What To Be Thankful For? Natural Rights

That for which we are truly grateful are the aspects of our humanity that have nothing to do with the government.



What if the government is designed to perpetuate itself? What if the real levers of governmental power are pulled by agents and diplomats and bureaucrats behind the scenes? What if they stay in power no matter who is elected president or which major political party controls Congress?

What if the frequent public displays of adversity between the Republicans and the Democrats are just a facade and a charade? What if both major political parties agree on the transcendental issues of our day?

What if they both believe that our rights are not natural to our humanity but instead are gifts from the government? What if they both believe that the government that gives gifts to its people can take those gifts back?

What if the leadership of both parties give only lip service to Thomas Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence that each of us is "endowed by (our) Creator with certain inalienable rights, (and) among these is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and that the purpose of government is to protect these rights? What if the leadership of both major political parties dismiss these ideas as just Jefferson's outdated musings? What if Jefferson's arguments have been enacted into the federal laws that all in government have sworn to uphold?

What if the leadership of the two major political parties believe that due process permits mothers to kill the babies in their wombs out of fear or convenience? What if the leaders of both major political parties believe that the president should be able to kill whomever he wants out of fear, because due process is an inconvenience? What if President Obama killed Americans and claimed that he did so legally, relying on the convenient arguments of his attorney general, who falsely told him he could kill? What if the Constitution requires due process whenever the government wants someone's life, liberty or property, whether convenient or not?

What if the congressional leadership and most of the membership from both political parties believe in perpetual war and perpetual debt? What if the history of America in the past 100 years is proof of that nearly universal belief among the political classes?

What if the political classes in America believe that war is the health of the state? What if the leadership of those classes want war so as to induce the loyalty of the voters, the largesse of the taxpayers and the compliance of the people? What if the political classes use war to enrich their benefactors? What if the government has been paying for war by increasing its debt?

What if the political classes have been paying for prosperity by increasing the government's debt? What if those classes have controlled the cash-creating computers at the Federal Reserve and the free cash the Fed creates is to bankers and traders what heroin is to addicts? What if the $17.5 trillion current federal government debt has largely been caused by borrowing to pay for war and false prosperity?

What if the silent damage that the artificial creation of cash causes has not been manifested in price inflation but in equity and savings deflation? What if the manifestation of equity deflation is that too much of everything we own secures too much debt? What if the folks at the Fed who create the cash have kept interest rates so low that there is little incentive to save?

What if we all own a smaller percentage of what we think we own because the value of what we own has decreased as the debt on what we own has increased? What if the banks have borrowed the money that they lend? What if the stock market is soaring on borrowed money? What if mansions and shopping malls are popping up, but they secure more debt than they are worth? What happens when the plug is pulled on this temporary artifice as those debts come due?

What if the government demands transparency from all of us but declines to be transparent to us? What if the government fosters the make-believe that it exists to serve us? What if it has access to all of our communications, bank accounts, health and legal records, and monthly bills? What if the government knows more about us than we know about it?

What if the government stays in power by bribery? What if it bribes the rich with bailouts, the middle class with tax cuts, and the poor with welfare? What if the courts approved this bribery?

What if, on Thanksgiving, our gratitude is not to the government that assails our freedoms, but to the God who created us? What if our gratitude on Thanksgiving is for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? What if that for which we are truly grateful are the aspects of our humanity that are in God's image and likeness? What if those aspects have nothing to do with the government?

NEXT: Brickbat: Bad Dog

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  1. What if Napolitano wrote an article without any rhetorical questions?

    1. What if Napolitano had a deadline and couldn’t think of anything to write about? What if asking a bunch of question without bothering to provide answers is way easier than coming up with an actual argument?

  2. What if, on Thanksgiving, our gratitude is not to the government that assails our freedoms, but to the God who created us?

    What if my mom and dad created me?

    1. If there was Sky Daddy up there, why would he give a fuck what we think anyhow?

      1. Same reason Obama cares what you…..nevermind.

        1. Obama loves me, this I know
          For Dave Weigel told me so
          Oppressed ones to him belong
          They are weak but he is strong
          Yes Obama loves me
          Yes Obama loves me
          Yes Obama loves me
          Dave Weigel told me so!

