskan wolf pack, and you'll find they have a different opinion, and will enforce it. Many "pack animals" have territories that they protect against other packs.

    What about mutual defense? That's the most common of all - herds of Llamas will gang-charge pumas or dang near anything else. Tribes of teensy little African pygmy mongoose will gang up on 20ft snakes :). Watch any nature show.

    Within the pack, killing of other pack members is limited to very specific events, usually ritual battles for dominance. If individual members of the pack could be randomly attacked by others in the pack, they'd leave - and reduce their odds of survival. One wolf can't take down a caribou.

    All of the basics of what we call "morals" can be found in animal societies. These principles are therefore ingrained right into our genes - all human societies have broadly similar patterns of "morality" and when this is deliberately violated on a mass scale (Stalinism for example) the society becomes massively disfunctional and will eventually collapse.

    Anyways. The lawyer who distrusted atheists paid attention to the above, and did his own research. He soon found out that many published biologists have the same view.

    ------------

    Both the "Darwin Approach" and the "God Path" take you to the same place in terms of a practical view of rights: even if the entire Bill Of Rights is *repealed*, it means nothing because rights are only recognized, not granted. If our rights are threatened, including the right to personal and mutual self defense, we must fight to take 'em back - politically if at all possible.

    Our civil rights don't come from a piece of paper.
     
  8. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    One other thing: the "Darwin view" above doesn't conflict with Rand; it just explains the origins in more detail but the "current state of the situation" is the same.
     
  9. m.i.sanders

    m.i.sanders Member

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    I think Jim has hit the nail on the head. If I remember correctly, it seems that the FF basically said the same thing. That when man lived outside of civilazation he had basic rights (life, selfdefenese, etc...) that couldn't be taken away if/when he joined a community. There also were some rights that were "reduced", but not that were given up. I wish I could remember the exact qoute, and I'm sure someone here does. It deals with natural rights.
     
  10. 80fl

    80fl Member

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    Jim: I hold an opposite viewpoint.

    To believe that man is, fundamentally, an animal, and that our closest ancestors are from the animal kingdom, you, by default, cannot believe in a higher power. That certainly leads to the question of wheter you're an atheist or not.



    To believe that animals have established "rights" strikes me as very strange. I think the animal kingdom is the epitomy of a society with NO RIGHTS. If I'm bigger and tougher than you, you have no rights. As soon as I become aged and weak, then I have no rights.


    cont'd
     
  11. 80fl

    80fl Member

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    Again, mutual defense has nothing to do with "rights" but everything to do with "survival".
    When the Lion is chasing down the herd of Cape Buffalo, then catches one, does the herd stand to defend the beleagured CB, or do they continue to run? Is the herd willing to die to protect the "rights" of said Buffalo?


    The idea that "morals" can be found in the animal society is quite interesting. If you are attempting to say that animals and humans are basically driven by the same set of rules, how would you define basic dog behaviour? When I toss a piece of meat on the ground to dog#1, does dog#2 decide that it would be wrong to steal that piece of meat based on a moral guideline?
    The principle of morality must have a benchmark. Without that benchmark, what would prevent me, morally, from killing my neighbor for his food? After all, in your beloved animal kingdom, they do just that.
     
  12. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Member

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    I've seen lots of people stand around and watch fellow citizens being beaten killed, stolen from. Does that make it okay morally? I don't see the point here.


    Again, I'm not sure of the point here. Domesticated dogs, and even cats, appear to know some right from wrong. They know not to wet the carpet usually. Yeah, we can argue pavlov here, but really, what's the difference? A dog wets on the carpet, gets spanked, knows not to do it in the future, feels guilty (or not) if he wets the carpet again. On the other side of the same coin, a man steals from another. Gets jail time, knows not to do it again in the future, feels guilty (or not) if he steals again.

    Rights, Morals, and Laws have nothing in common with each other. Rights are an individuals 'rules and morals' Laws are societies 'rules and morals.'

    The conflict comes when an individuals actions based on his rules and morals contradicts societies rules and morals.

    Like that American kid who got nearly caned to death in Korea for grafeti a few years back...was he right or wrong, was the punishment just?

    Like Einstein said, It's all relative. Or something like that. :)

    Kamicosmos
     
  13. King

    King Member

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    I agree mainly with Schuey2002 and Blackhawk. Rights are what we, as a people, agree to. In other words, the rights that I have are afforded to me mainly because others have granted them to me.

    Our founding fathers paved the way for us to have them. That's what makes America the most unique and certainly the best place to live on earth. Since our rights are afforded to us by the agreement of others, we must work always to protect them.

    I believe that it is in accordance with God's law that we use them well.

    By example, I have the RKBA because that right has been given me by our founding fathers constitutionally. But I do not have the right to kill (in terms of murder) because God says that I can not. I do have the right to kill in defense of my life because God expects me to defend the precious gift of life that he's given me.

    That's IMHO of course..
     
  14. 80fl

    80fl Member

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    Scary stuff:

    If "others have granted them to me", what will stop "others" from taking them away from you?
    The entire Bill of Rights is proclaiming that these rights are from God, and the .gov CAN'T take them away. If you surrender your rights TO the .gov, instead of CLAIMING them FROM GOD, you have eliminated your CLAIM on them. The foundation of not only the 2nd, but all others is that these rights existed long before the USofA; long before England, and LONG...LONG before you are even born.
    If you're under the impression that a bunch of farmers in the 1700's GAVE you rights, what's to stop a bunch of ex Lawyers in 2003 from TAKING your rights...You don't have a leg to stand on.
    If I didn't believe that my rights came from God, I would have no problem coming in on the side of pure Democracy; one year they decide to give me rights, the next year they decide to take some away

    Said dog does not hold off peeing on the carpet out of a sense of morality. They are driven by FEAR. If you have an opportunity to steal, knowing full well that you would never get caught, would you? Mabey you would, but you would still know it to be WRONG.
     
