Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day



I ran this last year on the 4th and decided to repost with last years comments because they were so good.

The back and forth between Jersey McJones and Bastiatarian is classic.  Bastiatarian plays Socrates to Jersey's ignorant, id-driven Glaucon, and thoroughly schools him on natural rights.  It is a mini-tutorial on the philosophy of our founders

"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..."
(www.Archives.gov)

That was a bold and singular statement back in 1776, and the outcome was uncertain.  Unfortunately, those words are just as controversial today.  But our fate is not sealed.  We can make these words ring true again.

Happy Independence Day!

72 comments:

Jersey McJones said...

I don't know anyone who finds those words controversial. I do, however, know of people who read waaaaaaaaaaay too much into the least important of those words.

JMJ

Bastiatarian said...

>I do, however, know of people who read waaaaaaaaaaay too much into the least important of those words.

Since liberty isn't really that important, right Comrade?

Liberty-loving Americans view those words as sacred. Anti-liberty thugs? Not so much.

Jersey McJones said...

No, Bastiat, God is not important. He did not personally give us any rights that I know of, and the Bible does not address most of those rights at all.

Rights do not come from above. They, like God, come from man.

JMJ

Jack Camwell said...

Rights don't come from anything, Jersey, if you believe in Natural Rights theory. They're inherent in all humans, and exist whether or not someone thinks they're given.

Happy 4th Silver.

Bastiatarian said...

>No, Bastiat, God is not important.

Regardless of your disbelief or ignorance of that reality, He is.

>He did not personally give us any rights that I know of

Again, your ignorance of facts does not negate those facts.

>and the Bible does not address most of those rights at all.

That's the view of someone with little to no understanding of the Bible.

>They, like God, come from man.

I realize that you have created your god in your own image. Therefore, YOUR god comes from man.

The God of the Bible, however, is real. Unless you can erase my actual lived experience with God, you'll never be able to detract from that knowledge. You're always blabbering on about being scientific (something that you are decidedly NOT). My knowledge of God is empirical in the highest sense. Your unwillingness to do the work to obtain those same results does not negate the results of those who have done the work.

But let's play your pitiful little game and pretend that there is no God, and that rights do not come from Him. Even then, it would be impossible for my right to my life, my liberty, and my property to come from other mortals. Does another man own my life? If there is no God, and I have a life, the only rational conclusion would be that I own my life, and because I own my life, I own the right to direct it (my liberty), and therefore I own the product of combining my life and my liberty (my property).

Either way, my rights are not determined by others. They are "unalienable" and absolute.

Or do you believe that those rights don't exist at all? Such a twisted belief leads to the conclusion that I can do anything I want, and nobody has a right to do anything about it. I could shoot you in the face just for fun, and nobody would have a right to punish me for it. Without rights, there is no right and wrong.

Others might not like what I did, and may attempt to use whatever strengths they have to take revenge, but what would be the point of that? Revenge for what? If there are no rights, then I haven't violated anything; I haven't done anything wrong, so even simple vengeance would be irrational. The only point of harming me would be for those people to gain some type of pleasure from it. But if doing whatever is pleasurable here and now is the only point of life, then there really is no point. It doesn't last, so why bother even living? Why not just end it and get the hassle over with?

Jersey McJones said...

Jack,

I am not personally a "Natural Rights" proponent. And while it may be true that it essentiially doesn't matter "where rights come from," perse. It matters "where rights come from" when people assert they come from very specific theological perspectives.

It matters when you assert that whatever rights there are we set down by God and unless God Himself presents a new right then no new rights could possibly be added. If we all thought that like, we'd still have slavery in America today.

So, in a way, it matters. I am not a beleiver in the notion that we have all this figured out and should just pretend to live in some kind of Christopublic. The thought is just annoyingly anti-intellectual on the face of it.

JMJ

Jersey McJones said...

Bastiat,

"He is."

Okay, Bastiat, you are apparently some kind of Christian libertarian, I assume? Safely? Well, that makes very little sense to me.

"Again, your ignorance of facts does not negate those facts."

No, Bastiat, maybe you met God, but I never have. In fact, the vast majority of the people on the face of the planet never even heard of your God.

