Friday, July 22, 2011

Natural Rights

Fellow Right Blogistani Bastiatarian has done it again.  His wise comments were spurred by Jersey McJones' absurd outburst that our rights come from man.

Here is Bastiatarian's off-the-cuff response, which is better than my best planned-out one. Here it is without further editorial comment:

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?

41 comments:

jez said...

"rights" is imperfect language, just like everything else. When you look at it closely enough, it just doesn't reflect reality. Like with particles and waves, these ideas are useful enough for many purposes, but if you cherish the idea that they describe absolute reality, you're bound for disappointment.

IMO, there's simply no point arguing against the idea that rights are inalienable. I wouldn't bet that there are, really, at the deepest level of reality, any such things as rights. But it's a useful enough idea for the purpose of politics. Hooray for the phrase "we hold these truths to be self-evident" -- would have been more obvious just to assert "these truths", but they didn't quite go that far. Clever bastards.

Jack Camwell said...

To say that rights come from man is to suggest that they are a completely artificial construct, and that would mean that man has no natural rights at all.

Seeing as how no one wants to be a slave, and nearly everyone wishes to be free to pursue a life that makes them happy, I'm inclined to reject the idea that natural rights come from man.

Perhaps Jersey should read my article on Political Realities about Natural Rights? I felt like I explained it pretty clearly.

Silverfiddle said...

Jack: Give us the link so we can go read it.

Jez: They said "We hold" because it is a philosophical construct, a proposition. That doesn't mean it is wrong, just unprovable in the way you can scientifically prove how much something weights or how far something is from another.

That takes nothing away from the proposition, because it is logically coherent and has not spawned the absurdities and human rights horrors that authoritarian statism (man determining the rights of other men).

Rothbard wrote an excellent and informative article concerning how John Locke was influence by scholasticism as well as the Levellers, which he shows us is not the dichotomy we at first think it to be.

Liberty and Property: The Levellers and Locke (Rothbard)

The Founding Father build a state upon an already established philosophy.

Divine Theatre said...

Silver, I give you a great deal of credit and respect for your ability to suffer fools like Jez.
That is all.

Silverfiddle said...

Divine: I characterize Jez as an honest interlocutor. He stands up for his philosophy, which is different from mine, but he usually refrains from the cheap tricks and willful ignorance much of the American left engages in.

Thus, he voluntarily refuses to employ many handy but dishonest weapons, and I respect him for that.

amanofwonder said...

Several years ago I initiated a conversation with two pastors who were trusted friends on the topic of rights versus responsibilities.

They each said that the only "inalienable right" they could find in the Holy Bible dealt with the rights of the first born. Any other references of the word right in the Bible deal primarily with what is considered to be just and correct attitudes and behaviors to each other and towards G-d and what He has said.

We continued the discussion focusing on the magnitude of the responsibilties that are laid out in scripture as the means to form a more just society. The bulk of the Ten Commandments, which IMHO is the perfect framework to live peaceably in the world, state that there are certain individual responsibilities to undertake if one wishes to get along in the world.

Perhaps that is why the G-d haters demand tearing down the Ten Commandments from all public displays, it is just a way to hard to take personal responsibility for their actions when it is a whole lot easier to just claim "I got the right to"....

In G-d I do trust and if anyone knows where it is expressly stated, in the Word of God, that I have been granted an inalienable right to something, bring it on.

I assume the responsibility to confess that I have misspoken here.

Ducky's here said...

"If there are no rights, then I haven't violated anything"

=============
Of course you have rights but it's a long strange trip to claiming they are natural rights.

Ducky's here said...

"We hold these truths to be self evident"

=========

Self evident, Silver? In other words they weaseled out.

Silverfiddle said...

It is coherent and axiomatic, Ducky, as such, the proposition and Bastiatarian's defense of it stand.

jez said...

Thank you SF, I view you in much the same light, although I'd add a lot of admiration for the sheer rate at which you produce consistently thoughtful articles! It's most impressive.

