Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | September 16, 2011

My money: I deserve to keep it all

I may decide to use some of it for the purposes I assign to government

This is being framed as a deeply silly public argument, because it is being argued on the terms of the left.  It’s being argued, in other words, the way kindergartners argue such things.  “I deserve…”  “You don’t deserve…”  “It’s not fair…”  “MOM!!!!!!!  Billy’s touching me!”  “Am not!” “Are too!”  Etc, etc.

If any of us doesn’t deserve to keep everything he has earned, then that man is a slave.  Alternatively, he is less than human; he has no moral standing, and no unalienable rights inhere in him.  He is like a farm animal.

Of course we all deserve to keep our own money.  If it is ill-gotten – stolen, swindled – then it’s the crime that deprives us of it, not any inherent function of the armed authorities to prowl the land in search of “undeserved” bank balances.

The question of what we “deserve” boils down to which came first, the individual human with rights, or the state.  America was founded on the principle that the individual human with rights comes first.  Any idea that violates that principle is counter to our founding idea.  It is not possible to reconcile with our founding principle the idea of collective schemes in which we make some modification to “what we deserve.”  We either deserve to keep all our own earnings – money – wealth – goods – or we do not have unalienable rights.

Now, what we decide to do with our own money will inevitably involve government functions of some kind.  People have to have a government in some form.  A certain minimum set of public services is essential to corporate human life.  The American founding idea is that we the people decide what government will do, and we decide how much money government will have to do it with.  Then we contribute out of what is inalienably ours.

In the American idea, the state doesn’t operate on the basis of “what we deserve.”  It operates on the basis of law: definitions adopted by due process, and objective circumstances.  “What we deserve” is outside the scope of the state’s competence to decide.  If we enter relationships in which someone else decides that for us, they are voluntary; e.g., employer paying or promoting employee, fan-base keeping pro sports or the music industry profitable.

The percentage-based income tax and the practice of payroll withholding have combined for a century now to obscure in our minds the simplicity of our founding principles.  But the founding principles were very clear.  Modern interlocutors can seek to change the argument, toss red herrings around, and get us in full 6-year-old mode talking about “deserving” and “not deserving” according to whether we are Leona Helmsley or Mother Teresa, but the bottom line is that a man whose title to his money is considered – as a first principle – subject to the whim of his neighbor, is a slave.

America was founded on the principle that individual rights precede and constrain the state.  As far as government is properly concerned, we all deserve to keep 100% of our money.  The question of what we decide to do with it, and how the functions of government figure into that, is a separate and subordinate topic.

It is impossible to live as free men and women otherwise.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.


Responses

  1. “If any of us doesn’t deserve to keep everything he has earned, then that man is a slave. Alternatively, he is less than human; he has no moral standing, and no unalienable rights inhere in him. He is like a farm animal.”

    When I started reading your latest post I stopped right here. It encapsulates the argument perfectly. That is, indeed, the exact point where the teams are chosen and the uniforms are handed out.

    OK, that said, I’ll go read the rest now…
    🙂

    • i agree that it was an interesting formulation….especially if one can define “earn”.

      a great number of people would say that many folks working with large organizations are more productive than they are compensated.

      I guess the opticon might call them “wage slaves”.

      • Except for the fact that government is singularly incapable of making even a minimally accurate judgement as to what those earnings should be. What government, the federal government in particular, is unusually adapt is destroying large amounts of wealth and, perhaps allocating that greatly diminished wealth more “equitably” even if the “wage slave” ends of a much reduced actual wage.

        It is also, very often (or at least not infrequently), the case, that organizations are very generous indeed to their employees, sometimes even during a weak economic period, sometimes even at the expense of the “owners” or management of the business. This generosity helps to retain and attract high quality employees and ultimately inures to the benefit of said owners and/or management but such a policy does require some foresight. Private actors do not invariably display such foresight but government is almost without exception incapable of it. (Indeed short term electoral imperatives usually impair whatever capacity for sound judgement government may possess).