You have no facts. You have a religion.

"But let's play your pitiful little game and pretend that there is no God, and that rights do not come from Him. Even then, it would be impossible for my right to my life, my liberty, and my property to come from other mortals."

In fact, Bastiat - in reality - those rights are defined, decided and enforced by "other mortals."

That is the real, actual, tangible world we live in.

Rights do not come from God.

Rights are just what we can generally agree we can get away with. ;)

No, really, rights are projections of culture, history, society, happenstance, etc. It's a very complex subject - but rights are most certainly not products of a god.

JMJ

Bastiatarian said...

>you are apparently some kind of Christian libertarian

Close. I'm a Christian, so I don't believe in stealing or slavery. Therefore, I'm a libertarian.

>Well, that makes very little sense to me.

I know. You don't have a meaningful understanding of either Christianity or libertarianism, so it would be strange to expect it to make sense to you.

>maybe you met God

Not during my mortal existence, but I have had interaction with Him.

>but I never have.

Clearly.

>In fact, the vast majority of the people on the face of the planet never even heard of your God.

An even larger number have never even heard of you. And yet, it is likely that you exist. At least in some form.

>You have no facts.

More accurately, I have facts that you don't accept. I have done the work and obtained certain results consistently. You haven't done the work, so you speak from both ignorance and inexperience, a fatal combination.

>You have a religion.

Good job. You got one right.

>In fact, Bastiat - in reality - those rights are defined, decided and enforced by "other mortals."

No. The only thing that others do is decide whether or not to accept the reality of my pre-existing rights. Nobody has the ability to create the rights to life, liberty, or property. They either exist or they don't. They can't be created.

>Rights do not come from God.

Even if they didn't, your assertion that they are created by man would still be as ludicrous and wholly unsupported.

>Rights are just what we can generally agree we can get away with.

Clearly you have no idea what a right is. And your self-centered, predatory nature is showing through.

>rights are projections of culture, history, society, happenstance, etc.

There is no rational basis for that bizarre assertion. The rights that are accepted by a population reflect the values, etc., of that group of people, but acceptance is not creation. The rejection of a right no more negates the reality of that right than the rejection of the Law of Gravity negates the reality of gravity. It exists, and we either recognize and accept it or we don't. Either way, the reality of it remains constant.

>It's a very complex subject

No it's not. I am alive. I have life. It's my life. I own it. I have a right to protect it, and to determine what I do with it, and to determine what I do with the product of it. There has never been, there is not now, and there never will be a rational argument against that. As the Founders knew so clearly, it's "self-evident."

Again, the only other alternative is that nothing really means anything, that it doesn't matter what I do, and that nobody has any right to oppose me.

>but rights are most certainly not products of a god.

Whether they are or not, the only rational conclusion is that they exist. Go ahead and try to provide a solid and valid argument that my right to my life, my liberty, or my property is created by others. It's an impossible task, so I wouldn't advise it. (In my experience with you, you have yet to provide a rational argument for ANYthing, so my expectations aren't too terribly high to begin with.)

The Debonair Dudes World said...

Happy Birthday America!

jez said...

My own view is that rights don't exist on any metaphysical level, but that doesn't stop them being useful.

By that, I mean that I don't believe the universe cares, or screams, or reacts with anything beyond indifferent, ordinary physics to crimes such as murder or theft. Nevertheless, I have no interest in living in a society which does not respect the natural rights. Bastiatarian is correct that the only sensible system of rights starts with the right to life, protection, disposal etc. Any system of rights which violate those basic ones are immediately disgusting to a human, and if we have the power to do so we reject them instantly -- despotism and feudalism only survive so long as the alternatives appear(ed) to be impossible. I believe this is due to the evolutionary niche we occupy as cooperative social animals -- and that (evolutionary psychology) is as far as I can go towards "self-evident."

Anyway, the great thing about metaphysics is that it doesn't matter. We can cheerfully disagree on this and it doesn't have any bearing on anything. Happy independence day!

Thersites said...

Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance...

Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, "that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence." The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considerd as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man's right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entagled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

Always On Watch said...