Of course, the cheap tricks and wilful ignorance are not exclusive to any political wing, lord knows there are enough republicans who share those traits. One rather prevalent trait (from all political "sides") is indiscriminate viciousness towards every adversary, however mild. I believe progress is made through consensus, so I'll strive for that; and if we can't reach consensus I'll strive to be at least a worthy adversary, a decent human ambassador for the ideas which I believe would make the world work better.
I guess I've been coyly beating around a bush here, but to be blunt I just don't see what Divine Theatre is hoping to achieve by clumsily and gracelessly attacking people like me and Jack. Is she marking territory, does she want us to not leave comments any more on SilverFiddle's blog? I can't think of anything else it could be...

Silverfiddle said...

Each of us has our own style. Divine is a blunt person, not prone to mincing words.

I really detest blog moderators who are constantly scolding and hectoring commenters about their tone, word usage, etc. That is a form of control, and I refuse to participate in any forum where conversation is stilted and people are boxed in by restrictive language, so I won't be doing it here.

We've been fortunate that it's never gotten out of hand here.

I rarely agree with you, and unlike you, I do not seek consensus. I agree with Dennis Prager:

"I prefer clarity over agreement."

That doesn't make us enemies. I am surprised a European liberal has hung around this righwing redoubt for so long... ;)

Jack Camwell said...

http://www.ldjackson.net/news-politics/what-about-natural-do-people-not-understand/

Here is my argument for natural rights. Always happy to oblige, Silver, especially when doing so helps fuel my ego =)

jez said...

"Divine is a blunt person, not prone to mincing words."

Well let's not mince words, she's insulted me. I really don't know why.

Leticia said...

I admire Jez, we have many disagreements but have never succumbed to name calling or using profane or vicious words towards each other. And I cannot say that about many liberals. She has her views and knows how express them quite well.

I responded to JMJ on my blog about God being the Creator and Finisher. All we can do as believers is to continue to plant seeds and let God do the rest.

Ducky's here said...

Silverfiddle, assuming natural rights.

1. What are they

2. Why is God necessary to define them?

3. How do you know them, mysticism?

conservativesonfire said...

But what I want to know is what was Jersey's come back if any.

Anonymous said...

PARt ONE

Does anyone think it might help if we said our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness [I wish they'd used the term "fulfillment," instead, but I supposed it doesn't really matter] came from Nature instead of God, since the term "God" seems to antagonize and alienate so many who like to spend their lives questioning, challenging, criticizing, arguing, and attempting to negate and throw out cherished traditional concepts and precepts that have guided us for many centuries?

I mean, does anyone seriously think that Almighty God gives a tinker's dam what we call Him? Surely, it is the power of His Presence, the quality of His Inspiration, the glimpses of genuine Insight He occasionally gives to a few very wise or very innocent and open individuals that count most, or don't you agree?

What could be the source of Affection, of "Original" Thought -- of Creativity -- of Invention -- of magnificent Music? of Plato? of Aristotle? -- of Magna Carta? -- of the enlightened vision of The Rights of Man that led our Founders to declare Independence and foster the idea of self-government?

From what source did Shakespeare and all the other great authors and poets get their ideas -- their energy and determination to set them down -- their ambition to follow trough and see them publicly presented in print and in the stage?

How do you suppose The Great Pyramids, The Parthenon, The Taj Mahal --The great Cathedrals and Palaces of Europe came into being? All started with the twin phenomena of Thought and Imgaination.

How did Semmelweiss, Joseph P. Lister, Alexander Fleming, Jonas Salk get the impetus to look at the world in new ways, and make groundbreaking discoveries in medical science?

(CONTINUED)

Anonymous said...

PART TWO

What do you suppose it was that gave Marconi, Eli Whitney, Alexander Graham Bell, Edison, the Wright Brothers and all the rest of them their inspiration and drive?

Where did Geometry and Algebra come from? And on and on.

It astounds me that anyone who thinks (not a high percentage of the human race, I'm afraid) hasn't realized that all the great concepts, inventions and advances for which we mortals proudly take credit have existed ALL ALONG, and have just been waiting to be DISCOVERED.

Mankind does not "invent," we dream, weperceive, we imagine, we dare to experiment, but the occasional pieces of Truth that come out of our efforts came from Nature not us.

