Unalienable Rights

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  1. profile image0
    Sooner28posted 11 years ago

    Most people accept that human beings have certain rights by virtue of being human.  A person's monetary status is irrelevant to whether they enjoy these fundamental rights.

    Some of these rights are usually centered on mental rights, such as the right to free speech, the right to practice religion as one sees fit, the right to assemble peacefully. 

    Others are based on the physical, such as the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Defenders (myself included) of these rights claim that a human being is not fully human without them.  What is a human being if not free in thought and action?

    However, there is a cognitive dissonance that seems to appear when it comes to other aspects of life that are required for a human being to even live.

    If the argument is made that if certain rights are not protected, a human being is not fully human, why would there be an arbitrary decision not to include the maintenance of the human as a right also?  It's similar to saying, "One has a right to all of these other rights, but there is no right to the basic physical necessities of human existence that would ensure one could enjoy these rights.  If a person can find a way to eat, then they can pursue happiness as they see fit."  Completely absurd.

    If a human being cannot be fully human without certain rights being recognized, denying the right of the physical necessities to be met would ensure many people will be doomed to starvation (which happens around the world), and would have no chance to ever speak their minds or be free.

    1. Josak profile image61
      Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I agree absolutely, freedom of speech means nothing to the starving man and will mean even less if he dies from starvation, basic human rights include the right to live when life is feasible.

      1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
        Evan G Rogersposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        So a man who adds nothing to society due ENTIRELY to his own apathy is allowed to steal food from a productive member?

        1. Josak profile image61
          Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          Steal no, receive through the will of the people and the democratic process, yes.

          1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
            Evan G Rogersposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            God, you're delusional.

            I'm a person, and my will is to not give money to poor people.

            Oops, that doesn't matter because YOU want me to give money to someone.

            How is my money given to poor people? By a police officer using a gun, against my will, because YOU wanted it.

            The will of the people is a bull***t term.

            Get it through your head: Government IS violence.

    2. Evan G Rogers profile image60
      Evan G Rogersposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      You are bastardizing logic, and making a mockery of the Founding Fathers' understanding of rights.

      Rebuttal #1: No one has the right to necessities. You merely have the right to be FREE to EARN food and other necessities. If someone is preventing you from using your own property to acquire ANYTHING, then they are tyrants and should be punished brutally.

      Rebuttal #2: You are using "the right to property" to disprove "the right to property". You claim that people have the right to property, but then claim that people are allowed to steal your property and give it to someone else against your will. To "ensure" that people have their "necessities" (DEFINITION PLEASE), you encourage a government stealing money from one person and giving it to another. This is theft, and is the OPPOSITE of the right to property.

      If you can not see these GLARING logical abnormalities, then it is not worth my time to discuss this any further.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I doubt you will get through, Evan.  Once the liberal or socialistic mind has rationalized their way to a conclusion that they have the right to play Robin Hood, stealing from one to give to another that is "more deserving", the concept never seems to go away.  Rather it simply grows further until the "haves" leave the area, whereupon the "have nots" have no one to take from.

        I just saw in my local paper that Microsoft and several others have been slapped for moving profits offshore to avoid excessive taxation.  That's how it begins - the "haves" begin to move what they "have" out of the reach of the "have nots" when their demands become excessive.

        1. Josak profile image61
          Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          There are multiple reasons why that is bull but let's just turn it around because turnabout is fair play.

          Once a conservative or libertarian mind has decided they must compete with the conditions of other nations they will find something startling, the wage in China can be as low as $2 a week, there are nations with no taxes at all (they coincide with poverty), in the drive to be competitive with these foreign markets they will drive the worker to extinction where his wage is worth almost nothing at all and will cut taxes to the point that the poor never have a helping hand so they can achieve, the result being a poor and uneducated majority ruled over by those few who are profiting.

          Now given that the US has the worst wealth gap in the first world and one that continues to increase and given that the US has the second lowest tax burden in the first world it is rather apparent that we are much closer to the second than to the first.

          Sorry but that argument is worthless based on the taxation facts alone, countries that do far more "Robin Hooding" are doing much better than us.

          1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
            Evan G Rogersposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Notice how my argument is refuted using the "Us Vs. Them" mentality.

            Unfortunately, just like Josak, about 65% of the US population is stuck in this "if you ain't fer us, yer ag'in us!" mentality.

            I'm not a libertarian, I'm not a Libertarian, I'm not a Democrat, I'm not a Republican.

            Government IS violence.

  2. wilderness profile image95
    wildernessposted 11 years ago

    Your premiss and conclusion are considerably flawed.  By the exact same reasoning I can claim that I need a million dollars each year to be happy or to be truly free.

