Ted Cruz

Even if God Didn't Give Us the Constitution, We Should Act Like He Did

If politicians treated the Constitution as if it were handed down from heaven rather than a pliable set of guidelines, the U.S. would be a better place.

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As an atheist, I suppose I should be deeply troubled by Ted Cruz's God-heavy presidential announcement. Although the Texas senator's blast of old-fashioned American exceptionalism garnered most of the chortling media's attention, it's what troubles me the least about his aspirations. If the politicians treated the ideals of the Enlightenment as if they were handed down from heaven rather than a pliable set of guidelines perpetually bending to accommodate the vagaries of contemporary politics, I imagine the world would be a better place. They don't.

As one reporter for Yahoo! News asked during Cruz's speech on Twitter: "Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?"

The Declaration of Independence states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This founding document informs the Constitution, which restricts government from meddling in important areas of our lives. That's how the Founders saw it. That's how we've pretended to see it for a long time. Some of us believe that these natural rights, divine or secular, are universal, that they can't be repealed or restrained or undone by democracy, university presidents, or rhetorically gifted presidents.

If that's God's position—or, more specifically, if enough people think that's His position—well then He's my co-pilot, as well.

By the way, here's John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 1961: "And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God."

Weird, huh.

On one side of the deep cultural divide, the very notion that God tells us anything is silly. That's why you see many journalists react with confusion or with contemptuous tweets or feel the need to highlight something so obvious. On a political level, the idea that God can give us unalienable rights only threatens an agenda that doesn't exactly hold your right to live in peace without interference sacred. And this lack of reverence for rights will lead to a serious battle between religious freedom and progressive aims.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

And for those who believe the primary source of human decency and fairness is the Internal Revenue Service, the idea that a magical being has conferred rights on us that restrict state-driven do-gooderism is problematic. If you imagine the Constitution is merely as "man-made" (like, say, a gun-control bill or Medicaid expansion), then contemporary men can fix it. They can do this by whittling away what's wrong and adding what's moral whenever they see fit. They can start by tacking new rights on whenever something troubles them or whenever it's advantageous to do so. FDR already thought up the Second Bill of Rights, a list that has essentially superseded the original for many liberals.

Not long ago, President Obama argued that health care—and by this he means Obamacare—was a "right." The idea is that a right to buy insurance in a fabricated state-run marketplace is more vital than the right to self-defense (that one Obama isn't crazy about). A few years back, the president argued that "dignity and opportunity aren't just gifts to be handed down by a generous government or by a generous employer; they are rights given by God, as undeniable and worth protecting as the Grand Canyon or the Great Smoky Mountains." I imagine this idea is shared by many millions.

Was that bizarre? Does a government have the fundamental right to provide all citizens with a good paycheck or a union job assembling subsidized wind turbines? If there is a God, I suspect he may well want us to get rid of the IRS and pass a flat tax so we can fill our returns on a postcard every year. But that issue, like the right to free community college, is a matter of contemporary policy and process, not a right.

What is the promise of America? The revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don't come from man. They come from God Almighty.

Cruz's speech, with too many bromides for my own tastes, was the kind of unadulterated American idealism that the smart people in Washington like to ridicule. "God's blessing has been on America since the very beginning of this nation. And I believe God isn't done with America yet," Cruz says. I dunno. I hope so. "Revolutionary" or not, Cruz's contention that we are providentially guaranteed certain rights is a basic idea of American history, one that journalists should be well acquainted with. And don't get me wrong; I don't have high hopes for the Ted Cruz administration. But mocking him for restating traditional ideals about faith's role in governance is bizarre.

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  1. Ooh, I better get my popcorn!

    1. It’s a roundabout way for lamestream libertarians to recognize the necessarily objective nature of rights-respecting law and government. And that is what conservatives are (implicitly) referencing when they declare that individual rights are given to us by god, a fact of nature, etc. Bad as that is, it is nowhere near as retarded as the leftoid arguments that reality is a “social construct”, and thus political rights are whatever whoever’s mob declares them to be.

    2. Popcorn indeed. Everyone knows that for some time now the so-called Constitution has increasingly posed a nuisance to law enforcement that prosecutors and judges are, fortunately, adept at getting around when they need to perform. An example is the excellent decision, at the highest judicial level in New York, to criminalize inappropriately deadpan email parodies. True, one judge foolishly dissented, declaring that this effort “amounts to an atavism at odds with the First Amendment and the free and uninhibited exchange of ideas it is meant to foster.” First Amendment? “Uninhibited” exchange of ideas? Who ever heard of such baloney. Thank our Almighty Father in Heaven that most judges today know how to ignore this kind of nonsense. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal satire case at:

      https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. How about this: We don’t need god to realize that the Constitution is the legal framework underpinning every aspect of our nation’s prosperity and freedom, and we ignore it/bastardize it/shortchange it at our own peril.

    See, no god needed.

    1. Yes, it is that simple.

      Conservatives like to use the god argument because they believe only they know what our rights are.

      SCOTUS says we have the right to privacy and most conservatives deny we do.

      1. And you’ve interviewed “most conservatives” to find this out?

        The objection conservatives tend to have to the right to privacy is that it was used to justify legalized abortion. In other words, they don’t object to privacy, they object to the use to which the right was put. I don’t much care for conservatives, but at least if you’re going to rail at them for unknown reasons on a libertarian thread get their position straight.

        Personally, I think we need a constitutional amendment stating that no human activity that does not directly harm the life, liberty, or property of another person may be restricted by federal law.

        1. Incorrect. Conservatives went ballistic on ‘Griswold vs. Connecticut’ when taking birth control pills were first considered a right.

          1. And that case was in 1965. I’m pretty sure there aren’t many conservatives today who were around to be mad about that. I haven’t heard any of them complaining about it lately either. Try again.

      2. Conservatives like to use the God argument because that way they don’t have to be consistent about our rights. If our rights come from God, they are arbitrary, and they don’t have to be consistent. They can be whatever God says they are.

        1. And Progressives hate any talk about a God or Gods because they hate thinking anout possibly having to amswer to a higher power.

          I’m an agnostic. Iremain unconvinced by the religions. But atheism had plenty of opportunity to show its superiority in the 20th century and the nicest thing one can say is that it blew it. If one wants to be nasty one cam start totting up the body count.

    2. Sure, but then losing your right to free speech for example is just a matter of process, and not a moral issue. The Constitutional rights have no more precedence over any other laws the legislature passes. All laws, and rights become just the will of the majority. At some point you want to make the case for natural rights.