God is Truth. God is Light. God is Intelligence. God is Principle. God is anything and everything that's positive, conducive to good health, better human relations, better quality of life, and everything that serves to provide us with greater love for Life and ever more intense interest in living and greater respect and fondness for each other.

You might be able to deny the existence of an abstract concept Tradition has chosen to call "God," but no one but the most boorish, determinedly perverse and desperately unhappy cynic could deny the existence of the many intangible,immeasurable, unquantifiable qualities and attributes that make life worth living.

And what, you ask, about the many evil uses too many have made of the products of genuine inspiration?

The horrible things we do are the result of yielding to the ever present temptation to COMPETE with GOD -- to try to run HIS show OUR way. Such attempts are perverse and ALWAYS end in failure after causing much misery and widespread destruction.

It's not GOD's fault when we yield to the Temptation to go against His Will. He gave us free will, so that we might obey Him voluntarily -- and not exist merely as mindless, slavish automata.

For me it's all stunningly clear and very simple, but The Imp of the Perverse urges too many always to argue, challenge, question, subvert and disobey the dictates of Truth. Traditionally we have called that imp The Devil. He too dwells within us forever seducing, hectoring, badgering, luring with false promises.

Given a clear choice between health and disease wouldn't you choose health? You'd have to be insane not to, and yet we have many "devil-worshippers" who, apparently, have lost the ability to differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong, health and illness, joy and sorrow, fun and dissipationet al.

That's what happens when secular cynics and advocates for the pursuit only of self-interest, self-gratification, and self-aggrandizement, -- and the desire to be recognized as Top Dog -- take over.

Choose to love and obey God. It's so much easier and so much more pleasant than succumbing to the blandishments of Satan.

~ FreeThinke

WomanHonorThyself said...

have a great weekend Silver and keep telling the truth as u see it:)

Bastiatarian said...

>Jersey's come back

Jersey's comeback is always either avoidance or disappearance. He's got no real weapon against reality and reason. To date, he has yet to offer his own logical argument for anything at all.

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: As I said, I do not scold commenters. I do not think you are a fool, apparently Divine does. Leticia is to the right of me, and even she stands up for you!

Ducky: Life, liberty, property.

God is not necessary to define them.

They are discovered using logic and the light of reason, so I can see why you don't get it.

Finntann said...

Does this help any? According to the Library of Congress, this is what Jefferson originally wrote, which was edited by congress to what we know and are familiar with today:

We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights inherent & inalienable among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;

Just google "Declaration of Independence, rough draft", there are many copies available.

Many of the most important founding fathers were not Christian per se, they were Deists and I know I am going to get flamed mercilessly, but these are their words:

JAMES MADISON:

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
-letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
- "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -1803 letter

JOHN ADAMS

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved-- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
-letter to Thomas Jefferson

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."

The question before the human race is, whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?"

THOMAS JEFFERSON:

"It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet the one is not three, and the three are not one: to divide mankind by a single letter into ["consubstantialists and like-substantialists"]. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests. Sweep away their gossamer fabrics of factitious religion, and they would catch no more flies. We should all then, like the quakers, live without an order of priests, moralise for ourselves, follow the oracle of conscience, and say nothing about what no man can understand, nor therefore believe; for I suppose belief to be the assent of the mind to an intelligible proposition." -- Jefferson's Letter to John Adams, August 22, 1813

JOHN ADAMS REPLY:

"The human understanding is a revelation from its maker, which can never be disputed or doubted. There can be no scepticism, Pyrrhonism, or incredulity or infidelity here. No prophecies, no miracles are necessary to prove this celestical communication. This revelation has made it certain that two and one make three, and that one is not three nor can three be one. We can never be so certain of any prophecy, or the fulfilment of any prophecy, or of any miracle, or the design of any miracle, as we are from the revelation of nature, that is, nature's God, that two and two are equal to four." --Adam's Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 14 September 1813


More to follow

Finntann said...

THOMAS JEFFERSON:

Jefferson was a rationalist. He believed that Jesus was a pure and ethical teacher of morals. To that end, Jefferson took a razor to the New Testament and removed passages he thought to have been inserted by the authors of the gospels (whom he called the "commentators"), and he pasted what remained together as "The Jefferson Bible". With his razor blade, he removed every verse dealing with the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, claims of Jesus' divinity and other puerile superstition, thus leaving us with a very much shorter book. In 1904, the Jefferson Bible was printed by order of Congress, and for many years was presented to all newly elected members of that body.