    Or I can state, correctly, that I am free already.  Were I terminal with cancer I would still be free.  If that cancer was treatable but I could not afford it, I am still free.  Free to speak and think as I wish, free to do whatever my body will let me do.  If I do not have enough to eat or do not have a roof over my head I am free in spite of that, too. 

    Freedom does not come from having what we want or what we need to live or to live comfortably.  It comes from inside us and ultimately cannot be taken away unless we allow it.

    In addition, there is only one basic or universal right that cannot be taken or abridged - the right to die one day.  Nature and the universe around us guarantees that and there are no exceptions.  All the rest of the "rights" you speak of are given by government or other organizations (the UN has quite a list, too).  Some are enforced as best as that organization can, most are simply fine words that mean nothing as no effort is made to guarantee them.  Some, such as the right to life, are misconstrued to mean something obviously impossible; while the US constitution "guarantees" your life you will lose it one day and the govt can do nothing to stop it.  You are trying to twist certain rights to mean more than they ever did by just such a sophistry.

    1. Josak profile image61
      Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      "Your premiss and conclusion are considerably flawed.  By the exact same reasoning I can claim that I need a million dollars each year to be happy or to be truly free."

      You misunderstand, unless you can prove you need a million dollars to be able to express your free speech for example then no you can't make that statement. On the other hand I can prove that you need to not have starved to death to express your free speech quite easily.

    2. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Lol.  You didn't even address my argument.

      I also don't know, in what universe, you could possibly draw the conclusion that you are entitled to a million dollars based on my argument.  The right to eat is not the right to a gourmet feast every night; it is simply the right to an adequate amount of food to survive.  No lobster or sirloin steak is involved here.  When you fail to engage what I actually claimed, I cannot offer a rebuttal.

      Tell me where you believe I am wrong, then we can possibly have a discussion.

      I don't know where this idea of happiness comes in either.  I never claimed there is a right TO be happy.  The pursuit of happiness in mentioned in the Declaration of Independence; if you disagree, that's your prerogative, but don't insert claims I did not make.

      Just in case you forgot... http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charte … cript.html

      Food for thought.  Do you think people should have their freedom of speech or religion taken away because they refuse to be exploited for slave wages?

      Your answer, unless you believe in tyranny, is going to be no.  I'm not arguing that people SHOULDN'T work, but simply that the right to eat is a human RIGHT, by virtue of existence.

      Even if I am the scum of the earth, I still have freedom of speech and religion.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Rights are given by either nature (the right to die) or by some group powerful enough to enforce those rights and with a willingness to do so.  Anything else is merely empty words, fine sounding rhetoric without any meaning.

        Who is that has given the people of the third world the right to eat?  Are they enforcing that right?  Do they even have the power to enforce it? 

        Nearly all rights are given to people by those same people receiving them.  A person has the right to eat when they have collected the food and can prevent it from being stolen; a person has the right to life when they can protect their own life.  As soon as they depend on others to provide that food or life they have lost the actual right to it. 

        For example, I have the right to live in my home, free from being killed by an intruder.  I enforce that right through the use of the tool called "police", for which I have paid.  I may also keep a loaded shotgun, for which I have paid, but in both cases I have paid, through work or money or other exchange, for the tool to protect myself.  I have given myself that right: no one else "gave" it to me.  Should I extend the use of the tool called "police" to someone else that hasn't paid they can also have the right, but only so long as I allow it.  They haven't paid for the right and can lose it at my discretion.

        This is not a philosophical idea, but a fact of life.  Philosophy and political rhetoric won't provide food or life; it takes work, work performed by some person, to do that.  It has been that way for millions of years and it hasn't changed.

        That doesn't mean that we shouldn't help someone without food, but it does mean that they do not have some innate, God given right to that food.  That people are, in general, quite charitable doesn't give the right to eat, either, regardless of how much or hard the hungry claim and demand that "right".

        The "rights" you are speaking of are more in the field of morality; we the people should give less able people the right to eat, the right to free speech, the right to medical care and all the other "rights" you mention.  We have the power.  Through political action we may have the will (although it is always debated as to which rights are required morally for us to give).  In any case, however, the "rights" given are at the discretion of those that can actually provide for them, differ between cultures, and are in no way a natural right demanded by and provided for by the universe around us.

  3. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    What is alienable is freedom *from* things (tyranny, murder, slavery).

    Freedom *to* do things is more complicated.

    1. Josak profile image61
      Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      What about inalienable right to freedom *from* say starvation?

    2. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      We can all play semantic games.  I have the right TO speak my mind, or the right NOT to be restricted;  I have the right TO a society that allows me to be free, or right to NOT be restricted in my choice of life.

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        It isn't a semantic game.  Unalienable rights are the ones that are actually duties.  Duties to not do bad things to other people.  Because that is what we have control over and it is fundamental.