      1. Would you provide a complete list of these so-called natural rights?

        I want to make sure my favorites are on it including the right to process plants in any matter I desire.

        1. Things you can do without physically harming others.

        2. We don’t need god to realize that the Constitution is the legal framework underpinning every aspect of our nation’s prosperity and freedom, and we ignore it/bastardize it/shortchange it at our own peril.

          But simply stating we have these rights because they’re in the constitution is tautological. Because then the question becomes, why have we codified these rights in the constitution. That’s the central point of this piece. It’s a defense not of God, but of Natural Rights: namely the idea that we are free and the only justifiable limits on human freedom are those laws which prevent us from inhibiting the same freedoms of another.

          1. ^This was supposed to be a response to DEATFBIRSECIA

          2. Why is saying they come from God any less arbitrary than saying they come from the constitution?

            We need a coherent moral philosophy based on human nature that is the foundation for our rights. Not some “god said so!” argument. Which is good, because there are lots of libertarians who already have such theories. There’s absolutely no reason to resort to pathetic “Because god!” arguments.

            1. Well, no, there is an issue here. The Constitution is based on natural rights having a real meaning. While you don’t have to believe such rights come from a divinity to be a libertarian, you do have to view what are referred to as natural rights as being inherent to mankind. Otherwise, it’s all about what the people in power want.

              1. No. You can believe in what might be termed the project of normative ethics. That is the effort do devise a consistent set of moral and philosophical principles by which human beings ought to live in order to avoid conflict. Those principles include ideas about what “rights” people ought to have. Rights that enable them to live together freely and without conflict. The rights are constructs, but they are also time-tested constructs that have proven to result in more peaceful, just societies.

                Side note: as I’ve argued else, people like Tony want to invent new “rights” to this like healthcare, without recognizing that those right do nothing to solve conflicts but merely set up new ones. Positive rights are unworkable because they do not account for the scarcity of resources. If everyone has the right to use the same resource, the “right” doesn’t resolve anything. You have to create some other system to resolve who gets the real right to the resource.

                1. \\You can believe in what might be termed the project of normative ethics\\
                  How is this less arbitrary? Normative ethics for Aztecs was to cut your fucking heart out Hazel so that the sun would rise tomorrow thus saving the world. Normative ethics for Greeks would be to strip your bitch ass naked and sell you in the market, with your nipples all perky from the cold, so your new owner could rape you awhile and then sell you once he grew board of you. Fuck your normative ethics.

                  Whether you rose up out of the primordial ooze of bacteria shit and piss or some invisible entity in the sky snapped his fingers and viola there you is … you are. That is the objective truth. You is, we are. We are and so we come with parameters. Heart needs to beat. Lungs need to breath. Brain waves cannot be flat (unless you are a fucking SJW Progtard) and you need to excrete and defecate. Such is the biology.

                  We also have with our biology, rights. These rights are as non-negotiable as the biological parameters. Which is why someone termed them to be self evident. Your rights are innumerable. The bill of rights laid this out (see 9&10;). No one said you have the right to a happy outcome. You do have the right to pursue it, so long as the pursuit does not fuck someone else over in the meantime.

                  1. +2 blunt objects

        3. The right, and the corresponding duty, to control yourself and your property.

          1. I should add that I call this self-control, because I like the pun, and it confuses all sorts of people who don’t want the right and the duty to balance.

          2. I like that and the response from Mr. Anderson but your replies are way too vague for legal definition.

            1. Crimes are all self-control clashes, and only victims prosecute. Only fools would complain for every little bump and sidestep on a crowded sidewalk. My right to a zebra striped door trumps your right to see a red door on my property. Come over and let’s make a deal; otherwise, butt out.

              If my loud parties disrupt your sleep, I have violated your self-control more than a mere zebra striped door, but only juries can decide the circumstances.

              If all this sounds too nebulous, I submit the current legal system follows the rules only as convenient. Noise ordinances set arbitrary times and noise levels which make no allowance for differing circumstances. Cases depend on how busy the police are, how busy the courts are, how good a day the judge is having, and a zillion other variables. If victims had to prosecute, or hire a prosecutor, if the parties had to agree on a mediator to resolve disputes, if disputes had to be resolved unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt, and if losers paid all costs, there’d be fewer edge cases, fewer people gaming the system, and more disputes resolved without lawyers.

              Theft, assault, and murder would change only in eliminating political hacks. The actual cases would probably differ very little in ultimate outcome.

        4. Re: Peter Caca,

          Life
          Liberty
          Property

          There are no other rights that are natural or right.

          1. Property except for Eminent Domain. Liberty except for recreational drugs, buying sex, gambling on sports and dozens of other examples.

            All rights – Not.

            1. Your response means nothing. Eminent Domain, the WOD, the war on prostitution and gambling all violate Life, Liberty, and Property. But then comes federalism.

              If a community decides among themselves that they want no hot green houses in their midst, then they can decide that without violating human rights as long as those in the community have chosen to present some of their rights to majority rule. This is not the same as government deciding to limit rights according to the expertise of Top Men.

              I give up my right to drive on the left side of the road when I choose to operate an automobile in the United States. There’s a trade-off but it’s freely given, not coerced by government.

              1. You can’t have a right if it impedes the legitimate rights of others. Using your example, you don’t ‘give up’ a right to drive on the left side of the road. You never had one because it impedes upon my right to not die in a fiery car crash.

                From my reading, a natural right is basically any right that does not impede the rights of others.

        5. You sound like you might be a fan of Robert Bork and his argument that “natural rights” is a dead letter because once you accept that there are some vague, ill-defined “ink-blot” of “natural rights” floating around out there then you’ve got endless arguing over just what are are not natural rights. Far better just to stick to the black-letter law of the Constitution because lord knows that’s plain as day and there’s never any arguing over what the exact meaning of a particular phrase is.
          .
          But saying that if you can’t come up with an exhaustive and exclusive list of all your natural rights means we have to take the natural rightss argument off the table is a silly argument, like saying that if you don’t know the exact number of jelly beans there are in a pound then the person who guesses 3 and the person who guesses 160 and the person who guesses 14 million are all putting forth equally valid guesses. We can argue around the edges, but there’s a pretty solid center there.
          .
          And of course, we get off on a tangent arguing about “God-given” rights, let’s just leave God out of this and say we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights the way wiser men than we did. Whether you believe you were created by some higher power or sheerly by an accident of nature, your rights flow from the fact of your existence and not from the fact of the existence of some person or piece of paper.
          .