"On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind."
- Letter to Carey, 1816

GEORGE WASHINGTON

George played his cards very close and kept his religion to himself, here is one of his few quotes on religion:

"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society."
- letter to Edward Newenham, 1792

More notable than comments on religion is the almost complete lack of any religious references in Washington's writings.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."

"I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it."
- "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion", 1728

"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England."

THOMAS PAINE

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.

"What is it the New Testament teaches us? To believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married; and the belief of this debauchery is called faith."

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."

Cheers!

Matt said...

1. Fantastic post. It hits the nail right on the head.

2. I remember reading Jack's post at Political Realities. I agree with that viewpoint as well. People use natural rights as a means to attack religion, but if we are sentient, we are naturally free. The idea can transcend religion.

3. Without natural rights, governments will do whateverthey wish to citizens. It's an ideological stopgap against tyranny. That also explains why so many that favor a tyrannical government ridicule the idea of natural rights.

4. People like Jersey are nothing more than pathetic trolls. They serve only to disrupt, distract, and discourage others. They try to take over and shape the discourse, while not actually contributing anything of meaning to it. I usually just ignore them.

Jersey McJones said...

"...it would be impossible for my right to my life, my liberty, and my property to come from other mortals."

Can I ask this?

If it is really and tangibly only we who judge one another in the living, then shouldn't we at least acknowledge that IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER IF RIGHTS COME FROM GOD???

For Christ's sake, get over it.

In the end, in real life, it is WE who determine morality - and "rights" and "laws." Right?

Or do I misinterpret you guys? ;)

JMJ

Anonymous said...

Great collection of quotations, Finntann, I was aware of Thomas Paine's militant agnosticism, Jefferson's attempt to purify the Christian Saga by removing the irrational elements from it, and Franklin's genial pragmatism, but I was unaware that John Adams had his doubts and reservations too, although he was a Unitarian -- but Unitarianism in Eighteenth-Century America, like Quakerism was a very different animal than it is today. Both of those sects were hijacked by New Age quasi-hippyesque elements probably back in the Sick-sties. The Episcopal Church, with which I have had a long intimate association also changed dramatically at about the same time, moved far to the left, and now preaches the Social Gospel and in indulges in True Confessions of Priestly Indiscretions from the pulpit instead of "theologically sound," biblically based spiritual advice. NOT your grandparents' staid, aristocratic Episcopal Church at all anymore.

I learned about Adams' Unitarianism only a few short years ago -- rather late in the game -- and was surprised. Don't know why, but I had always assumed he was a New England Congregationalist.

At any rate, I'm sure most of these dynamic and revealing comments you found for us were not meant for public consumption when they were written, with the possible exception of Tom Paine who was a brilliant, but rather rough, low born fellow and noted for edgy, intemperate outspokenness in his time.

George Washington, who had an aloof, and very aristocratic nature, later repudiated his association with Paine and didn't want to know him when Paine got in trouble and was throw nto prison in England after the Revolution.

I think most of us were brought up thinking the Founders were all great friends, admired each other greatly and had a miraculous singleness of purpose. Nothing could be further from the truth. They were highly disputatious, often cantankerous lot with all the ills that human flesh is heir to.

There are any number of quotations from the Founders that contradict or question the views expressed in your collection, but those, I suspect, were made in public speeches and the like.

Were the Founders, therefore, hypocrites? I don't think so. They were brilliant, thoughtful, incredibly brave and daring guys who couldn't possibly have helped questioning the irrational sort of stern, humorless, often repellent, authoritarian pronouncements one finds in The Pentateuch -- a series of documents that portray God as a dour, petty, irascible, spiteful, arbitrary, malevolent, maddeningly inconsistent, self-contradictory sort of fellow.

I strongly suspect, however, that merely reflects the anxiety and desperation the ancient tribal leaders must have felt in trying to meet the challenges of keeping in line a large group of wayward, fractious, ignorant, illiterate, human beings riddled with ancient superstitions and barbaric tribal practices as they wandered at sea in the desert.