    2. What if this was the religion thread? What if was the abortion thread? What if there’s a millenial poll next? What if there’s a thread about Mexicans? Or pot? Or ass sex?

      1. What if deep dish pizza….? never mind.

    3. What if your mom….oh nevermind.

      1. What if you guest starred for Epi…?

    4. What if atheists kept making big deals out of nothing, and their persistent whining because so tedious to so many people, that it actually changed the English language? And Merriam-Webster had to add a second definition under “Atheist” to show that the word has also come to mean “boring”?

      1. Jesus fucking Christ on a pogo stick, Ken, I didn’t say a god damned word about religion. Krishna painted blue on an elephant, Ken, I didn’t say a Vishnu-damned word about dharma. Camel-fucking Mohammed on toast, Ken, I didn’t say an Allah damned word about Iman.

        1. And I didn’t say anything about Krishna, although I understand he played a mean flute–does that make atheists any less tedious?

          1. Why do you keep dragging atheists into this? Do you have some reason to hate parents? Why do you hate parents and think that their issue should not feel thankful to them? That’s a strange morality- show me on this doll where your mommy touched you and maybe we can get to the root of it. So to speak.

            1. “Why do you keep dragging atheists into this? Do you have some reason to hate parents?”

              No doubt I have a chip on my shoulder towards idiot atheists who go around trying to convince people who believe in natural rights that their natural rights don’t exist–because God doesn’t exist.

              I also have a chip on my shoulder for idiot atheists who go around bashing religion–seeming oblivious to the fact that evolutionists study religion itself as an evolutionary adaptation.

              I also have a chip on my shoulder for idiot atheists who go around trying to tell people who find religion useful for various reasons–that believing in something they find useful is useless.

              I also have a chip on my shoulder because I’ve talked to a lot of atheists over the years–and they’re the most boring people I’ve ever had the misfortune to sit next to on the airplane. Bring back smoking on airplanes if you have to, but for Dog’s sake, can we please get a no-atheist zone?!

              They’re so boring, they’d put you to sleep, but the whinyness is so annoying, it keeps you awake like a next door neighbor’s poorly adjusted security light.

              1. Nice story, bro.

              2. What’s funny is, I never, once, have had an atheist sit next to me on a plane and regale me with tales of their atheist exploits.

                Maybe I ride different airlines than you do.

                1. I have a mental image: Ken is watching a football game, and when one of the players is interviewed and says something about thanking his momma, Ken jumps up and starts screaming, “I HATE ATHEISTS! THEY’RE BORING! KEEP YOUR ATHEISM TO YOURSELF!”

                  I really do wonder what his parents did to cause him to have that reaction to the mere mention of parents.

                  1. Funny, ’cause I have a picture of atheists jumping up every time a player thanks God for the win–and wondering aloud why he didn’t think his parents!

                    But I’m sure you wouldn’t do something like that.


      2. What if I lumped all christians together the way I see all atheists lumped together?

        We arent a homogenous group of same thinking/acting assholes.

        There is quite a variety in our assholeness.

        1. Maybe we atheists could call ourselves Assholio’s? That could be fun.

          1. Once a year we could choose someone for the assholier than thou award.

            1. Well played!

    5. enter the fedora-wearing athiest train


  3. Judge, love the heck out of you, but you need to roll back on the “what ifs” a bit.

  4. And happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

    1. Happy TDay!

      1. Today I am thankful for the family rituals – the niece that worries there won’t be enough food so cooks enough food for 40 people instead of the 15 we have and the niece that worries dinner won’t be ready in time so makes sure everything is piping hot fresh out of the oven at 8:45 a.m. and the kids that check to see what’s for dinner so they can say it’s all gross and disgusting and they want pizza.

        I’m thankful that I have food and family and time to spend with all those rotten bastards, God love ’em.

        1. (I’m even thankful for all you rotten bastards that take time to be here in this community – I hope you all have some things to be thankful for as well.)

  5. This article was a pain to read, but the points are well taken. Oh wait, I forgot to say the magic words: What if this article was a pain to read, but the points are well taken?

    1. What if he had good points, but buried these points in a series of unnecessary rhetorical questions, so that his stylistic eccentrecities threatened to obscure his substantive arguments?