Silverfiddle,
I wasn't visiting your site last year at this time.

Thanks for reposting this!

conservativesonfire said...

Love the thread! Have a greatt day!

Darth Bacon said...

Let freedom ring....

Bunkerville said...

Have a great day, and let us hope next 4th we can have a better celebration.Here is hoping our path may be on a better track.

Ducky's here said...

"We hold these truths to be self evident ..."

--------
We fudged it.

Z said...

I didn't find you until after the 4th of last year, either, so thanks for reposting.
Funny, I looked at my last four 4th posts thinking I'd reprint but I find myself thinking so differently about our country that I couldn't get that enthused so I wrote the one I've got now.
Interesting comment thread, too..I wish Bastiatarian would share his experience with God. But, I can imagine why he wouldn't.

God bless you and your family, SF, everyone here, and our country; we all need it. America, more than any other time.

xx

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: Instead of splattering blogs with your pea-brained rants why don't you put down your crayons and go read some logic and philosophy. You will understand what they were talking about.

FreeThinke said...

HAPPY FOURTH of ULY, everyone.


Come hear the music play.
Come see the fireworks display.
Enjoy it at FreeThinke's Cabaret.



http://freethinkesblog.blogspot.com/?zx=da63e836789862c5

Finntann said...

My how far we have come in 236 years:

1776 - "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."

2012 - " Groups may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty."

Definitions of terrorist groups: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, Department of Homeland Security, January 31st, 2012.

http://start.umd.edu/start/publications/research_briefs/LaFree_Bersani_HotSpotsOfUSTerrorism.pdf

Happy 4th of July! We've come a long way baby!!!

Z said...

Finntann...THAT's troubling, to say the least. Gad, when did we start to worry about those who revere personal liberty!?
Are we in the same country anymore?

Ducky's here said...

Well Silverfiddle, we look at the history of America and realize that in many respects the founders had feet of clay but many choose to blindly accept their vision as a utopia.

One that never existed and yet one you try to return to.

If your dogma of a nation chosen by God is questioned you turn hostile.
But your deniers may be on firmer ground and that should be considered.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Our "unalienable" rights come from ourselves, not gods.

We humans do strive for liberty, but that liberty is always situational, isn't it. Because when our Founding Fathers put their names on the Declaration of Independence, the "unalienable" right to "liberty" excluded other human beings who were living in this country.

How could our Founding Fathers withhold an "unalienable right" from God, no less, from other humans if they really believed those rights are not theirs to give or take away--a definition of an "unalienable right." And yet they did that.


And if the founders really, really believed rights came from God, how could they also believe God excluded groups of his own creation? There's no logic to that, unless you believe God is a racist or sexist, or dislikes people who do not own property .

It was a group of intelligent but flawed men who signed the DoI, which did not confer liberty to everyone in this country. As a result of that and the compromises necessary to get the southern states to sign onto the Constitution, "natural rights" [liberty] were withheld from other human beings in this new country.


Happy Fourth!

Finntann said...

Hail Columbia, happy land!
Hail, ye heroes, heav'n-born band, Who fought and bled in freedom's cause,
Who fought and bled in freedom's cause,
And when the storm of war was gone Enjoy'd the peace your valor won. Let independence be our boast, Ever mindful what it cost;
Ever grateful for the prize,
Let its altar reach the skies.

Chorus:
Firm, united let us be,
Rallying round our liberty,
As a band of brothers joined, Peace and safety we shall find.

Immortal patriots, rise once more, Defend your rights, defend your shore!
Let no rude foe, with impious hand,
Let no rude foe, with impious hand,
Invade the shrine where sacred lies
Of toil and blood, the well-earned prize,
While off'ring peace, sincere and just,
In Heaven's we place a manly trust,
That truth and justice will prevail,
And every scheme of bondage fail.

Finntann said...

You know... it would be nice if format would remain consistent between posting and post.

Finntann said...

Honestly, given Ducky's and Shaw's comments I am beginning to believe that some people know longer know what the difference is between reality and an ideal.

Reality is what we live in, and ideal is what we strive for.