There is one true God, but He could not possibly be the creature portrayed in the Old Testament -- or if He is BOY! are we going to be in Trouble when we cross to the Other Side.

Regards,

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

With your kind indulgence I offer once again a concept of God that has been revealed to me over a good many years of contemplation, consternation and experimentation.

Please take it only a Food for Thought. It's not meant to be a dictum.



God is Truth. God is Light. God is Intelligence. God is Principle. God is Sanity. God is anything and everything that's positive, conducive to good health, better human relations, better quality of life, constructive endeavor, and everything that serves to provide us with greater love for Life and ever more intense interest in living and greater respect and fondness for each other. Whenever we are tempted to resort to mockery, sarcasm and hostility we are out of phase with the Lord.

This is hardly "traditional," I know, but I assure you it has helped me preserve, maintain and enhance the childlike faith instilled in me at home and in Sunday School sixty-odd years ago. I believe the more we strive to be in accord with te dictates of Truth and Love the closer we are bound to grow towards God.

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

Jersey, you seriously misunderstand us as long as you think your rights are granted by your fellow man.

Call it from God, from nature, from the Grand Architect, or from the Big Bang your rights are an inherent part of you.

Stop and think about what they said: Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

It is a simple concept, you are born absolutely free, your own master. Any authority any other person or government has is ceded, by you, to them.

What government has is not authority, it is a social compact with powers granted to it, by us. Believe me, they are not unlimited powers, those powers exist so long as we cede them to them.

John Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

He also said “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it”

Yet there is no contradiction there, religion and religious are two quite different things.

Deists believed in an indifferent god, not meddling in human affairs. The Supreme Architect who set things in motion and stepped aside. Deists did not believe that you communed with god by reading a book, they believe that you communed with god, by living, observing, thinking, and learning. It's the closest the west ever got to its own version of Zen Buddhism.

But I digress... back to a moral and religious people and the proper functioning of society and government.

When people act morally towards each other and think religiously (towards a greater good), society functions smoothly. In regards to yesterdays post, which is a good example, is someone who is sexually licentious acting morally? Are they thinking and working towards a greater good? Having or leaving children they can't support is not moral.

I don't condemn the sex, serial or even polyamorous relationships...I condemn the expectation that others will simply pick up the bill.

You often use the argument of the greater good in your advocacy for more and more social support programs, what you miss is by doing so you are enabling the immoral behavior (that of producing offspring you can't afford), certainly not an action towards a greater good.

I'm a libertarian, I don't care who you screw, what you eat, drink, or smoke... I don't believe in victimless crimes. But that said, I don't believe I or anyone else should have to pay for the behavior or the consequences. It's called RESPONSIBILITY, but the answer isn't more laws, its more consequences.

That's the problem with America today, at one time we were responsible for ourselves, now government is responsible for us. Hardly an atmosphere conducive to freedom, and hardly a power I wish to cede.

So yes, you really misunderstand us guys.

Cheers!

Divine Theatre said...

Oh for crying out loud! Jez, you are offended because you choose to be. You use it as a sword.
I merely have no patience for the nitwittery that floats across the screen when you post.
If I were not so busy with my family and my life I would take the time to explain, in detail, why your silly, arrogant prattle bugs me.
Seriously, Jez, if you are bothered by my opinion of your opinion you need a new hobby.
It isn't personal.
If you don't want to discuss politics all day come to my blog and give me your opinion on my garden.

Divine Theatre said...

One more thing, Jez...
If I seem angry. I am. Very angry. The policies you support hurt people. Yours is the ilk who would disarm law abiding citizens and turn them into victims.
Yours is the patronizing ilk who tell black folks "It's okay sweetie. let me get that for you. It's not your fault you're black".
In the meantime the children of these people are suffering untold miseries.
Yours is the ilk that tells mothers, "You need more ME time. Why should YOU change your life just because you gave birth?" We have seen the havoc feminists, working and unwed mothers have caused.
I could go on but I won't.
I was raised as a ward of your beloved State. I have lived in the ghetto among the desperation and hopelessness YOU helped create. I volunteer at the local public housing field house. I watch over the children of the sole Section 8 property in our neighborhood...(300 thousand dollar home, no less!) I watch over the neglected and half starved feral children who play in the middle of the street. If not for the food we give them I don't know if they would eat at all. Their wretched "mother" is never home but she doesn't need to work. She has five children who are doomed thanks to the way your beloved government "works".
I am being as polite as I can. When I am in the real world I am busy trying to fix your mistakes. I am humble and I am kind. I try very hard to be.
When directly confronted by the arrogant monster of your abject, dangerous ignorance, Jez, I must try very hard to control myself, lest I tell you EXACTLY what I think.