    2. Was a pain….were well taken. Were, not are. Tenses must agree.

  6. What if some pedant like the judge decided he alone knew what these rights are?

    1. What if you suddenly woke up with a functioning brain and reading comprehension?

      Oh wait, that’s far more unlikely than unicorns. What if 8% of unicorns were made of tin?

    2. What if you used more than 8% of your brain on any given day?

  7. What if a hard core atheist and a thoughtful Roman Catholic could agree that the purpose of government is only to protect those rights that we obtain from our nature as individual beings, whether derived from Nature or God.

    Happy Thanksgiving Judge!

    1. An atheist and a Roman Catholic walk into a bar…

      1. Annnnnd *poof* the Roman Catholic is excommunicated and the atheist goes to hell.

      2. And the bartender says, “Is this some kinda joke?”

  8. whayt if natural rights were the go to excuse to enslave black people rape your wife or beat queers to death?

    1. Well if you don’t have those rights are you truely free?

    2. Then those people are fucking retarded.

    3. “What if natural rights were the go to excuse to enslave black people”

      How do you use natural rights to enslave people? Isn’t that unpossible?

      Natural rights are rights that exist regardless of what the government says. When Rosa Parks asserted her right to sit in the front of a public bus (despite what the government said), she was asserting her natural rights.

      How do you use natural rights to enslave people?

      You keep using that word. I do not think natural rights means what you think it means.

    4. Flaming Ballsack|11.27.14 @ 8:46AM|#

      Your handle is misspelled, Fucking Idiot.

    5. Goddamn we have some awful trolls. A coke-addled idiot and now this?

      What the fuck are you talking about Flaming Idiot? In what way could that be the case? I don’t think you have a clue what you are talking about, you are just making shit up.

    6. What if Flaming Bonehead is just a whiny, ungrateful stooge, who is forever hyperfocused on his/her perceived victimhood?

  9. I’d be a lot more thankful if there were some Mourning Lynx.

    1. No, let’s leave this as the morning thread. It’s hopeful, unlike the despondent feeling I tend to get from morning links.

  10. Were having mourning lynx instead of turkey this year. They’re brining right now. Sorry.

  11. Tell all the omega wolves about their “natural” rights. Thanks God.

  12. If I had anyone to pray to, my prayer would be that the Judge ran for president in 2016. It’d be a blast during the debates: instead of answering questions, he’d be asking them! Ninety minutes of him asking questions!!

  13. Oh dear.

  14. In the words of Almanian! … I hope all of you choke on stuffing and die asphyxiating… Happy Thanksgiving Reasonoids.

  15. It’s a good day to die. Just kidding DHS.

  16. This comment isn’t directed towards the Judge but I find it interesting that many conservatives will say this exact same thing. But then when it comes to things like indefinite detention in Gitmo they say that those constitutional rights don’t apply because they are not American citizens. So do rights from God only apply to Americans? NTTAWWT.

    1. Hannity is the worst with this. He speaks endlessly of “god-given rights” and then explains away the collateral damage of bombing people half way round the world.

    2. Conservatives don’t acknowledge that the federal constitution is a constraint on the state, not a delineation of human rights. It’s the same understanding as progressives who whine about death pacts; we can just put aside the Constitution when it becomes inconvenient while we keep chattering about rights and patting ourselves on the back.

  17. What if Judge Napolitano could write in declarative statements. Forego questions?

  18. There may be complaints about his style, but I think its purpose is to make us stop and think about all of those things, even if we don’t agree. I do disagree with Mr. Napolitano on several points including the right to own ourselves, to ingest, egest, add or subtract whatever we wish. But I really like to read his essays and I think about what he asks, even if only a little bit. I give him an A for effort.

    My Thanksgiving FB post? “What am I thankful for? That free markets haven’t been obliterated yet; that all of the rights mentioned and implied by the Constitution haven’t been completely infringed yet. That I have valuable, lovable family and friends. Hey, to quote Don McNiell, ‘Each in his own words, each in his own way.'”

    And those things don’t have anything to do with an invisible man in the sky [Man?? Really??] who supposedly knows all and cares.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all. Enjoy the day.

    1. I do disagree with Mr. Napolitano on several points including the right to own ourselves,

      Then who owns you?

      1. I didn’t express myself well. It seems to me that Mr. Napolitano thinks that somebody besides me owns me, if he’s against abortion. I would hope that it would be the last resort, but it’s up to the individual. I own me, exclusively.