Sure, our founding father's had feet of clay, yes some of them owned slaves, yes we fought and killed indians, broke treaties, and experienced and comitted a myriad of sins. We are human, we are flawed.

You can choose to focus on the reality or the ideal, ideally (no pun intended) we would take a balanced approach. Focus on the ideal and understand that the ends don't necessarily justify the means.

Let me ask s simple question:

How many people have freedom and liberty killed?

Cheers!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Finntann,

No one here is against freedom or liberty. And we certainly understand that the Founding Fathers were flawed, and that our founding documents strive for an ideal. No argument there. I included some of that in my comments.

This discussion was about where our inalienable rights come from--gods or men.

I argued that humans, not gods, establish our rights. That's all.

Finntann said...

If humans can establish your rights, humans can take them away.

Our rights are inherent, whether they come from god or not.

The uniqueness of our social compact came not from the concept that god granted us our rights, but the denial that government or king did, or that goverment or king could take them away.

It is not a denial that our rights can be taken away through the compulsion of violence or the threat thereof, for we all readily recognize that they can. It is the statement that these are our rights, that this is a line you may not cross, we shall meet violence for violence, blood for blood, and death for death. These are the things we will die for if need be.

It is not the opening of the Declaration that are the most important words, although great words they are indeed, but the closing words:

"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."

For in truth, those are the only words that carry any weight at all.

Happy 4th

Maggie Thornton said...

Excellent conversation here from 2011 and 2012. Happy Independence Day Silver! Hope and your family have a wonderful one.

Maggie@MaggiesNotebook
http://maggiesnotebook.com

FreeThinke said...

Never "gods," Ms Shaw, because there are no "gods," except in the realms myth, metaphor and simile.

The Founding Fathers never used the term God. They referred, instead, to the Creator.

We can get all tripped up in our undies raving on about semantical differences in terminology. I, personally, am anti-semantic. ;-)

I believe there is only ONE God -- the Source of everything that is, has been or ever will be. I believe Christian doctrine, when properly understood and applied, is the most enlightened understanding of Truth yet discovered.

HOWEVER, if using the term "God" really bothers you, I would have no problem with your referring to "Nature" instead.

If the God I believe in truly is "all-in-all" –– i.e. omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent –– then "He-or-She" and Nature are in fact one and the same.

It's all very simple, but we like to make things terribly complicated, because we indulge in simplistic thinking, and tend, therefore, fall in love with formulaic VERBIAGE, and insist on literal interpretations of material handed down over millennia first by oral tradition, then written by various individuals, far removed from the historical events in question, whose perceptions, knowledge and understanding of Reality are likely to have been seriously flawed and incomplete.

The desire for an ABSOLUTE to cling to is childish, but then most human beings are just that -- childish –– willful –– and willing to the point of eagerness to become belligerent in defense of pet notions and formulas given us by authority figures.

Nevertheless, Truth, Love, Intelligence, Principle, Character, Spirit and Life, itself, are perfectly real as are Beauty, Elegance, Integrity, Loyalty, Courage, Perseverance, and dozens of other intangibles that, nevertheless, do more to shape and define our lives than anything material.

Life, Truth, Love, Intelligence, Principle, Character (or Soul, if you prefer), and Spirit are convenient synonyms for God who is the embodiment and perfect expression of all them, which, of course, makes those intangible things not only synonymous with God but also with each other.

But no one has to believe anything I say. We are all free to err and otherwise go astray in any way we choose, but sooner or later we must pay the price for our waywardness.

No one is exempt -- those deeming themselves 'righteous" least of all.

A truly enlightened person can be freer in a dungeon than a million-dollar-a-year executive may be presiding over an oak-paneled boardroom in an Armani suit. That's a truth most of us cannot fathom, but that doesn't stop it from being true.

~ FreeThinke

Sun Cracked Soul said...

With Job losses and more unemployed because of the increased costs, taxes, penalties, call it what you may, levied on small and large businesses, at the rate at which Maobama is assuming dictatorship in this country, we not have enough time to save America.
It is not the SCOTUS mistake that we elected liars to Congress or to the Presidency, it's the liberals and the rest of the Marxist's fault!
Lets hope that this is not the last 4th of July as we once knew it God bless America, we need it.