Z said...

"If God is dead, everything is justifiable." Dostoevski.
There's a scary thought and one which I'm covering in my Sunday Faith Blog tomorrow.

I can't read all of these now but just read Divine Theater's comment and am blown away. Thanks, Divine. It IS 'divine'...in more ways than the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Two statements stand out in Finn's last post:

I don't condemn the sex, serial or even polyamorous relationships...I condemn the expectation that others [should] simply pick up the bill.


I don't believe I or anyone else should have to pay for the behavior or the consequences. It's called RESPONSIBILITY, but the answer isn't more laws, its more consequences.

(Emphasis added)

Yes. Yes. Yes. BUT -- as I tried to indicate somewhere above -- the INNOCENT CHILDREN of these irresponsible couplings should not be forced to suffer the consequences of their parents' folly -- should they?


I don't believe in victimless crimes either, if they truly are victimless. I am in favor, for instance, of legalizing drugs and letting the imbeciles who want to abuse them buy 'em over the counter at Walgreens -- or wherever drugs are sold. It would immediately remove the criminal element from drug trafficking, because there'd be no profit in it anymore.

At the same time it would be a good idea to implement a solid program of EDUCATION about the harsh consequences of drug abuse to one's physical condition and future prospects, etc.

Anyone who opts for a life of dissolution after that should be allowed to accept the consequences. If that involves early death, then so much the better. We don't need any more idiots lounging about cluttering up street corners, and befouling welfare housing than we already have.

ALSO: I've long been in favor of mandatory sterilization for those who get it into their minds early to take the paths of least resistance, game the system, and live at the public's expense.

It couldn't properly be called "forced" sterilization, because the potential recipient of permanent public largesse would be given a clear choice at the outset: If you want OUR money, you must do it OUR way, or else you're on your own.

Heartless? Nope! Just realistic.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Ms. Theatre,

I enjoy your brisk forthrightness tinged with wry good humor. (And I confess I took a quick peek, and was very impressed by your garden.) KUPTGW!

As I'm sure you know, taking OFFENSE, and acting AGGRIEVED is the most powerful weapon in the arsenal -- not necessarily of liberals, though they use it to the point of distraction -- but of anyone who seek to get his or her way by trying to engender a sense of GUILT and CULPABILITY in someone he opposes or simply doesn't like.

Encouraging oneself to manipulate others through the expression if HURT, SHOCK, OUTRAGE, STERN DISAPPROVAL, or implied CONTEMPT is unfortunate. It shows a fundamental weakness of character.

Incessant whining, bitching, lamenting, demanding and persistent accusation coupled with HAUGHTINESS -- the hallmarks of Critical Theory -- are frankly despicable traits.

However, I hasten to add that I do not think this means that Jez, himself, is despicable. He seems to be a soul earnestly searching for truth who has found only disillusionment so far -- but that's only a first impression based on very little knowledge. Anyway, I'm afraid he is one of the many many victims of the perverse INDOCTRINATION given to the innocent through what-passes-for The Educational Process these days.

Put it this way:

We ARE what-we-THINK-we-know.

Bearing that in mind it wouldn't it be a good idea if we instilled positive values and a sanguine, positive outlook on life into the heads of our children, instead of deadening their souls and polluting their brains with Critical Theory?

Critical Theory more than anything else I can think of has had a supremely deleterious effect on society.

If you're not familiar with the term, please look it up. It's had a lot more bearing on your life than you might think.

~ FreeThinke

PS: A short answer. Our friend, Ducky, is a prime exponent and practitioner of Critical Theory. Need I say more? - FT

Anonymous said...