        1. “Mr. Napolitano thinks that somebody besides me owns me, if he’s against abortion. ”

          The Judge and I agree that at some point a fetus becomes a person, and at that point they have as many rights as you do. We disagree on where that point lies, but probably not by much.

          By being anti-abortion he is not claiming that you don’t own yourself, rather that you don’t own another person just because they are not born yet. I think his position is more consistent with natural rights than the one I think you are taking.

          1. Thanks for the thoughtful reply – seriously.

        2. There’s a lot of discussion about rights elsewhere on the thread. Has anyone thought to agree on the definition of the term? What is a ‘right’? I bet there are at least a few different definitions in the minds of our correspondents here.

  19. What if I only half paid attention to the article because I’m too busy making my niece watch the Secret of NIMH for the first time?

    Happy Thanksgiving, Reasonoids.

    1. Good movie! But you should be making her read the book.

    2. Cool. Love that movie.

  20. Been in transit for a couple of days.

    So, I guess there have been a lot of trolls around lately?

    When I left there were a bunch of racists hangin’ around.

    Now it looks like there’s a bunch of rioters who think libertarians are the Ferguson Police Department?

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

  21. There is no such thing as a ‘natural right’, and never has been.

    We have rights because we live in a country where, a long time ago, a government was formed by people who believed that white male property owners possessed such things. Over the passage of time, liberal activists worked to affirm that others also possessed them.

    No god ever granted any rights at all, except to priests and royalty.

    1. Tony has a sock puppet now?

      1. Tony’s thinking is hardly original.

        Somebody programmed that chip in his head.

    2. Because there is no god, our rights can only come from government?

      Wouldn’t it naturally follow, then, that the government can’t really violate anyone’s rights?

      Do you believe that Rosa Parks had a right to sit in the front of a public bus–despite what the government said–or don’t you?

      During the holocaust, the government said Jews didn’t have a right to their own lives. Do you believe that Jews had a right to their own lives during the holocaust or don’t you?

      What about Japanese internment camps? During World War II, the government said that American citizens of Japanese ancestry (men, women, and children), had a right to be stripped of their property and confined within guarded military camps out in the middle of the desert.

      Didn’t Americans of Japanese ancestry have the same rights as the rest of us–even as the government was violating them?

      It seems to me that our rights must exist in opposition to government. Religious freedom is the right to choose your own religious beliefs–despite government. The others are like that, too. If our rights didn’t exist despite the government, then would our rights really exist at all?

      Can you explain how our rights exist both because of and in opposition to government?

      P.S. There are plenty of atheists who recognize natural rights.

      1. Libertarian theists and atheists agree that natural rights *exist* – they have a slight disagreement over *where those rights came from.*

        I’m a bit vague on the libertarian atheist explanation, but the theistic explanation can be readily guessed, and it’s the explanation offered by the founding fathers (including the “Deist” Thomas Jefferson): That people are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

        1. Actually, I’m not happy with the phrase ‘natural rights’. It sounds like some huge ‘bill of rights’ granted by some being or agency; it’s 108* backwards.
          As a human is born, there are no limits to his actions other than physical laws. Either that person then choses to limit his actions or as a member of a social group, agrees to certain limits on his actions.
          The ‘rights’ remain unlimited other than that and are not granted by any agency.

          1. it’s 108* backwards

            Isn’t that close to tetrahedral?

            1. Ah, well, just wait ’till the wine gets opened.

              1. An excellent choice, sir. And the last bottle that we had. Lucky you, sir!

          2. But what if there’s a conflict between one person’s desire for freedom of action and another person’s?

            Wait – I’m discussing Natural Law on Thanksgiving, what’s wrong with me?

            1. The things some people are willing to agree to as part of a social group often involve a lot of power to the state.

              1. Yeah, if you look at my posts below, I’m talking about freedom and natural rights within the context of evolutionary processes.

                These things take time, and it isn’t always three steps forward. Sometimes, it’s two steps forward and one step back.

                Athens lost the Peloponnesian War! Greece was ultimately overwhelmed by Rome, and the rise of fascists and communism was still 2,000 years to come.