And If you're not worried, take a little trip over to the Drudge report and see what Chris Rock had to say and what the hate-spewing lefties said about his statement.

Ducky's here said...

@Fintann -- If humans can establish your rights, humans can take them away.
---------

So deal with it.

Ducky's here said...

@Finntann -- that some people know longer know what the difference is between reality and an ideal.
------

You are going to say that to a democratic socialist?

Steve said...

"We can make these words ring true again."

These words have always been true, and are today.
We get the government we deserve (vote for).
If you disagree with the peoples choices over the centuries (I do on some) then you not only have the right (Constitutional) to speak out, but a duty to. Civility and common sense has always been our guide, as Joe McCarthy found out.
When the vote is counted, we are a nation of laws, and all must follow those laws. Then debate again, and vote again.
We seem to want to blame everyone, but ourselves. We are poor civic minded citizens, especially since our country is in such a mess, and we voted for the politicians that made it that way.
Half the country votes, but all must live by the legislation those elected representatives voted for. It's no wonder we dispute what they write.
I have never been for term limits (a vote is a term limit) but it's true the longer they stay in office, the more power they gain. Again, our voting behavior is causing the problem. If we have term limits, that should also include Supreme Court Justices. The Supreme Court is not an equal branch of government, it is the only branch that can nullify the actions (power) of the other two.
If you hire a guy that ruins the company, it should be no surprise that you get blame (fired) also.
We are limited by choices in the future because of the huge debt we have. That is much more a serious problem, then the cyclical changes in our politics.
If we care about the future of America, we will pay the selfish debt we have built. That debt was not passed onto us, we built it in 30 years (one generation).
The WW II generation had huge debts (Depression, WW II, infrastructure, etc.) but did not leave multi-trillion dollar debts. They taxed themselves at a rate equal to their huge spending. We have not.

Finntann said...

@So deal with it.

Believe me, I would if necessary, as would many others.

@You are going to say that to a democratic socialist?

Is there a reality to democratic socialism other than eventual fiscal collapes? Many of the ideals of democratic socialism are admirable, the reality is not, nor is more often than not its execution.

Z said...

Blogger Finntann said...
Honestly, given Ducky's and Shaw's comments I am beginning to believe that some people know longer know what the difference is between reality and an ideal"

This reminds me of how the Left so often wants to make a law so that nothing bad ever happens. SOmeone has hot coffee spilled on him? Make a law about the temp of coffee! Law, law, law, so that nobody will ever have hot coffee on him again, nobody will slip in water at the grocery store, nobody can do ANYTHING that's not THE IDEAL.
Ideals are good things to shoot for; we can't legislate them.
Reality is what it is......and bad things are going to happen.
In context with slavery, nobody looked at the African as a 'real person'...was that the ideal? GOD, no..was it reality/context? Of course.

Shaw says "And if the founders really, really believed rights came from God, how could they also believe God excluded groups of his own creation? There's no logic to that, unless you believe God is a racist or sexist, or dislikes people who do not own property."

When did God become a butler, creating an ideal world? Not since the Garden of Eden. There is no connection between rights coming from God and suddenly everything's perfect. What in life is perfect? We have choices. Pastors lose children and still believe in God in spite of it.

What did the Founding Fathers have in their experience that could have helped them repair the scourge of owning MEN and WOMEN back then? Nothing, of course...it took time and work in this country.
Did you know Vermont is the first state to have abolished slavery BEFORE EVEN ENGLAND DID...in 1777?
I found that fascinating...England was the first country to (thanks to Christian Wm Wilberforce) in 1833.
The reality is the rest of the country didn't catch up with Vermont for 100 shameful years.
Are we perfect? NO...are we exceptional? Absolutely.

Leticia said...

Happy Independence Day, Silver. God bless you and yours.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Z, you missed my point entirely.


Nevermind.

But it is interesting to read how defensive and angry people get when soemone disagrees with their ideas of god.

Z said...

Shaw, of course I didn't..
"And if the founders really, really believed rights came from God, how could they also believe God excluded groups of his own creation? There's no logic to that, unless you believe God is a racist or sexist, or dislikes people who do not own property "
My response is above.