          1. Which is of course why I argue that, while American law extends no further than the border, the prohibition on the American government infringing on rights as detailed in the Bill of Rights is universal. Just because the government of Squalorstan infringes the free speech rights of its citizens doesn’t mean the citizens of Squalorstan don’t possess that right – nor does it give the US government the right to infringe on those rights on the grounds that the citizens of Squalorstan are not US citizens and therefore not protected by the Bill of Rights.

            1. I am fine with “natural rights” as long as I get to decide what they are.

      2. No it’s not just a matter of process. There is moral philosophy outside of God.
        It is possible to derive sound moral principles for human beings without referring to imaginary beings.

        1. Go ahead and create a moral framework without God, people have tried since the beginning of time. But you will always end up with an opinion with no more evidence than God, and even less authority because there is not, nor will there ever be any concrete evidence of a true moral code.

          1. But belief in an invisible undetectable supernatural being suffers from a surplus of concrete evidence. Especially when you consider all the different religions, it’s kind of tricky knowing which one is the one true religion.

          2. I create a complete god-less moral framework further down thread. Read on, my son, and be enlightened.

          3. You’re correct.

            God is the giver of laws. Some classical Greeks said it was Hermes (which was co-opted in the Jesus of some Greek writers) of course, but the mental–yea spiritual–construct is the same. God is the answer to the question: from whom/where/what came Law?

            There is no need for “imaginary beings.” However, there appears to be a need in humans for pins to hang concepts from. And God is one of them. God does exist. For example, ask any biologist where life comes from and they will answer: Evolution. Is that not God in another guise? How About the universe? Where did it come from? The Big Bang. God again. Humans need an origin, or Genesis. We need a pure, wise something as the origin of Law. We just do.

    3. Agreed. Although I still disagree with buttface, even if he also agrees with you.

    4. Re: DEATFBIRSECIA,

      We don’t need god to realize that the Constitution is the legal framework underpinning every aspect of our nation’s prosperity and freedom

      Well, it’s not. America’s prosperity is the result of free and entrepreneurial people and a limited government that only slowly worked through those things it could get away with.

  3. In the absence of government, what things might I do that no one can take away from me?

    1. The same things you have a right to do under a properly organized government.

      The difference is that defending your natural rights in a state of nature is not very easy.

      Not that it’s easy under a government.

      1. The difference is that defending your natural rights in a state of nature is not very easy.

        Turns out defending them against the Zillion Pound Hammer of the state isn’t very easy either, especially when the state keeps trying to tell me that I have no right to defend myself.

        1. The right to self defense is certainly a man-made one as evidenced by the legal parameters involved. You can’t just kill someone who merely threatens you verbally for instance. Crimes of passion are hotly debated as self-defense as well.

          1. Mr. 100% Libertarian has declared the right to self-defense to be man-made. Wow.

            A religious Libertarian would say rights come from God, an Atheist Libertarian would say they come from nature. Either way they are self-evident, and exist regardless of what anyone else says.

            1. The right to self-defense exists. Isn’t that good enough?

              But it is defined by men who write laws.

              I only scored a 94 on the LP Purity Test by the way.

              1. Re: Peter Caca,

                But it is defined by men who write laws.

                No, you have it backwards. What’s defined by law is criminal liability, not the act itself. If you defended your life from a serious and clear threat, then your act was self-defense whether the law says otherwise or not

                1. Nobody addresses his question and WHY he’s mistaken about self defense, Instead we see typical self-righteous posturing. (yawn)

                  This is why libertarians are reviled, even by 91% of libertarians
                  (Cato/Zogby Survey)

                  1. Re: Michael Hihn,

                    Nobody addresses his question and WHY he’s mistaken about self defense

                    What the FUCK are you talking about? *I* addressed why he’s wrong about self-defense! He wants to make a positivist argument and I shot it down just as quickly. Don’t come here and lie in our faces.

                    1. *I* addressed why he’s wrong about self-defense!

                      There you go again ….

                      He wants to make a positivist argument and I shot it down just as quickly.

                      Umm, your attack quoted something else entirely. And your response is laughable

                      No, you have it backwards. What’s defined by law is criminal liability, not the act itself.

                      (laughing too hard to type) Okay. Translation: The law defines a criminal liability for an act which is not a crime..

                      Don’t come here and lie in our faces

                      (lol) GOTCHA!
                      Again.
                      So bully me some more.

              2. I only scored 8%

            2. What does that mean they “come from nature”? One interpretation of that sounds awfully mystical, and I don’t know why an atheist would be OK with it.

              1. Well, it comes down to this: if you don’t believe your rights come from God, and you don’t believe your rights come from the state, your going to have a helluva time explaining just where these rights come from. “Natural rights” is merely a fudge in absence of any authority we’re bound to respect.

                Shorter version: Natural rights is a crock of shit. It’s a subterfuge used by people who want to stake a claim to unalienable rights without having to demonstrate that those rights actually have any foundation in reality outside of their pointy little heads.

                1. It’s a subterfuge used by people who want to stake a claim to unalienable rights without having to demonstrate that those rights actually have any foundation in reality outside of their pointy little heads.

                  But admittedly this is true of ‘God given’ rights as well. Just because you construct an authority figure in your pointy little head that supports your argument doesn’t validate any more than an appeal to ‘natural rights’ does. It’s just the same argument with a shitty appeal to an unfalsifiable authority mixed in.

                  1. But admittedly this is true of ‘God given’ rights as well. Just because you construct an authority figure in your pointy little head that supports your argument doesn’t validate any more than an appeal to ‘natural rights’ does. It’s just the same argument with a shitty appeal to an unfalsifiable authority mixed in.

                    If they’re the same — as they are — then why such a hissy fit?
                    Ummm, what makes “natural rights” an unfalsifiable authority, in your own shiitty (according to you) appeal?
                    And precisely how many angels can dance on a pinhead? On a Friday

                    1. Hey Hihn, shockingly your opinion on what constitutes a ‘hissy fit’ is completely invalid by the fact that, well, pretty much all your posts are just variants of hissy fits.

                    2. Titor, faced with a challenge he cannot respond to with reason … instead spewing hatred and personal attacks. In this one. just above, he was asked to justify an obvious contradiction. He obviously refuses.

                      I called it a hissy fit because he used “your pointy little head” like a child, while using the identical premise he attacked.

                  2. But admittedly this is true of ‘God given’ rights as well. Just because you construct an authority figure in your pointy little head that supports your argument doesn’t validate any more than an appeal to ‘natural rights’ does. It’s just the same argument with a shitty appeal to an unfalsifiable authority mixed in.