                That’s the way evolution works. Fits and starts. Throughout the process, however, the authoritarians have been on the wrong side of the evolutionary argument. They may hit a peak every once in a while, but we’re still living on Athens and the Magna Carta today.

                If you were one of the people running North Korea today, how secure would you feel about the long term prospects of your form of Stalinism?

                Their society is built on principles that are probably unsustainable from an evolutionary perspective–but maladaptations like that can sustain themselves for a long time. Doesn’t mean they aren’t maladaptations.

        2. My short version?

          Adam Smith was right! …in Theory of Moral Sentiments, he makes the case that our rights arise naturally from within us and also that they evolve through our interactions with other people. “Evolve” is a tough word to use in reference to Adam Smith since he predated Darwin, but Darwin used Adam Smith extensively to explain evolution.

          The invisible hand was used to describe how benevolence arises between us in Theory of Moral Sentiments decades before Wealth of Nations. No doubt, deists in Smith’s day took the “invisible hand” as a reference to God like ability to do things–that wasn’t God.

          So, anyway, if you believe in the invisible hand, that shouldn’t threaten anyone’s atheism. And our natural rights are an evolutionary adaptation that arises from our instincts and the same invisible hand forces that guide our economic interactions. We evolved rights for the same reason that birds evolved the instinct to form flocks for protection and fly south for the winter. And societies that feature individual rights more prominently (the U.S., the U.K.) tend to defeat societies that don’t (Nazis, USSR, Imperial Japan).

        3. The idea that what we call rights are a natural product of evolution is becoming more and more supported in evolutionary biology and the study of the rise of altruism, too. The idea that altruism is an evolutionary adaptation that gives distinct advantages to the species that employ it shouldn’t have been surprising…

          …to anyone who read what Smith wrote in “Theory of Moral Sentiments” about the invisible hand back in 1759.

          When Darwin described the origin of species, he described how the invisible hand was working on our genes. But Smith beat him to the description of social adaptations by a long shot. And, like I said, evolutionary biologists keep finding that Smith was right about that (in the evolutionary emergence of altruism).

          If you believe in evolution, you shouldn’t have a problem believing in natural rights. One comes from the other. If there were no examples of altruism arising from within the evolutionary context, that would be an excellent argument for the existence of God! Don’t worry–there are plenty of examples of altruism arising from (rather than despite) evolution.

          Anthropology understands religion itself as an evolutionary adaptation, right? Why wouldn’t natural rights be like that, too? Why wouldn’t they be an evolutionary adaptation–like language?

        4. This Atheist Libertarian thinks that rights are conditions and moral principles required for a human’s survival and freedom as a rational being. That’s pretty Randian, but through Rand is how I got here. The rights are inherent, but they needed and need to be discovered. That’s the work of philosophers and maybe judges, too. The one from which the others can be derived is an individual’s right to life.

      2. Ken Shultz|11.27.14 @ 11:38AM|#
        “Because there is no god, our rights can only come from government?”

        Proggies are infantile WRT being moral agents; unless some authority tells a proggy what do do, the proggy is lost.
        Hence, if it isn’t a gov’t, it must be a god.
        Pathetic, but Tony demonstrates it every time he shows up.

        1. Their “morality”, however they define it, doesn’t seem to give much weight to the importance of human agency.

          I don’t think a valid moral system is possible without respect for human agency, and I don’t think that’s just a qualitative preference on my part.

          Rights are a way to respect human agency. A right is a right to make a choice. I get to choose what I say. I get to choose my own religion. I get to choose whether to buy a gun, and so on. Ultimately, all of our rights are a way to respect human agency.

          And the moral systems that don’t respect human agency all fail in practice over time. There aren’t many societies left that don’t respect human agency as point of honor. I suppose North Korea is one. And talk about a failed society! They can’t even feed their own people half the time.

      3. “It seems to me that our rights must exist in opposition to government”

        Well, they must existing in opposition to most any and all organizations, since most orgs work on a lowest common denominator basis – that is, good for all to some degree, but each gives up something…

        Government is an organizing institution and not all governments are the same. We need government to both protect rights – and when they have already removed them – to actually pass laws restoring them.

        That’s where we are going with civil rights, gay rights, women’s rights, rights to bend your own mind, etc.