Sorry, not angry here at all. You made other points, but I didn't miss this one.

but, never mind.
I hope you had a wonderful Fourth.

Natsuo (夏男) said...

Happy Independence Day, Silverfiddle.

Keep getting the word out there.
"...and the truth shall make you free."

By the way, that Bastiatarian fellow is a pretty smart dude. I'll bet he's also blessed with youthful but manly good looks and excellent taste in music.

Lisa said...

'And If you're not worried, take a little trip over to the Drudge report and see what Chris Rock had to say and what the hate-spewing lefties said about his statement.'

yeah well we all know being white is so yesterday right soul?
And who needs God anyway when the left has Obama,who I am sure is wishing everyone a "Happy Dependence Day"

Shaw Kenawe said...

Let me try this again, Z:

The Founding Fathers believed liberty is an unalienable right, which means liberty cannot be bestowed nor taken away by mortals, since, it is god who bestows liberty on his creations.

The Founding Fathers withheld this god-given right from humans who lived in this newly formed government.

So my argument was that that didn't make logical sense, since it was THEY who wrote into the DoI that those rights CANNOT be given or taken away.


[The part about God being racist, sexist, etc., was just rhetorical to make a point.]

Z said...

Shaw, thanks.
In my book, and the book of the Founding Fathers, there was one God with a Capital G. In historical context and the not infrequent misinterpretations of God's Word, it makes sense to me that some early Americans gave "all men" rights and still regarded some as having no claim to rights. But that can't be said about most of the Founders/Signers..
I understood perfectly what you were getting at the first time and can only offer this viewpoint again supported by this information:

“I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it [slavery].”
—George Washington

THanks for the discourse. By the way, here is a link which covers the subject well...if you can get yourself past the first few paragraphs, which I agree with but you might not. There are MANY quotes from our Signers like "Domestic slavery is repugnant to the principles of Christianity. ..It is rebelliong against the authority of a common Father.." etc (Benjamin Rush)
That's only one example.

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-wall/wal-g003.html

I'm not one to clutter blogs of others with too long comments, so I'm not printing the whole piece here, but I'd have liked to...

thanks, Z

Silverfiddle said...

@ Ducky: Well Silverfiddle, we look at the history of America and realize that in many respects the founders had feet of clay but many choose to blindly accept their vision as a utopia.

One that never existed and yet one you try to return to.

If your dogma of a nation chosen by God is questioned you turn hostile.
But your deniers may be on firmer ground and that should be considered.


An ignorant comment in toto.

Feet of clay? They grounded the constitution in a coherent philosophical framework.

I never mentioned a utopia or a nation chosen by God.

You lefties come here with you preconceived notions and start shooting spitwads before you even read the article. You look foolish.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Shaw: It was a group of intelligent but flawed men who signed the DoI, which did not confer liberty to everyone in this country. As a result of that and the compromises necessary to get the southern states to sign onto the Constitution, "natural rights" [liberty] were withheld from other human beings in this new country.

First you're right, and then your're wrong Shaw.

The left must tear down the founders so that they can justify their own pitiful progressive projects.

Throw out God, and we still have natural rights, so you're dealing in strawmen.

Their declaration was for all men, but they could not put it into action at the time.

What should they have done? declared that those of a different skin color were ok to enslave and be done with it?

They were brilliant. Just look at the outcome. Unlike progressive pie in the sky bs, it was a success

Silverfiddle said...

Natsuo: Thanks for stopping by! And for those who don't know, Natsuo is Bastiatarian in a new incarnation.

Shaw: No anger here. Don't know why you would make that nonsensical assertion...

And the founders did not create rights, nor did they believe they were. They were making a declaration based upon a philosophy grounded in natural rights. Did you read the first part of the thread.

It is telling that progressives are studiously ignorant of these timeless arguments.

Yeah, a group of pointy-headed bureaucrats are preferable to musty documents, right?

Steve said...