  2. The use of the word “deserve” as a means of characterizing the terms in which the issue may be considered is a moral one. Morality depends upon premise and that is why our founding fathers characterized “certain unalienable rights”, ones granted to all men by their creator and thus beyond the ability of other men to deny those rights.

    In the 22nd century many Americans no longer believe in a beneficent creator and as always, the devil lies in the details, for if my unalienable rights are based upon mere opinion (no matter how many may agree) and ultimately rely upon the shared consensus of the current milieu majority… then what is today a socially agreed upon ‘unalienable’ right may, at a future date become revocable and denied by the ‘shared consensus’ of a future majority.

    For what the mob grants, the mob can rescind…

    And in our abandonment in the belief in a transcendent, beneficent, omniscient divinity we have removed the sole premise which allows for ‘unalienable’ rights.

    ‘Universal human rights’ are no substitute for divinely granted ‘unalienable’ rights because only an ‘authority’ which transcends human will can remain above humanity’s whims…

    • On the bright side we (almost) all now believe in “Green Jobs”, “The Peace Process”, that we spend too much on defense, that the West is inherently evil and irredeemable, imminently catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, “Nuclear Zero”, “Universal Health Care”, “Small Class Size”, unlimited public pensions paid for by someone else and any number of other wonderful things. It just shows that homo sapiens need to “believe” devoutly in something “Supernatural” and these seem to be doing quite nicely. I mean who needs your “Creator” and these “Unailenable Rights” wathchamacallit thingies?

    • good comment Geoffrey.

      the problem is that basing rights on a divinity that is not universally acknowledged and has been endlessly disputed and endlessly used as mandating endless crimes against actual humans is also not a great basis for much.

      it’s not valueless to use our common humanity as affording us equal rights.

      • “t’s not valueless to use our common humanity as affording us equal rights.”

        No it’s not valueless fuster but it is inadequate.

        Though the loss of societal consensus regarding a ‘creator’ is ‘milk spilt’ so I don’t mean to cry over it, merely point out the long term societal consequences.

        Equal rights based upon what amounts to the current whim of shared opinion are nether permanent nor irrevocable and sooner or later the following will apply;
        “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Thomas Jefferson

        “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.  Liberty is a well- armed lamb contesting the vote.” Benjamin Franklin

        • Geoffrey, it’s all the adequate we got. belief in a God may be a wonderful thing, but on Earth it’s a whim as much as anything else.

          in this country, it’s not as near to universal as it once (probably) was and equal rights is honored more now than it was, by far.

          nothing is permanent on this planet, but good old God-fearing folk all over the Western, Christian world found it quite all right to traffic in slaves and deny women anything even near to equal rights….even in church.

          I share your concern for the lack of guaranteed future honoring of those rights, but don’t find that piety has been all that effective in the past.

  3. If we all took your attitude, there would be no money to pay your fat priviledged public pension.

    I presume what you really mean is that you alone, rather than the elected legislators, should decide how much you should contribute to our community, and what your contribution should be used for. Thankfully, the Founding Fathers thought otherwise when they were framing the Constitution. Given your basic antipathy to, and misunderstanding of, core American values and to our Constitution, is it time you moved to a place that more closely adhered to your idea of governance? Might I suggest, the Congo…….

    • The “Founding Fathers”, if you mean the varied and sundry that argued over the Articles of Confederation and then scrapped it and started over with more arguments about a proposed Constitution, made no mention of an income tax and would have been flogged upon return to their homes if they had made one part of their new structure of government. Patrick Henry, et al, would have gagged at the thought of someone like Bawney Fwank or Henry Waxman or Patty Murray deciding how much of his hard-earned income he could keep and how much an omnipotent state could confiscate to insure its continued power.

      • I recall somewhere the rallying call “no taxation without representation”. We have “representation”, I believe.