Ms. Theatre,

Our latest posts "crossed in the mail."

I too spent a good deal of time working with children from the ghetto in New York City when I taught at a venerable private school for the blind. That was forty years ago, but I have to say I found it touching and rewarding. It enriched my life to have some intimate contact with people I would never have known had I not taken that particular job at a time when I desperately needed work.

I'm with you in my on fervent belief that we can do much more to improve "social conditions" by getting into the trenches and working directly with the people who need our help than we ever could by sitting dejectedly in Ivory Towers fuming self-righteously as we endlessly pontificate and theorize about what others ought to be doing with their time and money to make a better world through intrusive and ever-more-rigorous and oppressive State Control of our lives.

Vaya con Dios!

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Z,

I understand the point you are trying to make very well, but we should remember that in the past when Theocracies held sway we could very well say, "A fervent belief in God justifies any and all actions taken in his Name -- no matter how bloody, vicious, aggressive and self-serving they might be."


I'll spare everyone the usual litany about all the wars that have been fought and the persecutions wrought -- the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, wasted, sacrificed in vain attempting to impose a particular view of Divinity on innocent people who've committed no offense other than having had the unmitigated gall to have been born outside a particular realm of faith.

I certainly agree we have a desperate need for God in our lives, but no need at all to IMPOSE him on anyone. We have to understand who He really is before we dare tell others what they should believe.

That said, it has been a tragic error to remove every visible sign of His presence and every opportunity to become acquainted with Him from public life. We are suffering dreadfully from that misunderstanding of the Establishment Clause today.

However, when Christ said, "Take, eat. This is my body which has been broken for you. This do in remembrance of me," He was asking us to partake of Holy Communion individually and of our own free will.

He would be deeply hurt and weep bitterly no doubt at the idea of metaphorically grabbing people by the scruff of the neck, frog-marching them into church, prying their jaws open and force-feeding them the Host on pain of death if they failed to cooperate.

Gentle persuasion by Example -- never by Force, Denigration or Castigation -- is the only way we could hope to spread the Gospel.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

No Freethinker, we are what we do. That little internal tape you're playing isn't even real till it is manifested in action.

That's why we are saved by acts, not faith.

Trestin said...

Trying to explain natural rights to the blind who refuse to see or understand what site entails is a fruitless effort.

It is kind of fun to see them try and make sense of their view though. In some way you kind hope that they can fit the square peg in the round hole. But it can never be.

Ducky, How is BO's peace plan working out? Does it eat you up knowing your guy has become just another cog in the military industrial complex.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but Ducky! You seem to have forgotten "The thought is Father to the Deed." Ergo, the quality of our thinking, our dreams and aspirations cannot help but have a material effect upon our actions.

The Tragic, Despairing, Cynical, Envy-Inspired, Anger-Driven view of life is doomed to fail. It produces only bitter, inedible fruit.

I'm not trying to defeat you so much as to encourage you to CHEER UP. You sound so negative. It can't be good for your health.

To use another well-worn cliché:

I prefer to look at the glass as half-full, if only because it presents a more encouraging picture. Most of the liberals I know not only want to see it as half-empty, but will tell you it's already stagnant and drying up fast anyway.

Bolsheviks would go a step farther. They'd smash the glass, and tell you it was made for a corrupt Bourgeois Capitalist Society all traces of which must be OBLITERATED before the Socialist Workers' Paradise can be made manifest on Earth. Then, they'd tell you to line up and get a drink from the nearest rain barrel. All you'll be able to do then is hope there may be a few drops left by the time you get there, because hundreds are already lined up ahead of you.

Your view of the world is so damned DISMAL.

Cheer up, I say. CHEER UP!

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

I'n not offended, but see no reason to pretend DT's insult didn't happen.
DT, what can i say? You attribute to me so many opinions that i have not expressed. There's no point adding to what you have already massively overinterpreted, but at least I understand the anger. Just don't understand why it's directed at me!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Theatre, evidently, thinks you're a Marxist, Jez. Is that true?

~ FreeThinke

jez said...

I've never read Marx, class struggle bores me. I'd guess that to DT anything to the left of Reagan is Marxist: by that measure, yes.