Of course they created rights.
Before the Constitution listed the rights people should have, they were illegal under British rule.
Owing a gun, is not a God given right, yet, the Constitution gives that right to Americans.
Owing property is not a God given right, even the early laws of America denied property ownership, except to the rich.
The fact that the Constitution, as amended, expanded rights (vote for women-freedom for blacks-etc) proves that the Constitution gives rights.

Silverfiddle said...

Steve: Like all good progressives, you are completely ignorant of this subject.

Have you read Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government?

Natural rights are not invented or granted, they are inherent and axiomatic based upon observations of nature.

Steve said...

Yes, I read it. I simply disagree owing a gun is a natural right. Please explain.
A difference of opinion, is not ignorance, except when you want to express hate, and not debate.

Z said...

I'd have thought that self-protection is as much a natural right as anything is...and always has been..it's difficult to scratch a person to death if faced with a knife or a gun or rape.

Steve said...

So there was no method of self protection before guns?
If it's a natural right, then it is a timeless right, without regard to technology.
But the Constitution does not mention swords, sticks, or rocks.
We are talking the Constitution, not the philosophy of the wisdom of the ages.
I guess being black was not natural, until Lincoln gave blacks freedom. A right they did not have in America until then, 70 years after the Constitution ensured natural rights.

Silverfiddle said...

Steve: You made this statement:

Of course they created rights.

That led me to believe you to be ignorant of Natural Rights theory as espoused by Locke.

Saying someone is ignorant of something is not hateful or insulting. I am pretty ignorant of Marxist theory, so what?

If you have a natural, unalienable right to life, liberty and property, then it logically follows that you also have the right to defend them.

The crux of it is that you have a right to any damned thing you please so long as you do not infringe upon the rights of others.

Silverfiddle said...

Steve,
Your argumentation is specious and scattered. If you have a right to your life, you have a right to protect it with whatever technology is available, so long as you do not violate the rights of others who are not attacking you.

Blacks, being human beings, also possess those same human rights. Read the founders. Their writings admit and lament that they are denying human beings their fundamental rights.

It is a testament to them that slavery no longer exists in Western Christendom.

Steve said...

The point is, blacks had to be GIVEN the right to be free. In America it was not natural for blacks to be free, or have any rights.
You are arguing an all inclusive perfectionism about an imperfect document.
The Constitution says guns, it does not mention any other weapon past, or future. And according to the law (Supreme Court decisions based on the Constitution) defending one's life certainly does have limitations, and those limitations go beyond whether or not you injure an innocent person. It is not logical that you have the right to use ANY means to protect your life, under our laws.
It is a testament to Lincoln that blacks are free, not the founding fathers. England and other countries outlawed slavery well before America did.
The founding fathers knew they were imperfect, which is why they included an amendment process.
I doubt the founding fathers would accept today's gun use, which includes 30,000 people a year dying from gun shots, little of which has anything to do with protection from invasion, protecting one's life, or property.
Of course there is that pesky word "militia" which does not denote individual action, but group action.

Silverfiddle said...

OK, it's apparent you have not read Locke.

You're mixing things up.

The constitution is based upon Locke's philosophy. Nobody claims it is a perfect document and the founders were not infallible.

Just because an oppressive person or government can deprive you of a right does not mean it is not a natural right.

Living in anything other than anarchy entails empowering a state, which then follows an infringement upon natural rights. I may not shoot my gun into a neighbor's house; indeed the state may place reasonable restrictions on many of our rights for the good of all. Where we draw the line is where the argument comes in.

And the 2nd Amendment has been decided by the Supreme Court: It's a personal right just as sure as Obamacare is a tax.

Steve said...

The Constitution is based on MANY not just Locke.
The point is made. the Constitution GIVES rights.

Silverfiddle said...

No. The point is not made. The constitution does not grant rights. Rights come from God, or nature.

The constitution secures those preexisting rights.

This isn't msnbc or the daily kook where people just say stuff that makes them feel good and everybody agrees. You need to bring facts here.

So show me a quote where a founder said rights come from government or the constitution and we'll talk.

Steve said...

Show me where God says man has a natural right to a gun.
He could have stated that in the ten commandments, but did not.
In fact he said it was a sin to kill.
A gun was made to kill.

Silverfiddle said...