  4. “If the public are bound to yield obedience, to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.” –Candidus in the Boston Gazette, 1772

    “Law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so, when it violates the right of an individual.” Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819.
    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
    “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    “Now what liberty can there be where property is taken without consent?” Samuel Adams
    “Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.” Samuel Adams

    “In the general course of human nature, a power over man’s substance amounts to a power over his will.” Alexander Hamilton

    “In a free government almost all other rights would become worthless if the government possessed power over the private fortune of every citizen.” Chief Justice John Marshall

  5. It’s interesting to note that while Henry Waxman claimed, in explaining the loss of the Weiner seat, that Jews misunderstood Obama’s Israel policy in taking issue with it, he made no corresponding claim regarding their desire to protect their wealth–thereby implicitly admitting that Obama and the Democrats are, indeed, after our wealth, if we have any.

    • of course, adam, of course.

      anytime someone says one thing their position on every other possible thing can be inferred.

      it’s clear by your comment that you implicitly admit the the moon to be made of macaroni-and-erzatz-cheese.

      • I don’t know about every possible issue, but if you’ve seen the clip he makes a point of categorizing Jews’ view of Obama’s Israel policy as MISTAKEN, and is equally explicit in saying that BECAUSE Jews are generally wealthy they, like other groups that have become wealthy, try to protect their wealth from… well, what, exactly? He sees their point–no mistakes here! According to Waxman, if you want to protect your wealth, oppose the Democrats. It’s good to have some bi-artisan agreement.

        • I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intentional but I’m intrigued by “bi-artisan”.

          with your permission, I may try using that one elsewhere.

          not sure that Jews in America are generally wealthy. spent a decade or so collecting food for distribution to food pantries in NYC and quite a bit of it went to old folks, many of whom kept kosher.

          • I noticed the slip into “bi-artisan” when the comment came up–feel free! I’m against copyright law anyway.

            The wealthiness of Jews is not the issue, though–the assumptions or stereotypes Waxman is trading in is.

  6. Exactly, GB, and welcome back. Good to see you around. I hope all is well. Thank you for the excellent quotations as well.’

    Interesting, indeed, adam. But not surprising.

    • It would be very hard for the Democrats to surprise me and, I imagine, you, by this point.

    • I’ve been around, just not commenting much lately. I find lately that I no longer wish to preach to the choir, nor try any longer to reach the ‘paulites’ of the world, as I’ve developed a greater appreciation for the truth of Robert Heilein’s aphorism; “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it only annoys the pig”

      Not that the Paulite’s of the world are pigs but simply unable to appreciate wisdom when placed before them and thus a waste of the ‘pearls’ “cast before them”. Paulite’s unprovoked personal attack upon you is a perfect example of a refusal to engage the idea and instead attack the messenger as a transparent and pathetic attempt to discredit the idea..

      Unless I have something to say that truly adds to the discussion (as above) where I point out the unappreciated societal consequences of what the loss of societal consensus as to the very existence of a creator leads to, I see little point in rewording your commentary.

      For the most part, people either get it or they don’t and very few are willing to dispassionately consider ideas upon their own merit.

  7. Last Monday, during the Republican candidate debates, a young “tea party” attendee asked “How much of a dollar I earn do I deserve to keep?” Your post defines the answer I was hoping would be forthcoming – it did not. A great many other answers I wanted to hear were also absent. Of course, not all the candidates were asked the question. However, it does beg the question regarding the quality of debate moderator(s).

  8. Adam:

    Henry “The Phantom of the Opera” Waxman is a lackey. Always was, always will be. Lackeys don’t tell the truth, they just bark whatever their masters tell them to bark and the stupider the bark the better they like it

    Pay no attention to that idiot.

    • Well, but if you’re right, that’s all the more reason to pay attention: what his masters think is far more important than what Waxman thinks, and if Waxman is letting us in on their thinking, let’s take advantage of it.

    • worse than not telling the truth, those Lackeys are involved with the red sox.