        Now providing things for people that at least some of them can get for themselves?  That is, as i said, more complicated and qualified.  And thus, not inalienable.  We will feed and cloth etc some people, under some conditions, if the jump through certain hoops.

        I must always, every time serve my duty to not murder or enslave other people.

        But I may only some of the time selectively give other people my assets, if they really need them (via taxes, charity, etc).  That is a lower level, conditional duty because I may need my food more than my neighbor who is demanding it be given to him.

        1. Josak profile image61
          Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I worked as a first mate on cargo ships and was taught law of the high sea (which is law) for aid it basically made clear that if another vessel could provide aid without unreasonable risk to itself to another it was obligated to do so by law.
          That makes sense to me in a broader context.

        2. profile image0
          Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          So when the pocket book is affected, the tune changes eh?

          I just have a duty not to hurt you.  I don't have to help you at all.

          I used humanity as a basis.  To be fully human, certain conditions must be met.  Why do you leave out the maintenance of the human being itself?  No rights can be enjoyed if I can't eat!

          1. Reality Bytes profile image76
            Reality Bytesposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            What is stopping you from eating?

            1. profile image0
              Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

              I'm not currently starving.  Others are.

  4. paradigmsearch profile image60
    paradigmsearchposted 11 years ago

    The only rights I have are the rights that the people with the power, money, and lawyers:

    A. Choose to give me.

    B. Choose not to take away from me.

    To have any other perception is a complete illusion.

    As to the above statement,

    10% of people believe it at age 21.

    50% of people believe it at age 40.

    90% of people believe it at age 60 to 70.

    Experience is a wonderful teacher...

    And, yes. The percentages are approximations.

    (Paradigmsearch clears the hell out of Dodge... big_smile )

    1. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Paradigmsearch may clear out of Dodge, but does so with a clear understanding of what "rights" are.  Until a person is able to enforce the "right" they want they don't have it.

  5. peoplepower73 profile image89
    peoplepower73posted 11 years ago

    There is a difference between unalienable rights and inalienable rights.

    You cannot surrender, sell or transfer unalienable rights, they are a gift from the creator to the individual and can not under any circumstances be surrendered or taken. All individual's have unalienable rights.

    Inalienable rights: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights.

    You can surrender, sell or transfer inalienable rights if you consent either actually or constructively. Inalienable rights are not inherent in man and can be alienated by government. Persons have inalienable rights. Most state constitutions recognize only inalienable rights.

    I think your question is should the right to not starve be an unalienable right? By definition, it is a right that cannot be taken away from an individual...I think I understand what I just wrote, but I'm not sure.

    1. rrhistorian profile image57
      rrhistorianposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      you are correct.

      and your thinking of the question is correct - because if not to starve was considered an unalienable right, the government would be required to quit starving public school children by requiring such pitiful amounts of food for the meals at school.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        ??  By definition the government has nothing to do with unalienable rights at all.  If not to starve was an unalienable right God would provide manna at every table (or a reasonable replacement - you get the idea).  Unalienable rights come from God (or the universe for the unbelievers) and have absolutely nothing to do with government or any other person or group of persons.

        The only one I can think of is the unalienable right to die.  It is a gift from the universe, cannot be taken away and is given to every person on earth.  Everything else comes from individual work or the charity of someone else.  Not God or the universe.

      2. Shadesbreath profile image78
        Shadesbreathposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        OMFG, are you serious?

        The GOVERNMENT is starving children?

        The government didn't make those babies. The government isn't the one spending their parents or gaurdian's money on other crap besides food for the kid either. And about those pitiful amounts of food, go to the cafeteria after a free breakfast is over and look in the garbage cans. All the mandated apples and orange wedges are thrown out. They eat the cookies and the chocolate milk and throw out the healthy stuff. Go look for yourself, like actually go to a few schools and actually look, before you make completely ludicrous statements like that in public again.

        You are deluded beyond all measure if you think the "government is starving children." Just wow. No wonder America is freaking hosed.

  6. rrhistorian profile image57
    rrhistorianposted 11 years ago

    your question is a very sound and logical one.
    humans have a way of misrepresenting the inalienable and unalienable ritghts though.
    as an example.
    while working this week, I went to dinner with a couple of follks from the office.
    One had forgotten her money, so we provided her sustenance and everyone was happy.
    On the way to the car, we were stopped by a person who sid they needed money to feed the kids.
    Being a generous Christian, I asked where the children were and was told they were with their grandmother.
    I then asked if the grandmother and children could join us at the restaurant where I would gladly pay for a meal for them.
    The individual stated that they would rather have the money so they could go to the cildren.
    I said, that I would be happy to purchase a large family meal for them at another restaurant so that the meal could be taken to them.
    Again, the stranger said that they wouldrather have the money.
    At this point it appeared to me that this strager did not really want my help in buying food.
    So, I informed the stranger that I was unable to give them any money as I do not carry cash.
    The stranger yelled at me and said that everyone uses cash, you idiot.  Then they shouted, you just wasted my time while I could have been talking to people who have cash.
    I appologized to the individual for wasting his time.
    The individual cussed at me and stormed off.
    I raised my head to God and thanked him for giving me the ability to calmly walk away.
    Too many panhandlers use this same tactic everyday in America.
    They are not in need - they are in deceit.