So you're just moving on after being proven wrong?

Did you dig up that quote yet where a founder said he created our rights?

Didn't think so.

Now, on to your question, which I've already answered, but out of politeness will answer again.

Our natural rights are to life, liberty and property.

Other rights spring from those. I'll repeat what I said earlier.

If you have a natural, unalienable right to life, liberty and property, then it logically follows that you also have the right to defend them.

The crux of it is that you have a right to any damned thing you please so long as you do not infringe upon the rights of others.


I understand that you do not agree with natural rights theory, but you should read up on it so you can at least understand it enough to form cogent arguments against it.

Steve said...

You ducked the point, which I made very clear.
In fact Jesus said turn the other cheek
Yes, you are ignorant

Silverfiddle said...

Jesus did say turn the other cheek.

Do you think he meant that as a universal call to total passivism?

It's a debatable point.

If you're a Quaker who gives everything away and who puts up no resistance to those who rob, beat and violate you and your family, then you are on pretty solid ground in this debate.

Otherwise, you're just engaging in silly obfuscations.

Steve said...

Are you a Christian who does not follow Christ?
Maybe you have your own cult of Christianity.
God did not free black American slaves, Lincoln did, based on an American document written by a man, that ALL men are created equal.
If fact the God of the bible accepted slavery, he just said treat them right, whatever that means.
Talk philosophy all you want; rights are given in the Constitution, it is there in writing, if you can read.

Silverfiddle said...

You're muddled and unfocused, Steve.

First, yes I am a Christian and I believe in all of Jesus' teachings.

He said turn the other cheek, and we should be charitable even with our enemies. But the Bible is also full of people protecting their stuff with wall, doors and locks, as well as defending themselves against robbery and attack.

Continue in your completely unfounded assertion that the constitution grants rights if you want to. It is your right to be delusional, since no founder ever made such a ridiculous claim.

Steve said...

The Constitution does give rights, and has taken rights away.
The Constitution gave the right for women to vote.
The Constitution took away the right for people to use alcohol, and years later gave that right back to Americans.

Silverfiddle said...

Those rights were preexisting, they merely codified them, which the founders were against, since enumerating certain rights would lead people to believe exactly as you are, that if a right is not in the constitution it doesn't exist.

That was the main objection to including a bill of rights. Go read the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Steve said...

Again, you are talking a philosophical idea. I'm talking about the written word of the Constitution.
Woman's vote was not a preexisting right in America, until the Constitution gave women the legal right to vote.

Silverfiddle said...

So you are talking political rights, not natural rights.

Steve said...

I'm talking legal rights.
Something once denied a person, which now is backed up by the law. Anyone trying to deny that legal right, can be prosecuted.
After all, the Constitution is a legal written document, which has the force of authority over government.
Seems you are talking about ideal rights of man, that has been part of philosophy for thousands of years.
The Constitution puts some of those rights in legal, written form, enforced by the authority of our judicial (court) system.
You may say owing a gun is a natural right to defend one self, but without the 2nd amendment, you would not be able to own a gun, as is in many other countries.

Silverfiddle said...

Now you've got it. Go back and read the post and you will see it is about natural rights.

And it is true, a tyrannical government can attempt to deny people those natural rights, but they are still natural rights.

Steve said...

Seems the point you tried to make, is that the Constitution does not give rights.
I still disagree.
Natural right, legal right, philosophical right, you don't have that right unless the government cannot take it away = a National Constitution.

Silverfiddle said...

I agree with you that there are different kinds of rights (legal, natural) but the constitution only confers legal rights, and in many cases their mention is superfluous because the rights already exist. I agree with the founders on this.

FreeThinke said...

The problem with all beautiful idealistic concepts is that when the chips are down, MIGHT MAKES RIGHT.

The fastest gun, the loudest mouth, the most persistent and determined aggressor both physical and intellectual will ALWAYS hold sway.

It's the most unfortunate Fact of Life, but -- apparently -- it's undeniable -- except in realms of lofty, idealistic rhetoric.

Life at heart is SAD, unless you live entirely in your head -- and keep your thought to yourself. Ha ha ha!

~ FreeThinke