  15. King

    King Member

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    80FL...the Bill of Rights were written by men (blessed by God I believe). They are not of the Bible per se. As human beings, we have God's blessing, and expectations about how we should live and conduct ourselves when we connect with our fellow man. That supercedes all laws written by men and goverments.

    I don't know that God specifically mandated the RKBA, unreasonable search and seizure, the right to a speedy trial, etc. I believe that smart men realized that goverments had the potential to unreasonably control and oppress their people and to perhaps take away those gifts that God has given "all" mankind. These were lessons learned from experience in the "old country).

    Maybe I just wasn't saying it correctly. Or, perhaps we have different views of the world. If so, viva la difference.
     
  16. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Rights are a byproduct aspect of self actualization of a given culture or society, but not necessarily inherent, consistent, or long lived.

    A nice reality check of this aspect is provided by the experiences of individuals who have been stranded in some manner away from society and find their rights quickly become nothing more than that of any other animal trying to survive in that environment. In short, one's rights become nothing more than the law of the jungle.

    One of the more blatant misunderstandings I have read concerning our rights comes from those who refer to our "God-given Constitutional rights." Here, there is a very definite conflict of terminology as the Constitutional rigths are a matter of government and the government rarely operates in a manner consistent with being blessed by God. Furthermore, it is odd that Americans would get specific God-given rights that other largely Christian countries don't receive. In other words, either God is playing favorites with various countries or the stipulations of the Constitution really are not God-given per se, only attributed to being God-given. If these rights were God-given, then crossing borders would not alter these rights.

    Invoking a supernatural entity such as God is a manner by which governments (or individuals) try to give more credibility to a given claim or ideal by noting that it is a will or factor of an entity above that of us lowly humans and that as lowly humans, we are simply acting on that will or factor as the deity would have us do.
     
  17. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Member

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    I think we are basically saying the same thing here:

    Who determines that it is wrong to do 'X' thing?
    God?
    Man?
    Yourself?

    That is the core of the debate, at least to me.

    Kamicosmos
     
  18. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    Freedom gives you your rights. You lose it, you lose them as well. That's why most people for most of history had none of what we now consider "inalienable" and "natural" rights.
     
  19. 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment member

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    Ummm, Rik, they still had those same Rights. The fact government wrongly restricted their exercise doesn't change the fact we have these Rights by virtue of our very existence. Rights aren't granted by gubbermint, I think we have all agreed, and thus they can't be taken away. Cowing people into submission isn't the same thing.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I edited for spelling, now lemme alone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2002
  20. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    Yeah? Couldn't have proven it by them. They not only never HAD those rights, they never even heard of them. In fact, most people throughout history had never heard of them. If those rights are indeed given by God, they are pretty easily abridged by man.
     
  21. 80fl

    80fl Member

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    In the case of domesticated animals, man-generally.
    In the case of wild animals, stronger animals.
    In the case of men, God.



    I don't think you understand what God has promised us. He has never promised us comfort, safety, security, justice, food, protection, happiness, clothing, etc.
    He has only promised us eternal life, through his grace.


    I believe the BOR was written by men INSPIRED by God. God absoulutely granted us FREEDOM in the Bible. He did not gurantee us freedom FROM oppression, however.

    If, as seems the case here, you believe that the "rights" we have, as outlined in the BOR, are GRANTED by men, the entire 2nd ammend. debate is over. You should have no argument with .gov for taking the privelages away that were noted in the 2nd. The Patriot Act should not be a concern either, as the men in charge were duly elected, and therefore, have the authority to remove and/or revoke any rights (privelages) that you may have.

    The foundation for the BOR is GOD. Gods rules never change.
    If the foundation was MAN, Man has the freedom, as granted by God, to change the rules.

    I believe, in the future, this will play a very important role in undermining the BOR. God is constantly on the defensive in this country. At some point the very notion that God influenced the writers of the BOR, will, in and of itself, preclude the legality and authority of the document. Undoubtedly there will be something to replace it,but it will be, I'm sure, a watered down PC version.


    Again I say, very scary stuff. Are you in favor of the GCA, and the Crime Bill on a national level? How about the Assault Weapons ban in CA? Or the Smart Gun Bill in NJ?
    If you are happy with your lot in life, ie: "the rights I have are afforded to me by others", you should never complain, nor do you have the RIGHT to complain when your rights are stripped from you. After all, these are men who have been legally elected, and supported by the voters.
     
  22. 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment member

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    Either there are Rights or merely privileges. The discovery of ones Rights may have been an ongoing process, and the suppression of those Rights an eternal gubbermint pursuit but the Rights still exist. Any government can(and probably will) sooner or later usurp Rights of individuals but if they don't still exist, ie we merely need to reclaim them, then they were enver more than privileges to start with and thus the Euro-Trolls are right.
     
  23. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    Whether they are rights or merely privileges depends entirely on our willingness to fight and die, if necessary, to preserve them.
     
  24. 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment member

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    *Taps fingers on chin in thought...*

    So, you're saying there are no Rights left in America, just a few privileges they have yet to take away?

    That's not Flame Bait. I'm dead serious.
     
  25. RikWriter

    RikWriter Member

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    Re: *Taps fingers on chin in thought...*

    There are no rights at all UNLESS you are willing to fight for them.
     
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