                    Indeed it is, but it’s at least an easier sell when living in a society where the authority, however imaginary, is universally acknowledged.

                    But absent god, presumably we could posit that rights are a creation of law, and law of course is the prerogative of the state (or it’s theoretical stand-ins).

                    Unfortunately, given that acknowledging the authority of the state to define rights makes libertarians howl with pain, we’re forced to conclude that rights have no origin, and therefore cannot exist.

                    1. Exactly

                    2. But absent god, presumably we could posit that rights are a creation of law, and law of course is the prerogative of the state (or it’s theoretical stand-ins).

                      Bullshit. There are all manner of things that humans possess that were not granted by the state. Thought itself is a right because it exists independent of the existence of a state. That is what the entire notion of rights is: those things that are an inherent part of the human condition, predating government, civilization, or even formal language.

              2. What does that mean they “come from nature”?

                It means that rights are intrinsic to each individual as a consequence of their humanity. They are therefore universal (applying to each individual equally) and eternal. And those rights are that which you are born with (life and free will) and what you are able to achieve with your those natural rights you are born with (your pursuit of happiness and the property you gain from your efforts).

                1. It means that rights are intrinsic to each individual as a consequence of their humanity.

                  Prove it.

                  1. I would amend this to “-as a consequence of their existence.”. can there be a universe with no one to observe it?

          2. Someone threatening you verbally is not harming you. Now if he threatens you verbally and then pulls a knife or a gun, you certainly have the right to shoot, because he has now moved into initiating force. Verbal interactions are not force. Is that so hard for you to understand?

            As for crimes of passion, I fail to see how they might be self defense. Could you elaborate on this supposed debate?

          3. The right to self defense is certainly a man-made one as evidenced by the legal parameters involved.

            ALL rights are limited. None are absolute. For the simple reason that fundamental rights can conflict or compete with each other. Like
            The right of free speech does not include shouting fire in a crowded theater.
            The conflict between a fetal child and the pregnant woman carrying it, which is NEVER discussed in those terms as both sides are governed by wacky extremes.

            You can’t just kill someone who merely threatens you verbally for instance

            Another example of the Right to Life being applied to real life. At what point does your right infringe on the “attackers” right. Has anyone argued for a right to kill based on verbal threats?

            1. Has anyone argued for a right to kill based on verbal threats?

              Yes, I believe his name was like “Muhammad”.

              1. Yes, I believe his name was like “Muhammad”.

                Umm, why did you respond that to mine? And why your blatant lie about Muhammad?

                Why do you so often post a graphic like that, then lie about what it shows? Are you one of those who sends anonymous hate emails, says “confirmed by snopes” … and post a phony link, because “nobody” ever clicks such links?

                How many others who are suckered by you and repeat you lie are required for your troll to be meaningful? And how can anyone with “Mulatto” in their handle be as big a bigot as the KKK? Best of luck dealing with such hatred.

                1. Your ignorance of the story of ‘Asma’ bint Marwan as related in the hadith of ibn Ishaq is no reflection on me. Perhaps you should actually know of what you speak before you call someone a liar.

                  But then again, that’s why everyone knows you’re a senile crank.

                  1. Your ignorance of the story of ‘Asma’ bin

                    I said you lied about the link you posted here.

                    1. You can’t get out of it through non-sequiturs, Hihn. I have proven that you are ignorant of even the most basic knowledge of Islam. I successfully called you out on your bullshit and, once again, I have exposed you for the stentorian ass you are.

                      I suggest you quit now.

                    2. Totally off the rails? Check the facts. See for yourself.

                      I have proven that you are ignorant of even the most basic knowledge of Islam.

                      You lied about a graphic.

                      I successfully called you out on your bullshit and, once again, I have exposed you for the stentorian ass you are.

                      The only “proof” in you entire assault here. YOUR post, YOUR handle at the top,

                      https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_5187045

                      HE says — look for his handle at the top at the original link above. This is just a paste-in. But click his link

                      Has anyone argued for a right to kill based on verbal threats?

                      Yes, I believe his name was like “Muhammad”.

                      Click HIS link; see HIS lie. A graphic, NOTHING about Muhammed.
                      Now he’s bullying me all down the page, as punishment. (shuddering in fear) On THAT evidence, I submit he is a psychopath, defined as the total absence of guilt

                      This entire thread is about …. SELF-DEFENSE (lol) … in this case from a bully and a thug. (yawn)

                      I suggest you quit now.

                      SELF-DEFENSE, you lying thug,
                      Watch closely we rarely see such a vicious bully in all its glory.

                      Will he continue the bullying and the lies?

                    3. You lied about a graphic.

                      Regardless of the fact that don’t possess the mental ability to move from a literal to metaphorical understanding of a concept, hence you didn’t get the joke, considering that Muhammad is the most popular name in Pakistan, statistically, I didn’t “lie” either.

                      So again, not only as your complete and utter ignorance of Islam be laid bare for all to see, you’ve been exposed for the hysterical, lying, crank that we all know you to be.

                      Do I believe you owe me an apology, Hihn.

                2. Let me remind everyone that Michael Hihn is accusing other people of being bigots and lying after declaring the Jews to be ‘the most barbaric people in world history’ based off his delusional interpretation of ahistorical Biblical myth.

                  1. Let me remind everyone that Michael Hihn is accusing other people of being bigots and lying after declaring the Jews to be ‘the most barbaric people in world history’

                    PLEASE CLICK HIS LINK!

                    I said Jews are the most barbaric people in world history. DARED him to name any other group which committed mass genocide against an entire civilization. That, of course, is the Canaanites. A fact, in a thread about HISTORY in the middle east.

                    But …

                    based off his delusional interpretation of ahistorical Biblical myth.

                    With your own eyes, you see Titor dismissing both the Koran and Old Testament as “delusional myths.” Anti-Semitic AND Anti-Christian? Anything else a myth, John? Creation? Moses? God Himself? Where do you stop?

                    I’d never say such a thing and I’m an atheist. But he calls ME the Bigot, while defending Heroic (sic) Multto’s lies about Islam. This is funnier than Monty Python!