  9. Right on, right on, right on…

    And yes, Paulite. You don’t presume anything. I do think that only the people that acrually earn it have a valid say so in for what and how much of their money is used to feed the public troth. Because if you leave it to the beneficiaries it will never be anough.

  10. No, of course not. It is soooo much better to elect our own divinities to dictate our morality to us. It is also soooo much better to pray at the FDR, Carter or Obama altar for a few long years. And, even if some strange “devil”, like Reagan for instance, takes over our Walhalla in Washington, we can always have the hope of electing some divine socialist to “save” us from the evil spirits come next election.

  11. Adam,

    You might be right. But what Waxman is spewing is just excuses and talking points, not necessarily what his masters are thinking.

    • In all seriousness, I think it’s pretty significant that a leading Democrat was willing to spew what can so easily be taken as an anti-semitic trope.

  12. Adam, Oh, you mean that suggesting that the Jews are idiots, incapable of understanding the most basic stuff, might be construed as being anti-semitic?

    Hmmmm…You are probably right.

    But then, I wonder what the rest of our beloved Congress think of their happy-go-lucky, little, insignificant serfs, like you and me…?
    🙂

    • I actually had the part about Jews being money grubbing misers in mind.

  13. Fuster:

    “a great number of people would say that many folks working with large organizations are more productive than they are compensated.”

    Nope. Not slaves at all or of any kind, sort or style. They are free to go work somewhere else where their enormous and, hopefully, unique talent might be in higher demand and would be better appreciated.

    But, you might ask, what if there is nowhere else to work for more money?

    Then, I would respiond, they are indeed being paid at least what they are worth, maybe even more.

    And, by the way, I hate to bring this up again and again, particularly to a splendidly sensitive, caring and giving guy like you, but every business, every corporation is in it for the money and profit is what they seek. Only government pays people more than they are worth. But, enough about the Teacher’s Union… Government must be like that because they are splendidly sensitive, caring and giving too. Like you.

    The great diference, of course, is that business would be giving up their own money, government gives out somebody else’s.

    • In the same fashion as workers are free to work elsewhere, people who object to paying their taxes are free to relocate.

      Slavery really does not lie in having to pay for government services and in having a representative government apportion the rules for assessing the rates.

      If slavery lies in collecting some of the money that Americans earned and using those funds to pay the salaries and benefits packages for military personnel then some folks may have to live with the burden of that bit of wisdom.

      Once upon a time, the US gov’t imposed a special new tax on telephone usage to pay for the costs of the war in Vietnam. Some of us didn’t like that tax, but probably didn’t consider it as rendering us all slaves.

      The power to tax might be the power to destroy, but it ain’t necessarily so.

  14. Fuster:

    Muslims, mostly, were the ones trafficking in slaves. Still are, actually.

    Christians bought slaves, used them in the fields and, often eduacted and cared for them fairly well. The huge numbers of black Baptists attest to the fact that they were also sincerely converted to that faith which for the uneducated atheists among us is Christian.

    It is also good to note here that it was also a predominantly Christian nation that fought a bloody Civil War to free them and that it is an increasingly secular Congress from that same nation that blatantly exploits them for their votes.

    The verdict is still out as to which form of slavery has been worse for the slaves and, also, more ruthless and calculating, the physical slavery of two centuries ago or the mental and moral slavery of the modern welfare state.

    • no rafa.

      “Muslims, mostly, were the ones trafficking in slaves.”

      that’s not really true. slavery has long been with us and was extensively practiced for thousands of years before Islam was a gleam in Mohammad’s daddy’s eye.

      non-Muslims gathered slaves for the Muslims and Christian’s bought them and resold them to other Christians who used them.

      Muslims DID extensively hold slaves and DID continue the practice after the Christians gave it up. (The Saudis only made slavery illegal in the 1950s.) but you can’t pin “mostly’ on them, except for a small segment of human history.