        Any politician – even so-called “Libertarian” leaning ones – works on a continuum between the rights of the few, the rights of many…as well as social order, property rights and “natural” rights (a tough construct).

        Ask a safe suburban person if they want to cut the police force and they will probably say yes. Ask a person whose home was broken into twice in the past year and you’ll get a different answer. As they say, “it depends”.

        I think most sane people can agree that a big danger is the government claiming that religious faith of one type is a litmus test for political office or the bedrock of our country and society.

        Unfortunately, Senator Paul has made it clear he believes in this….

        “voters should reject any politician who says faith isn’t a part of public life” R. Paul

        1. Unfortunately, Senator Paul has made it clear he believes in this….”voters should reject any politician who says faith isn’t a part of public life” R. Paul

          I’m not sure exactly what Mr. Paul meant here, but I concur that faith is an essential part of public life.

          Indeed, faith is the essential aspect of public life and civilization at large. Without faith, one could not drive on the roads. Unless I trust other drivers to follow the agreed upon rules of the road, I just cannot risk driving. And so it is with every aspect of society. We trust (have faith in) our fellow citizens to live according to the rules and beliefs (belief is a value in which one puts their faith) of society. When someone violates that faith or trust, they are punished–not only to change their ways, but to restore faith.

          Progressives and socialists who hate commerce fail to understand that faith (trust) is the cornerstone on which business is built. They charge that businesses lie and cheat, but if that were generally true there would be no commerce. Faith is as essential to free markets as it is to society. In socialism the government assumes the place of God and demands faith from its followers. But government is never trustworthy and fails, leaving the socialist society faithless.

          1. Yes, faith is often misused to mean loyalty to a creed and institution, but that is not what it means in scripture. It has to do with civilization. It is the fabric of society and essential to civilization.

          2. Huh? There are lots of churches in lots of socialist societies. I don’t see the state assuming the place of any gods..

            1. I don’t see the state assuming the place of any gods..

              A god is the source of one’s values (beliefs) and the target of one’s devotion. Except for the sociopath, everybody has values and beliefs and necessarily reveres the source of their greatest values. For the monotheist, that source is a mystery called God. For the secularist it is Reason, Nature or Evolution. But who or what is the source of the utopian values, or beliefs, of the socialist/communist/progressive? Government and elite specialists is their god.

              1. Sorry, but that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Go to any European country (they’re all socialist, to some degree or another) and watch a church service. There’ll be talk of gods of some sort, but hardly ever will there be talk of, say, marginal tax rates or the sanitation department.

          3. wadair, what you’re talking about is more trust than faith — like when I have “faith” that when I walk on a concrete sidewalk, it will support me when I take my next step, or that the sun will still be shining tomorrow. Actual faith is belief in the absence of evidence. But I and thousands of people have evidence that with very few exceptions (e.g., the occasional sinkhole) each step on a concrete sidewalk is as safe as the previous one. The sun’s been shining for as long as anyone can remember, and our best models suggest that it will continue to shine for millions of years more. And I trust that through experience, education, and testing that drivers will follow the rules of the road.

            1. I don’t necessarily disagree with you, Bob. But the first definition of faith in most dictionaries is trust. The second is belief without evidence. And I would agree that some people are proud of their ability to believe in things that are unproved. Their silliness doesn’t change my philosophy of society.

              I’m convinced that civilization is built upon faith as trust, and that faith–as taught by scripture–is the cornerstone of society. The institutional church likes to hijack faith and turn it into loyalty. But it is nothing of the sort.

              Just imagine the power of team spirit. It is faith based. But without it, most teams will fail. With it, some teams can surmount all odds and prevail nonetheless. Reality is still reality, but human beings are capable of extra-typical feats when they have faith–that is trust and hope.

        2. “We need government to both protect rights – and when they have already removed them – to actually pass laws restoring them.”

          Don’t put the cart before the horse.

          MLK didn’t march for civil rights after the government got rid of Jim Crow–the government got rid of segregation because people like MLK demanded respect for their civil rights.

          The government is always the last on board.

          “Any politician – even so-called “Libertarian” leaning ones – works on a continuum between the rights of the few, the rights of many…as well as social order, property rights and “natural” rights (a tough construct).”