                    1. Hey Hihn, if you’re arguing something is historical, starting backing it up (oh wait, asking for evidence is ‘bullying’ to you). Hmmm, let’s see what we’ve got here. Well pretty much no other culture in the Levant region or any nearby empire (Egyptians, Assyrians, etc.) has any mention of the Jews invading and massacring Canaanites. Genealogical testing does not indicate any population bottleneck in the Canaanite population occurring in the Levant during the supposed time of the Exodus, meaning that there was no massive population decline at the time. Archaeological digs at sites mentioned show that those cities were not suddenly massacred all in the same time frame, in fact the time lines for these sites are hundreds of years apart and most that were still occupied within the time frame of the ‘massacre’ show signs of continued and constant occupation both before and after. Most historians believe that the massacre was a myth largely constructed to explain the large amounts of depopulated or empty cities in the Levant that were the result of the late Bronze Age collapse.

                      Shockingly Hihn, when the archaeological, genealogical and secondary sources disagree with your story, your story probably isn’t true. Now let’s look at your evidence: oh wait, you don’t have any, you just use it to justify your Jew hatred.

                    2. John, you can supply all the evidence you want, and Hihn will just plug his ears, shout “la-la-la”, and then accuse you of “lying”. My daughter argues in a more mature manner, and she’s 8.

                    3. Titor continues his anti-Semitic rant.
                      Somehow. Jews took over Canaan without killing any Canaanites.
                      I accept the same gospel as Jews do. Titor says the Jews are lying. But I;m the one who hates Jews.

                      Meanwhile, his lies are fully documented just above his latest rant.

                    4. They weren’t Jews, but Hebrews. Jew comes from Judea and refers to those who returned from Babylonian/Persian captivity.

                    5. Heroic (sic) Multto’s lies about Islam

                      Are you saying the assassinations of ‘Asma’ bint Marwan and Abu ‘Afak weren’t related in the Sirat Rasul Allah, as well as similar episodes related in the Sunnah and ‘ahadith?

                      Or is quoting Islam’s only holy texts “lying”?

                      You owe me a written apology for your slander, Hihn.

                    6. Are you saying the assassinations of ‘Asma’ bint Marwan and Abu ‘Afak weren’t related in the Sirat Rasul Allah, as well as similar episodes related in the Sunnah and ‘ahadith?

                      Umm, I’ve said, repeatedly that you lied here. By lying rather blatantly about the link you posted there. Anyone can click your link and confirm both the lie and how blatant it is.

                      Or click your lnk here and see that if it has nothing to do with Muhammed.

                      Or just see you bullying me all down the page, as punishment for urging people to …. visit YOUR link. Do you NOT want people to click YOUR link?
                      Umm, why did you post it?

                3. I’m also sure that such a great Islamic scholar, such yourself, Effendi Hihn knows the relation between ‘Asma and Abu ‘Afak. I’m sure you can explain it within the first minute I submit this post, as it is a one sentence answer and I’m sure you won’t require Google find this information, due to the depth of your knowledge of the Sunnah and ‘Ahadith.

                  1. Leave him alone HM, he’s on dial-up. He totally knows that without googling it.

                  2. This is how bullies and thugs operate. Don’t let them intimidate you

                    Heroic Mulatto|3.27.15 @ 6:57PM
                    I’m also sure that such a great Islamic scholar, such yourself, Effendi Hihn

                    Umm, I said you lied about the graphic you posted
                    here

                    To save time, this is his exact lie at THAT link:

                    Has anyone argued for a right to kill based on verbal threats?

                    Yes, I believe his name was like “Muhammad”.

                    Simply click HIS link to see HIS lie.
                    Now he’s bullying me all down the page, as punishment. (shuddering in fear) On THAT evidence, I submit he is a psychopath, defined as the total absence of guilt,

                    I freely admit also saying this to him in my original call out:

                    Are you one of those who sends anonymous hate emails, says “confirmed by snopes” … and post a phony link, because “nobody” ever clicks such links?
                    How many others who are suckered by you and repeat your lie are required for your troll to be meaningful? And how can anyone with “Mulatto” in their handle be as big a bigot as the KKK? Best of luck dealing with such hatred.

                    1. I love how expecting you to actually support your argument is you being ‘bullied’. You really think that such sad emotional whining is some kind of substantial criticism of HM? Don’t ever change Hihn, you delusional fool.

                    2. You really think that such sad emotional whining is some kind of substantial criticism of HM?

                      You can just see the flecks of spittle and the hot tears of impotent rage in every post he submits, can’t you?

                      I hope you are as entertained by his unwarranted sense of martyrdom as I am, Mr. Titor.

                    3. Honestly the only reason why I talk to Hihn now is to kick the hornet’s nest. He’s just this brilliant mix of arrogance and insanity.

                    4. I know…it’s like wiggling a loose tooth. You shouldn’t do it, but you do.

                    5. Zero links = blowhard

                      This link docments Cowardly Mulatto’s lie.

                      There, he claims a link shows Muhammed endorse killing somebody for verbal abuse. Clink THAT link. Simple enough?

                      Now see him assaulting me all down the page, for PROVING his lie.
                      I link to proof. The bullies … nothing. But over a dozen attacks.
                      Don’t you DARE talk back to a thug.

                    6. Simply click HIS link to see HIS lie.

                      I get it now; you have autism.

                      Again, like your ignorance of the basic facts of Muhammad’s life, that’s not my problem.

                    7. Isn’t repeating one’s self one of the symptoms of senile dementia?

                4. “And why your blatant lie about Muhammad?”

                  Actually, that is not a lie, it is completely factual. That does not make one a bigot. If he said that all followers of Islam kill people who offend them verbally, THAT would be bigoted.

                  “Methinks thou doth protestith too much”

            2. fundamental rights can conflict or compete with each other.

              One of the first principles of classical liberalism and it’s lovechild libertarianism is that rights cannot, in fact, conflict. If they do, then one of them isn’t actually a “right”. That’s the basis of classical liberalism and libertarianism’s rejection of positive rights. But then I doubt if you actually have any idea what the difference is between positive and negative rights. Not that it would probably help much at this stage of your life, but if you’re interested in learning about those fundamental concepts, this is a pretty good place to start.

              1. Looks like they moved the document. Use this instead.

          4. Re: Peter Caca,

            The right to self defense is certainly a man-made one as evidenced by the legal parameters involved.

            Idiocy means never having to say “I’m sorry for begging the question.”

            Self-defense is an act and a right of every human. Whatever YOU think the law says is IMMATERIAL and IRRELEVANT.

            1. Idiocy means never having to say “I’m sorry for begging the question.”

              Or lying about what others say, when your lie is visible to all neutral observers.
              We all await your defense of killing someone over a verbal threat. The clock started ticking at 6:33 pm ….

              1. Re: Michael Hihn,

                ALL rights are limited.