      Even so, it still goes to show that Geoffrey should concede that belief in God hasn’t been a sound basis for a belief in equal human rights.

  15. A telling diference between your philosophy and mine is that I consider rights to be individually owned and, from this and other posts of yours that I have read, you think that rights are government’s or exclusively owned by “workers” and unions. From all that I gather that you must be a collectivist.

    And, also, if I am treated unfairly by a corporation I will certainly move. In fact, I’ve done that already. And if my country treats me unfairly, to the point that it becomes unbearable, I will also move. That choice has also been executed before.

    And, also, there is this: America is a democracy and its citizens have the right to express themselves freely and with their votes. Corporations are not democracies. Thank you for small favors because if they were, they would never get off the ground and everybody would be starving for jobs.

    • —“A telling diference between your philosophy and mine is that I consider rights to be individually owned and, from this and other posts of yours that I have read, you think that rights are government’s…”—

      no. you’re wrong and you’re just making up crap. you might check back because you have a problem comprehending what’s been said.

  16. No, fuster.

    What hasn’t proven to be a sound basis for belief in equal human rights has been secular, anti-religious and rabidly atheist governments.

    On the other hand, the rights that let you write all this here and now are the rights that, according to our founders, were endowed by “your Creator” not by the silly little men that run about in Washington.

    • you’re correct about that. rabidly atheistic governments are at least as bad as rabidly theistic governments.

      democratic governments that avoid the whole “rabid” thing and don’t promote and don’t prohibit religious views seem to be better.

      that document with the “…all men are created equal….” is a fine one and that “their Creator” part is quite all right….and allows every person the scope to decide just how self-evident is the identity of their creator.

      • Oh, my comprehension is fine on your collectivism. Yours, on nthe other hand, might not be so fine. And be careful with your adjetives. What you describe as “made up crap” might well be describing your own socio-political philosophy.

        But, after all, you do support unions, a COLLECTIVE barganing group that stands squarely in front of corporate and private interests and you seem to feel that redistribution is the best answer to set the world on a “fairer” keel. Of course, this seems to be particularly important when the redistribution goes either the union’s way or your way. You also like government largesse and higher taxes for the COLLECTIVE good and you support redistribution of wealth into the COLLECTIVE troth via social government policy. And so on ad infinitum.

        So, I guess I’ll stick with the “if it Quacks like a duck and walks like a duck”, etc…

        Sorry but I just feel safer in my assumptions that way…

      • fuster, you said:

        “that document with the “…all men are created equal….” is a fine one and that “their Creator” part is quite all right….and allows every person the scope to decide just how self-evident is the identity of their creator.”

        And our government does just that and has been doing it since its birth over two hundred years ago. But, as is often the case with these things, it isn’t enough. Nothing will be enough until God is completely eradicated from the American psyches. Such is the zealotry and fervor of the atheists.

        But, and here is a saucer of the best sauce in this argument, if you (using the royal “you” here) believe that man is who grants you your rights, then you should also asume that man can take your granted rights away and, furthermore, that, if they did, there would be no appeal or higher court to stop it.

        Our founders knew that and they invoqued God, our Creator, as the source of these rights precisely so that man or governments of men could not take those rights away. If you dissagree with that, if you argue that this is silly in any way, shape or form, then you would be a fool well in your way to becoming a servile subject already.

        If you are an agnostic or even an atheist then choose Nature or Thor or Odin as your God and your Creator. Choose wisely and sincerely, though because you will be choosing something that, to you, will solidly sit above any rule of men. Claim that particular deity to award your undying and unwavering loyalty above and far beyond anything you award to any government of men.

        If you don’t understand the need for that then you will surely end up serving someone infinitely more ambivalent and whimsical with your rights and that would surely lead you to a terrible place.

