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Catastrophic Success

As if there weren't enough political opinionating out there, I, too, now sing the body bloglectric. Let me FEED you![XML]

Location: United States

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Rights and Responsibilities

I wrote this some time ago as an elucidation of the basis of my personal philosophy. I accept these statements as axiomatic and thus, if you disagree with me on any of them, chances are you are going to disgree with me on any extrapolation of these statements.

As a human you possess these rights:
The right to Life. The right to live and continue to live until you choose otherwise, or until your life is taken from you
by accident or natural cause. No one has the right to deprive you of your life. You have the right to defend your life, by
any means necessary, if someone attempts to take it from you.

The right of Thought. You have the right to think anything you choose to think. Your thoughts, without word or deed, can not infringe upon another's rights. Your thought can not be controlled by another, unless you allow a person to do so. You must
choose every day to be a victim of thought control and mental violence. If you fail to educate yourself to engender rational thought, your only crime is against yourself. Thoughts are not crimes. This is the most inherent, innocent, inalienable and yet dangerous, right possessed by humans. The right of belief is an extension of the right of Life.

The right of Words. You have the right to say anything you want. You have the right to write anything you want. You have the right to publish anything you want. You are bound, however, by laws that protect the public from clear and present danger in
situational circumstances. You are prohibited by law from shouting FIRE in a public theater when there is no such fire because such an exercise of the right of words endangers the right of life for the others in the theater. Words are often
assigned importance or positive and negative connotation based upon a community's moral standards, but community standards are rarely standard and almost never reflect the entire community's morals. Such infringement upon the right of words is to be avoided at all costs. This invariably leads to the issue of pornographic content (for what are pictures but substitutes for 1000 words?). This is a delicate subject, but essentially as long as the photos/videos/etc are of consenting adults who are aware of the capturing of their images and no one is being harmed, then they do not infringe upon anyone's rights. Words are, however, only Thought expressed.

The right of Action. You have the right to do anything you choose, as long as such action does not infringe upon another person's right. This is the most delicate right, but certainly the most necessary. Thought is not enough to allow survival.
You can not speak food onto a table. You can only insure your life continues by taking the actions necessary to maintain it. You must work so that you can earn money to purchase food. You must take action to ensure your body remains capable of
earning food. These are necessary actions. All others are elective actions, but they are not invalid for being lesser actions. These are the actions of choice. You are free to do anything you choose, so long as no one is harmed or has their
rights infringed upon. Anything. Keep in mind though that Action is only Thought expressed.

I did not choose this order arbitrarily. The right to Life is paramount to all other rights. Since no external evidence proves Life beyond Death, rationally, you only have one Life, which therefore must be protected and maintained through any
necessary means. Life is not, however, being and unthinking vegetable hooked up to all manner of life support. Life is, however, nothing without Thought. Life begets Thought as a survival necessity. Thoughts can not, by themselves, infringe upon
another's rights. Therefore, Life and Thought are the two most inalienable rights.

To be effective in maintaining life though, Thought can only direct words and actions. You can not think yourself fed, nor think your thirst quenched. Neither Word nor Action can exist without Thought. The right of Words is necessary to ensure you can articulate Thought to other humans. When living in a society with other humans, the Right of Word is necessary to ensure that your rights are protected, and your Thought articulated to the group to otentially further survival. Thousands of years of evolutionary programming made humans social creatures. We need that social interaction to feel fulfilled. But that is not a cause to declare it a right. Without the Right of Word, the ability to say, print or communicate anything, you risk the oppression of your rights by those who would speak where you can't. The Right of Word, though, imparts on its users the responsibility to use it properly. One should speak where one is informed and has knowledge. Speaking out of ignorance,
although protected, serves no benefit to the individual or to society and can cause harm by spreading disinformation, misinformation and poisonous ideas. But then, that's what the Right to Thought is for. You are free to think any idea,
poisonous or healthy. If you accept a poisonous thought and it leads to your harm because you did not examine what you accepted into your head, you earned your fate. Words can not, by themselves, infringe upon another's rights. Words can
influence another's thought, but it is the individual's responsibility to think for him or herself and choose whether or not to let those words change their thoughts.

The right of Action is the only right that alone can infringe upon another's right. It is an action to kill someone, gag someone, lock them up, beat them, bind them or otherwise restrict their freedom to exercise their rights. But Action is also
a survival necessity. You can not speak your dinner onto the table, nor speak the water from the ground. Action can be noble or banal, but is only a reflection of thought. Action is impossible without thought to lead it. What this means is that your actions are the true indicator of thought. Any action you take is the result of a choice you made. Whether it comes from the most rational thought process or is the result of a thoughtless passionate rage, it is still a choice made by the individual
through the Right of Thought.

All of these rights hinge on the Freedom of Choice. One must be free to choose when, how and where to exercise these rights. I deliberately called it the Freedom of Choice and not Right of Choice because Right to Choose connotatively refers to Abortion and that's another rant altogether. Without Choice, the other rights are automatically rendered moot.

All rulers rule through the implicit or explicit choice of those ruled. If too many of these rights are unreasonably suppressed for too long, it is incumbent upon the Ruled to take Action to remove such a government and install a new one
which will allow those rights to flourish. In America, we are lucky that, for the most part, these Rights are recognized and codified. Certain limits are placed on them, mostly by necessity. Although the State is not as important as the Individual,
in order to maintain peace, certain limits must, by necessity, be placed on the populace. It is the mark of a great nation, and coincidentally, by ours (but not exclusively), that only those constraints that are necessary are placed on the people. Americans tend to raise quite a ruckus when we feel we are being unduly limited. You'll notice however, that there is no Gulag that Americans are thrown into for exercising their Right of Words against such limitations.

Two quotes held dear:

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried," Winston Churchill

"Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored," Aldous Huxley

If you read all that, although its not succinct, everything else called a Human Right can reasonably be seen as an extension of those I have enumerated. However, I don't grant every so-called "right" labelled such by any special interest group (i.e., I don't believe abortion is a right and I don't believe health care COVERAGE is a right). I guess I am kind of a Libertarian, but they are a little to0 anarchist for me. I am also sort of an Objectivist, but they are a little too cultish and extremist for me.

Beyond that, I try to avoid party politics when I can. I am trending toward calling myself a Neo-Conservative despite how much the left has tried to revile the term.