                No, they’re not. Implicit in your right to life is your non-right to take a life. Implicit in another person’s non-right to take your life is your right to life. So is for your property and your liberty. There is no intellectual need to state or define limits in your rights as there are no limits. The limits pertain to your NON-rights.

                The right of free speech does not include shouting fire in a crowded theater.

                Why not? You are simply assuming people will invariably act in a certain way when someone yells “Fire!” in a crowded theater but what if people don’t? Why should YOUR assumption preclude a person from yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater?

                The conflict between a fetal child and the pregnant woman carrying it, which is NEVER discussed in those terms as both sides are governed by wacky extremes.

                I don’t understand. Of what conflict do you speak?

                We all await your defense of killing someone over a verbal threat.

                A verbal threat is not an act of aggression. An act of aggression is a physical action, not a verbal one. You would do better understanding the difference between the two and the reason why the Non Aggression Principle only talks of physical threats, not verbal ones.

                1. Previous got away from me. Should be

                  Michael Hihn|3.27.15 @ 6:33PM
                  Idiocy means never having to say “I’m sorry for begging the question.”
                  Or lying about what others say, when your lie is visible to all neutral observers.

                  Now he does EXACTLY what I said! Lies … with the truth still visible!!

                  OldMexican|3.27.15 @ 6:58PM|#
                  Re: Michael Hihn,
                  ALL rights are limited.

                  WHAT I REALLY SAID:
                  ALL rights are limited. None are absolute. For the simple reason that fundamental rights can conflict or compete with each other. Like
                  The right of free speech does not include shouting fire in a crowded theater.

                  No, they’re not.

                  Old Mexico denies Supreme Court Rulings on conflicting rights!
                  Thus believes we have a free speech right to yell fire in a crowded theater
                  His right to swing his fist DOES NOT end at the tip of my nose.

                  Implicit in your right to life is your non-right to take a life ….

                  yada yada yada, has nothing to do with conflicting rights.
                  I’ve corrected your lie. Moving on
                  Oh wait!

                  the reason why the Non Aggression Principle only talks of physical threats, not verbal ones

                  I never said otherwise. buh-bye

    2. Dream the impossible dream?

    3. Kill everyone else before they kill you.

  4. “well then He’s my co-pilot as well”

    *Might* want to rephrase that, David.

    1. This atheist knows exactly what he meant.
      Don’t assume a single co-pilot. And teaching the Sermon on the Mount to the puppets of Rick Santorum MIGHT influence many, depending on where their true loyalty lies.

  5. Let’s look at it this way – when a country stops even *pretending* to be guided by the idea of God and God-given rights, what happens? When a country decides that “God” simply describes some version of National Destiny, what happens?

    1. Civilization declines like the Roman Empire did?

    2. That is, when a country decides it’s not “under God,” but *is* God.

      1. No, the country as a whole remains a servile mass of peasants. It’s only the most corrupt and vile politicians who become god.

        But as we’ve seen recently, sometimes they fall from the sky. Buh bye Harry Reid.

    3. when a country stops even *pretending* to be guided by the idea of God and God-given rights, what happens?

      What happens when the “pretending” violates the Constitution? The founders were VERY clear on that, despite the claims of Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Michelle Bachmann, Pat Robertson and their ilk.

  6. “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away”

    No thanks.

    1. Then, how about “The street giveth, and the street taketh away”?

      1. The right hand taketh, and the left hand taketh from the other pocket — every statist ever born.

  7. Sounds good to me. We would be a lot better off if more politicians thought they would be on the receiving end of some divine retribution if they violated the constitution.

  8. When Cruz first hit the national scene as the newly elected Senator from Texas, I questioned his credentials a lot and said I don’t trust him too much and that he comes off as way too SoCon for one thing, I got pounced on pretty good around here. Now, it seems that I can say anything I want about the guy and no one comes to his defense…

    1. Cruz is very smart. And this is coming from someone who thinks most conservatives are stupid. I think his act is completely fabricated. My best guess is that he is completely craven.

      1. I see you recognize your own kind.

    2. Ron Paul brought a lot of extreme socons into the movement, by blatantly pandering to them.

      1. Not really. He just failed to kick them out.

        1. Hihn
          Ron Paul brought a lot of extreme socons into the movement, by blatantly pandering to them.

          CE|3.27.15 @ 6:28PM|#
          Not really. He just failed to kick them out.

          He even trains them. If you google “pander definition” (no quotes) you’ll learn what it means

          1) Tried to forbid homosexuals from defending their constitutional rights — the worst abuse of individual liberty since the Japanese Internment.

          2) Claims it was “rogue judges” who overturned the FEDERAL restrictions in DOMA — again abusing rights — using the identical bullshit federalism that Orval Faubus used in 1957 to keep uppity negroes in their place.

          3) Panders to the very wackiest of the wacky socons by claiming “separation” does not appear in the constitution — as if it had to — nor in the writings of any founder — perhaps the lie of the century.

          4) Lies about the constitution, giving an excuse to violate individual rights first used by southern racists.

      2. Re: Michael Hihn,

        Ron Paul brought a lot of extreme socons into the movement, by blatantly pandering to them.

        Don’t tell me: by quoting Mises. Right?

        Idiot.

        1. Ron Paul brought a lot of extreme socons into the movement, by blatantly pandering to them

          .

          Don’t tell me: by quoting Mises. Right?

          OH GOODIE, MY VERY OWN STALKER.

          1) Tried to forbid homosexuals from defending their constitutional rights — the worst abuse of individual liberty since the Japanese Internment.

          2) Claims it was “rogue judges” who overturned the FEDERAL restrictions in DOMA — again abusing rights — using the identical bullshit federalism that Orval Faubus used in 1957 to keep uppity negroes in their place.

          3) Panders to the very wackiest of the wacky socons by claiming “separation” does not appear in the constitution — as if it had to — nor in the writings of any founder — perhaps the lie of the century.

          4) Lies about the constitution, giving an excuse to violate individual rights first used by southern racists.

          Idiot.

          Are YOU quoting Mises?

  9. I disagree. Pretending that our rights comes from God is a cheap way of avoiding discussion of the moral underpinning of our rights in a just society.

    It’s much more persuasive to argue that our rights come from a coherent moral framework for how human beings ought to live together than that they come from a ficticious sky-father.

    1. I disagree. Pretending that our rights comes from God is a cheap way of avoiding discussion of the moral underpinning of our rights in a just society.

      It’s much more persuasive to argue that our rights come from a coherent moral framework for how human beings ought to live together than that they come from a ficticious sky-father.

      Agree, but it isn’t even necessary to argue over a priori moral underpinnings for a society. Socially harmonious moral conventions would emerge anyway from a market society.