          Conflicts arise when the right of individuals to make choices for themselves overlap and conflict with other people’s rights. There are questions about what to do for national defense and how to educate, say, orphans with handicaps…

          Outside of that, I don’t need any politicians to balance my rights and the rights of the many. I can do that for myself just fine!

          Certainly, why would anyone imagine themselves capable of making qualitative choices for another person? It’s easier to believe in God than that some person on this earth has the supernatural ability to make qualitative choices for the rest of us!

          Why don’t we all make choices for ourselves?

        3. Hi ASSHOLE!
          “I think most sane people can agree that a big danger is the government claiming that religious faith of one type is a litmus test for political office or the bedrock of our country and society.”
          Yes, and that has to do with natural rights exactly how? Oh, it doesn’t! It’s just a asshole lefty trying misdirection!

          “Unfortunately, Senator Paul has made it clear he believes in this….
          “voters should reject any politician who says faith isn’t a part of public life” R. Paul”
          So don’t vote for him, ASSHOLE.
          Personally, I think his religion is far less dangerous than Obo’s attempt to run the economy, especially since he seems to be as mud-stupid as you are.

      4. We have precisely the rights we can seize, and keep.

        We are fortunate to live in a country that recognizes many rights; others live in countries that recognize more or fewer rights than ours does. Everyone’s got gods; they seem to be irrelevant as to whether people have rights.

        Of course governments can violate rights, as ours did in the case of Rosa Parks (or countless other cases).

        But that’s because we have a modern idea of ‘rights’.

        1. “We have precisely the rights we can seize, and keep.”

          The existence of our rights doesn’t depend on our ability to defend them.

          Just because I can steal your car doesn’t mean your car doesn’t exist.

          The government violates our rights. Criminals ignore our rights. Some politicians pretend our rights depend on the outcome of elections…

          But our rights are inalienable. Slaves always had all the same rights as the rest of us. It’s just that the government refused to protect their rights. Rosa Parks always had her rights.

          The government’s refusal to protect our rights doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. It’s the government’s laws that are artificial. The existence of our rights is “natural” because our rights do not depend on the government.

          Check the Ninth Amendment. The framers refused to put the Bill of Rights within the body of the Constitution for fear that it would make posterity think that the government is the origin of their rights. In order to assuage that fear, they insisted on the Ninth Amendment:

          “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

          If they repealed the First Amendment tomorrow, we would still have the right to free speech, the right to freedom of religion, etc. If they abolished the Constitution tomorrow, we would still have all the same rights we have today. The only question is whether the government would violate them.

        2. “Of course governments can violate rights, as ours did in the case of Rosa Parks (or countless other cases).

          But that’s because we have a modern idea of ‘rights’.”

          When fantasy clashes with reality, it’s the reality that wins, right?

          Rosa Parks insisted on reality in a world of fantasy–some people fantasized that her rights didn’t exist because the government said they didn’t exist.

          The reality was that her rights always existed. The fantasy was in the minds of government officials–not in Rosa Parks’ mind. Rosa Parks’s mind was full of reality.

          You can’t just fundamentally change the government across the entirety of the American south, right?! Not if what the government says is reality!

          But the Jim Crow vision wasn’t reality. It was a fantasy. It was based on a delusion–that other people’s rights are somehow delineated by popularity contests and the arbitrary power of government.

          They might as well have tried to defy gravity.

          The Soviet Union was built on the fantasy that they decided what people’s rights were. Fantasy governments can only stand up to the reality of people’s individual rights for so long.

          1. In the Soviet Union you didn’t have many of the rights that we enjoy here.

            In North Korea you currently don’t have, as far as I know, any rights.

            That’s Reality ™.

            1. Yes, citizens of the Soviet Union and North Korea had and have the same rights as we do. But their governments violate(d) or refuse(d) to protect them.

              1. And those thuggish governments are fewer than they were; reality does will out.

            2. “In the Soviet Union you didn’t have many of the rights that we enjoy here.”

              You’re completely ignoring the fact that the Soviet Union ceased to exist because it couldn’t survive in the real world.

              In the real world, individuals have rights regardless of what the government says. And if the government doesn’t conform to the reality of people’s rights, eventually it will collapse.

              North Korea cannot survive on its own in its current form indefinitely. It may survive for a long time on a limited scale, but ultimately, it’s an unsustainable model.