  7. Reality Bytes profile image76
    Reality Bytesposted 11 years ago

    Rights exist, with or without government interference.  There is a right to eat, it falls under the pursuit of happiness.  This right does not need another entity to implement the right.  It may require actions from the individual though.

    What is not a right is to believe that others hold an obligation to provide food for others.   What if there were no others to provide the food.  Basic human rights do not need to be enforced, they just are!

    That is the primary difference in understanding, human beings hold certain rights with or without the existence of a system of governance.  Privileges are something that can be given by a system of governance.  Government cannot grant rights, they can only abstain from infringing on an individuals rights!

    1. profile image0
      Sooner28posted 11 years agoin reply to this

      "What is not a right is to believe that others hold an obligation to provide food for others.   What if there were no others to provide the food.  Basic human rights do not need to be enforced, they just are!"

      I agree to a certain extent that rights don't come from government.  Like I said, they are inherent in our humanity; however, they do obligate people to not attack someone they disagree with and to live peacefully in order for freedom of speech or religion to be PRACTICALLY available.  Inaction is still a positive CHOICE.  You choose not to act in a violent manner when someone voices an opposing opinion. 

      Just like in public policy, I was taught if you have three options, raise taxes, cut taxes, or maintain the status quo, maintaining the status quo is still a positive choice.

      The right to eat can only be PRACTICALLY maintained if a society is at the point that it is possible to distribute food to all who need it.  Human beings just have to evolve, just like they had to evolve for the right to freedom of speech or religion to be PRACTICALLY available, even though they should have always been.

      I hope this clears it up a little.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        It still doesn't work very well, even if society CAN provide food for everyone.

        The US is at just such a point.  While we can't feed the world, we CAN feed every American.  Still, where does the money come from? 

        If you don't pay the farmer, he can't buy the tractor he needs or the fuel to run it whereupon the food isn't available, so he needs paid.  If you demand that John Deere and Exxon provide free tractors and fuel they can't pay their workers or the crude suppliers and those things go away whereupon the food goes away, so they need paid, too.  It's a snowball effect, with everything leading to lack of food if everybody isn't paid.  If you don't pay the truck driver, he can't deliver all that free food, either.

        On top of that, you have to pay them well; if the farmer earns just enough to feed his family why work?  Food is always free for the non workers so he will be fed whether he works or not. 

        Only by stealing from the "rich", those that earn far more than they need to eat, can you provide funding to make food for everyone.  Eventually, though, the "rich" will say "Enough!", pull up stakes and go somewhere else where his hard work will result in lots more than the same food allowance everyone gets whether they work or not.  It's why pure communism will never work - without incentive not nearly enough people will work at all and never in the menial jobs we still require to produce all that free food.

        While society can and should provide necessities for some we have crossed far over the line where it is sustainable and just keep going.  It was free food, then free housing, free communications, free medical for kids, free this and free that.  Now we want medical for all - the most expensive yet - and there just isn't any money for all of it.

        1. Josak profile image61
          Josakposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          This is the same argument as the one you made above and totally worthless for the same reasons. It's certainly worth noting that most first world countries do provide more usually much more, and do have better economic performance.

          The further error is not realizing most of these plans have a net equal result on the economy for the simple reason they stimulate growth which in tun makes profit for those wealthy people (who are incidentally making more money than ever before). 

          Take food stamps as an example. Without them people simply go without.

          So the assistance means more demand therefore
          the prices go up therefore
          the farmer (in this example) can set up new farms to meet that demand
          therefore the economy just grew and
          therefore the farmer effectively ends up making more money

          That's before even mentioning that a child who is well fed will do better in school and go on to be far more profitable for the country, same goes for an adult at work, being hungry doing manual labor massively reduces production (I can tell you that one from experience) the economic effect is usually not negative and when it is it's minutely so in the long run (from a purely economic perspective) and ethically from my view it's excellent.

        2. peoplepower73 profile image89
          peoplepower73posted 11 years agoin reply to this

          What does the preamble to the constitution mean to you, especially the part about promote the general welfare?

          We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


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