        • no rafa I don’t “believe that man is who grants you your rights”
          I believe that being a human being means that I have human rights.

          man, men, governments or gods may deny to me the exercise of those rights, but it is my status as homo sapien that gives me those rights.

          saying that the rights spring from a creator changes little. the rights “vest” from having been created and they remain just as easy or difficult to enjoy.

  17. It’s interesting how many people tout freedom as a positive good. I would estimate that almost all US citizens do so — at least when they are speaking to the public. Many value freedom as a consequence of some vague perception of our “common humanity.” Others find its value in religion. But whatever the source, it is perhaps the value that commands the greatest public support.

    Yet, every dollar forcibly taken from you diminishes your freedom. Therefore, there should be a presumption against taxation, to be utilized only for things that have greater value than the damage done to freedom.

    Conversely, when government hands you money it took from someone else, it does not confer freedom upon you — it buys your vote.

    Granted, a government needs some level of taxation. In addition to questioning whether a government expenditure is worth the cost to individual freedom, we should also ask whether our means of raising revenue inflicts the least cost to the freedom of our citizens. Some taxes are worse than others.

    • Cousin Vinnie:

      Here, here…Well said and better put. Taxation is not slavery per se, but taxation is most certainly a diminution of freedom.

      • government or any law at all is in theory a reduction of personal freedom.

        the road to slavery starts with the discovery of the second person on the planet.

  18. I wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper asking that the President define the criteria he uses when describing our tax system as “unfair”. A reply letter stated that fixating on such definitions was a mark of an uncompassionate conservative. That even four year old Sally just knows that it’s unfair when someone else gets a bigger piece of pie than she does. So yes, we are dealing on a playground level of thought.

    • “So yes, we are dealing on a playground level of thought.”

      you’re not really ready to deal with it if you haven’t formulated a definition of “unfair” and have to rely on staff from your local newspaper to explain it for you.
      you don’t run with and try to pass off as authoritative any old opinion, even if it tickles your tailback.
      even Sally could tell you that.

  19. Fuster, Then…enjoy. And good luck to you, sir. But I wouldn’t bet a plugged nickel on you.

  20. Yep. Well said.

    It is also interesting to note that, when it comes to “fixing” anything the increased taxes are always immediate but the spending “cuts” are projected over ten years (if they ever happen at all…).

    I would like to hear the small remaining nucleous of fiscally conservative GOP leaders call for spending cuts now, right away, before any further talk of increasing taxes. Any taxes. These are two totally independent issues and they should be treated as such. After all, over spending is stricktly a spending issue not a revenue issue. Allowing the socialist redistributionists to mix both is stupid and counterproductive to the GOP, to the taxpayers and, eventually, to the nation.

  21. Welcome, jvermeer51 (great handle), and my apologies for the delay in your comment posting. There’s a one-time approval, but you are now “in,” so feel free to join the fray.

    Regarding the debate itself, notice that the original proposition was not that taxation is slavery. I explicitly pointed out that free people can decided to tax themselves for certain purposes. So there’s not even any need to argue against the “taxation as slavery” strawman. It’s just a false-dilemma proposition.

    fuster’s argument about people not agreeing on the Creator is a classic old-paradigm argument as I outlined the type in the Palestinian statehood piece. It is wholly negative. It offers no positive, workable alternative to the original American proposition, which was unquestionably that there is a Creator who endows humans with unalienable rights. It merely disagrees, and suggests that that disagreement means we cannot make policy on the basis of there being unalienable rights.

    Where does that leave us? On what basis SHOULD we make policy? The old-paradigm argument never says. It just leaves us without a bulwark against the loss of freedoms. It’s philosophical community organizing: it demands that those defending individual rights be paralyzed by the lack of consensus on one aspect or another of their source. It offers nothing “better”: no way forward, no answer to how we as a group should act instead. It simply objects to everything that positive, productive people want to defend.