      1. Well, in order to get to a market society, you have to have certain moral and legal underpinnings. Including things like private property rights, the rule of law, equal justice, freedom of contract, freedom of association.

        In a pure anarchy, some warlord would quickly set himself up as dictator and you would have a command economy.

    2. It’s much more persuasive to argue that our rights come from a coherent moral framework for how human beings ought to live together than that they come from a ficticious sky-father.

      Loverly. Now explain why anyone else is bound to respect any right derived from your particular moral framework. Moral frameworks are a dime a dozen, and “Cuz I believe it!” isn’t a particularly compelling argument.

      1. They are morally bound to respect any rights they claim for themselves, otherwise nobody else need extend them the courtesy of respecting the rights they claim. It is only possible to live peacefully with others if you agree to respect them as equals.

        1. They are morally bound to respect any rights they claim for themselves,

          Exactly, why?

          otherwise nobody else need extend them the courtesy of respecting the rights they claim.

          Rather irrelevant if they’re packing the bigger gun.

          It is only possible to live peacefully with others if you agree to respect them as equals.

          I disagree. Terrorizing others into submission is a perfectly viable alternative for living in peace. In fact, there are entire countries running on that proposition (see N. Korea for an extreme example).

          1. Well, terrorizing others into submission isn’t exactly peaceful.

            Now we’re coming to the eternal quandry that has plagued absolute rulers since the beginning of time: The fact that if you rule by force, you must always live in fear of the day that one of your subjects overthrows you. And the fact that being in that position ultimately makes you less free.

            One is more free, and likely to live longer, if one can live in peaceful cooperation with others, relying on mutual respect and self-interest to guide other people to choose to also live in peaceful cooperation, rather than relying on violence.

    3. It’s much more persuasive to argue that our rights come from a coherent moral framework for how human beings ought to live together than that they come from a ficticious sky-father.

      The irony is that I find there to be more commonality between the “rights as moral framework” and “rights come from God” than there is between “our rights come from God” and “our rights come from nature.”

      The person who believes rights are handed out by God believes that God acts with a coherent moral framework. I.E., we have a right to life because God says killing another person is bad, we have a right to liberty because God gave us free will.

      As an atheist natural law theorist, I believe people have a right to life, liberty, and the fruits of their labor as a consequence of their self-ownership because those are intrinsic parts of their very humanity. This may sound borderline sociopathic (but I’m not a sociopath, I was tested in yesterday’s PM Links thread), but there are plenty of people that I think are unworthy of the blessings life because they’re just assholes. But those people have RIGHT to life. They don’t deserve life, and if they should be struck down by an almighty lightning bolt, I’ll consider it a net benefit to the world. But I believe they have a right to life and I will fight for the preservation and protection of that right, no matter how big an asshole they are.

      1. This may sound borderline sociopathic (but I’m not a sociopath, I was tested in yesterday’s PM Links thread), but there are plenty of people that I think are unworthy of the blessings life because they’re just assholes.

        Isn’t that the opposite of sociopathy? A sociopath wouldn’t care whether assholes lived or died, just what utility that particular asshole has for the sociopath. Believing that ‘some folk jus’ need killin” is sign of a working moral conscious if you ask me .

        1. My detective stepfather imparted in me a moral code because he could see that I had a burgeoning sociopath inside me that was going to lust for blood as a consequence of the traumatic death of my mother in a shipping container in Miami.

      2. When I’m talking about a coherent moral framework, I’m talking about one that is derived rationally, from intuition and experience.

        Humans are born with certain basic moral intuitions. But those intuitions aren’t always consistent or easy to interpret. Over time, over centuries of process, we’ve reasoned our way through these conflicts and arrived at a better and better understanding of what that moral framework ought to be. “Rights” are derived from our current best understanding of morality. They aren’t coming from god, and they aren’t coming from nature, they are coming from human reason.

        1. Over time very few people in the world have intuited your moral framework so it can’t be very intuitive. At the base level morals, even natural rights posit that there is a correct manner of acting, and that you should act that way even when it’s not in your own interest. In order to get people to buy that moral code you need one hell of a sales pitch. Frankly, I doubt you have it, but if you fo then great. But thus far in the world the God given natural rights has covered a lot more ground than any other pitch, and it’s not even close. So I don’t get the bitching about whether natural rights come from God, the tooth fairy, or anywhere else. It’s a case of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Running off religion, which originated libertarian though before libertarians existed is a mistake.

          1. If you rely on God as your explanation for the source of natural rights, then ultimately anyone can point at some line in the bible and say ‘See, God says people don’t have the right to do X’. And you’ll have no answer for them.

            And there is already a vast libertarian literature that derives these ideas from human intuitions and economics and moral theory, so there is really no good reason to resort to saying they come from God anyway.

            And you’re not going to convince anyone who isn’t religious that way, or anyone left of center. And you’ll leave the playing field entirely abandoned to leftists who ate least can come up with a theory that doesn’t resort to imaginary supernatual beings.

            1. Like I said, I don’t care how you came to the idea. I’m saying wherever it’s derived from it should be embraced because the difference is just academic.

    4. I disagree. Pretending that our rights comes from God is a cheap way of avoiding discussion of the moral underpinning of our rights in a just society

      I’m an atheist, but I’ll assume you have no competence in dealing with the God argument.
      Common among your type. Just as self-righteous as Santorum.

    5. It’s much more persuasive

      To who?

      to argue that our rights come from a coherent moral framework for how human beings ought to live together than that they come from a ficticious sky-father.

      Show of hands. Anyone believe she is “persuasive” to Christians … by insulting them?
      Besides “where rights come from” is an issue only for bloviating windy blowhards. It’s simply not relevant for libertarians to advance. Like debating angels and pinheads.

      1. I actually don’t care if I persuade people who believe in an imaginary sky-father or not.

        I’m much more interested in persuading people who are rational and scientific.

        1. You should be much more interested in persuading many people than persuading people for the “right” reasons. As has been stated, rights are not much better than those willing to fight for them. Or might wins. You need numbers, and frankly the argument that they come from intuition isn’t any better than God. Alienating the base that ultimately invented the concept will lead to less rights in real life.

  10. There is no such thing as Natural Rights. You have the rights you are willing to fight for. That’s what our forefathers did. That’s what we need to be prepared to do If we want to keep them.

    1. There’s no such thing as natural rights, but there are principles that society ought to follow in order to be a just society. And one of those is that people shouldn’t have to fight to be treated as something other than a slave. Only a society founded upon treating everyone as self-owning autonomous equals can ever be a just society.