              Once China understood that, they reformed themselves and bought themselves more time. Their model is now a lot more sustainable in the real world than it used to be–because they conformed to the reality of individual rights.

              1. Oh, I agree. North Korea is going to bomb, and I’d put a lot of money on it happening in my lifetime.

                I don’t think that’s got to to with ‘natural rights’, though, whatever those may be. It has to do with that they’ve got no money and that their government is essentially an organized crime crew. They’ve got no trading partners, no industry to speak of. They don’t sell anything. No one wants to be their friend because they’re bonkers.

                We existed as a species for millennia without any concept that anyone (except nobility and sometimes the priesthood, of course) had any such thing. There are still societies that don’t believe in half the rights we do, and they get along fine. Look at Saudi Arabia!

    3. You made a declarative statement. I guess that settles it then.

      *This is probably Mary. She is attempting to be provocative when she is not sticking her finger up her ass and then smelling it.

  22. Happy Thanks-for-Producing Day!

  23. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Pecan pie is almost done!

    1. You’re back east? I just got the stock about boiling and ready to start the slow simmer to smell up the place.

      1. Nope, bringing the pie to the family gathering so getting an early start on it. Besides, it’s better to let it sit and cool down (imo).

        1. Sounds about right to me. Happy T’day back atcha!

        2. Absolutely.

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  25. my neighbor’s mother makes $70 /hour on the computer . She has been laid off for seven months but last month her check was $17589 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit here…..

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  26. Simcity is on sale for $5

    I suggest everyone give it a shot and see if “natural rights” utopias work in terms of balance.

    1. You are a profoundly stupid shit if you think SimCity is an argument. Craiginmass, this may shock you, but video games aren’t real. Also, if you feel that SimCity is a strong indicator of management skill, then you should support Herman Cain for life.

      Up next, craiginmass justifies the invasion of Iraq because Call of Duty!

    2. craiginmass|11.27.14 @ 1:01PM|#
      “I suggest everyone give it a shot and see if “natural rights” utopias work in terms of balance.”

      Hi ASSHOLE.
      I suggest you deal with reality instead of a game.

  27. On Thanksgiving, our gratitude is … to the God who created us and for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, writes Andrew Napolitano.

    Napolitano’s God as a very sick sense of humor.

    1. Exactly. If God really gave a shit about our life, liberty and property rights then why doesn’t she do something to secure them for us?

      Oh, I forgot, we have to wait for pie in the sky bye and bye to enjoy these things. Our lot in this world is apparently to suffer it’s slings and arrows meekly and show our unfailing loyalty to the Supreme Supernatural Dictator in the desperate hope that we will end up on the guest list for the big Cloud Nine party in the sky.

  28. That for which we are truly grateful are the aspects of our humanity that have nothing to do with the government.

    Unless they’re immigrants. Because fuck them.

  29. May everyone’s thanksgiving have plenty of beer, hopefully some moderately-screeching children, and plenty of decent dessert. Because no one thinks there anything wrong with picking at your meal and then eating 4 slices of pie on Thanksgiving.

  30. As others have noted the good judges abuse of rhetorical questions is tiresome and irritating. If you have a point to make, please make it affirmatively and with pertinent facts and logical clarity.

    1. Rummy used to do the same thing. “Were mistakes made? Absolutely..”

      1. obadiahlynch|11.27.14 @ 4:48PM|#
        “Rummy used to do the same thing. “Were mistakes made? Absolutely..””

        Can you say “false equivalence”?
        Yes I know you can, now that it’s been pointed out to you.
        I can easily say “jackass lefty”.

  31. I am thankful for our mixed economy which allows libertarians, liberals, and conservatives alike to praise or blame the part of the Tao they like or dislike.

  32. Merry Thanksgiving and a Happy Serotonin Coma to all!

  33. my neighbor’s sister makes $63 an hour on the laptop . She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her pay was $18486 just working on the laptop for a few hours. have a peek at this web-site….

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  34. Leilafair . you think Allen `s comment is astonishing, on friday I bought a gorgeous Aston Martin DB5 when I got my cheque for $8527 this past month and just over ten grand this past-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the most-financialy rewarding I have ever had . I began this 8-months ago and practically straight away began to earn at least $72, per hour .
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  35. Ain’t nuthin’ natural about rights.

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