    • —“It merely disagrees, and suggests that that disagreement means we cannot make policy on the basis of there being unalienable rights.”–

      c’mon, Kid. that’s entirely NOT what I’m saying. I said that the rights are there, God or no…..

      heck, even the Declaration lays the truth of those rights as being the self-evident natural equality of men.

      you might try reading by boy Thomas’ Leviathan and look at how he bases the equality of men.

  22. Some, including fuster, have also made it abundantly clear that simply being a member of the human race is enough to have and deserves those “inalienable” rights. Although this is meant to sound great and, even, altruistic, it is also disingenuous and downright dangerous. I say that because that would leave any and every individual free to decide for himself what is right and what is wrong and it would make that individual’s decision so whether he represents himself or some government bureaucracy.

    This is a dangerous ground to tread because, for instance, if I believe that taking my neighbor’s property is OK, does that make my decision moral or even valid even if my belief was sincere? No. Regardless of inherent sincerity, there also has to be a higher rulebook by which a society and its laws guide themselves. This is so in my opinion as well as, it seems, also in our founding fathers’ opinions.

    Perhaps the no-god-is-good-enough-for-me crowd might consider bowing their human arrogance to good ole Hammurabi…But, no, that wouldn’t work for them either because even Hammurabi, who was one of the first to logically accept that societies are better and more fairly ruled by a body of organized laws, also recognized some supreme being. “Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule in the land.”

    Kinda sounds like even good ole Hammu also thought that having his laws and rights endorsed by his “Creator” was a pretty good road to follow…

    • rafa….of course every person ultimately decides “right and wrong” for himself when it comes to cases.
      the higher authority, moral or legal, never makes it physically impossible for the individual to choose incorrectly or act unjustly and the danger from injustice is always there.
      moral precepts are violated as often as are laws whether those laws are profane or divine.

      • fuster: What you are saying is the same as stating rather categorically that water is…well…wet. Hate to break it to you, kid, but we all knew that.

        The discussion, without douing due diligence, I admit, was based not on man’s ability to tell right from wrong or government’s ability to punish the law breakers but on the original American proposition that based our most basic rights on the presence and will of our Creator.

        Later, as these discussion tend to morph, we also entered into a clear denial by you that God had nothing to do with rights, that rights were simply another function of being human, etc…

        • rafa, let me attempt to clarify for you.

          what I offered was a basis for human rights that is independent of a divine creator and laid in the proposition that all humans are, by their creation, equal. (of course, the Declaration didn’t exactly specify the identity of the Creator)

          what I did deny was that basing those rights on the existence of a god was, or ever has proven to be, a guarantee that those rights won’t suffer infringement on this here planet. down here, the intention of a god or gods still has to be interpreted by men. even then, men are entirely prone to doing things that they think to be not in accord with god’s great plan and instead doing things that seem gratifying to their animal nature.

          plainly put, men don’t always know the plan and don’t always give a damn.

          the good folks who declared our independence didn’t rely on the Christian British to recognize our American right to freedom and agree to allow it.
          they founded our independence on an earthly and bloody struggle.

          when American rights were secured, all the slaves were immediately freed and made full citizens and voted along with all the women …because people who recognize that all men are created equal by their Creator and……oops. slipped into chain-
          pulling mode.
          sorry.

  23. And what you so stubbornly refuse to understand, agree to or acknowledge as the central topic of this discussion is not that humans have, are born with or are entitled with rights. What has been forwarded here is that the authority, here, again, in case you missed that the first time, the AUTHORITY behind those rights is not the government, other humans or society as a whole but a CREATOR, God, or whatever deity one chooses for oneself.

    You, being an agnostic or an atheist seem to be too busy denying God to even accept or even look at the real positive value of such a thing and, therefore, you will not understand it; so, I also posited to you that, from a strictly political point of view, it would behoove you to award that particular authority to any entity besides government because, once you do that, it would also be within government’s “authority” to change those rights, to cancel them or to void them outright for no reason at all besides their own authority to do so. Something that has already been attempted by government in several instances and at certain levels, by the way.


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