      1. I think we all agree with that. We should feel free to claim as many rights as we want as long as they don’t violate the rights of others.

        1. Yes, but all rights should be equal for everyone, regardless of whether they are strong or weak.I can’t claim right X, unless I also agree that everyone else also has that right.

          1. Exactly

      2. This is why libertarians are so often ridiculed

        There’s no such thing as natural rights,

        Which leaves her with “magical” rights …. logically no different from the “fictitious sky father” she ridicules.

        but there are principles that society ought to follow in order to be a just society.

        Why?
        And why should we want a just society?

        1. They aren’t magical at all. They are rationally and emphirically derived principles.
          They may be human inventions, but they are not arbitrary, because they are constrained by reality, in the form of human nature and economic scarcity.

          1. Human nature has not supported rights except for s small group for a small period of time.

    2. Several Supreme Court rulings kinda demolish your implication that “fighting” for our rights requires armed action.

      And the rights too many libertarians would take up arms to defend would leave them dead in a nanosecond. They would be the ones who sneer at any thought of being elected and governing, who we wouldn’t miss.. Persuasion requires more than shouting platitudes.

      1. Supreme Court rulings don’t demolish anything. The Supreme Court justices aren’t gods or super intelligent beings and they can be and have been wrong. Sure, they ruled that separate but equal wasn’t allowed, but before that they said it was perfectly fine. While we’re at it, I don’t think the original poster said “fighting” automatically equals armed action.

        Which rights are you referring to in your second paragraph? I’m pretty sure libertarians in the main would be able to take care of themselves in a society that respected life, liberty, and property. I think the one shouting platitudes here is you.

        1. Contrarian P|3.27.15 @ 6:02PM|#
          Supreme Court rulings don’t demolish anything. The Supreme Court justices aren’t gods or super intelligent beings and they can be and have been wrong.

          (laughing) The rulings demolish the argument that the only way to defend our rights is by armed conflicts.

          Are you saying Supreme Court hearings are like a scene from “Gunfight at the OK corral?”
          I have it on good authority that they are limited to arm wrestling.

          1. How exactly do they demolish that idea? Assumes facts not in evidence.

            1. And again, the original poster never said violence was the only way to defend rights, so your point is moot in any event.

      2. It still comes down to power and yes the ability to persuade whether it be by gun, heart, or brain is what yields power. If your power to maintain your rights is not greater than the power of those who want to take them away than guess whats going to happen to your rights? And while arms (not god) is what gave us our rights, people had to first be persuaded to take up those arms. I’m not an anarchist because I consider that situation unsustainable because power abhors a vacuum. I just want it to be as limited as possible.

      3. Re: Michael Hihn,

        Several Supreme Court rulings kinda demolish your implication that “fighting” for our rights requires armed action.

        Because the Supreme Court must be populated by omnipotent beings.

        It’s a sad day when your ridiculous statement passes for thinking among some. Verily I tell you, the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Seistem Dat Teeches Kidz To Red an Writ has achieved its true purpose: Make everybody dumb as fuck.

        1. Several Supreme Court rulings kinda demolish your implication that “fighting” for our rights requires armed action.

          Because the Supreme Court must be populated by omnipotent beings.

          Read it again. BECAUSE we can defend our rights in the Court, which ,,,, keep reading …,

          kinda demolish your implication that “fighting” for our rights requires armed action.

          You people crack me up! I also said:

          And the rights too many libertarians would take up arms to defend would leave them dead in a nanosecond. They would be the ones who sneer at any thought of being elected and governing, who we wouldn’t miss.. Persuasion requires more than shouting platitudes.

          If you can’t handle that, find a desert island for you and your fellow dictators.
          See, you assholes sneer at getting elected and governing — so we are forever a tiny minority. Then you go bat-shit crazy, pound your chests and talk about armed revolt … but you STILL never found anyone to support you. So you’re not only stupid, you;re DEAD.

          In your fogged minds, you can never see that you are supporting an armed dictatorship.

          1. If there’s anything fogged here, it’s your glasses. I’d suggest wiping them off and trying for reading comprehension.

            1. Contrarian
              If there’s anything fogged here, it’s your glasses. I’d suggest wiping them off and trying for reading comprehension.

              Any examples? I just finished ridiculing YOUR reading comprehension here.

              https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_5187712

              So I assume this is your same fuckup.

              1. What you just finished doing was skirting the argument while failing to address it. After reviewing your posts here, I must agree with the other posters that you don’t really seem worth engaging. Your posts are pretty much exercises in assumption of facts not in evidence, as well as poor comprehension. As for an example, see the post I responded to above. Your paragraph was a bunch of drivel which completely misrepresents the arguments that others were making. You didn’t even really demolish the strawman, more’s the pity.

                I haven’t seen libertarians who are ranting against getting elected or governing. There are some anarchists around, but the two aren’t the same thing. Libertarians are fine with holding elected office, but want the powers of that office to be highly limited. It’s pretty damn hard to be a dictator when you have virtually no power. How in the world are libertarians supporting a dictatorship? I’m pretty sure you should go argue with the libertarians in your mind instead of the ones on this board. Maybe you’d have more success.

      4. Persuasion requires more than shouting platitudes.

        Wow. Just… wow. The level of self-delusion required for you, of all people, to manage to type this between 50 posts of copy-pasting the same monologue of bullshit platitudes that you copy-paste into literally every discussion thread in which you “participate” (using the term loosely) is staggering. It’s enough to make one hope you really are senile.

    3. Re: AlmigthyJB,

      There is no such thing as Natural Rights. You have the rights you are willing to fight for.

      Why would you fight for them if you don’t consider them to be right, or the natural thing to exist?

      Whatever happens to you guys from one day to another that you lose your ability to reason? Is it the mezcal?

      1. “Why would you fight for them”

        Because I want them for myself and my children and their children.

        What in you opinion makes them “natural”? I’m guessing we probably both agree on most of these rights that we agree should be universal. I just don’t view them as coming from some external or gnostic source.

        1. I would call them natural if they exist without someone to take them away. Free speech exists on a deserted island, free health care does not. Practically speaking you have to fight for everything, but if rights are merely what we are willing or able to fight for then I can shoot you in the head and take your shit and there’s nothing wrong with that.

          1. I actually kind of like that answer. Also, why Mr. Anderson? Why?

      2. Hmmm… It’s a coin flip. Mezcal or tequila.

  11. I think pretending ANY set of laws is god-given (and thus infallible and can never be changed) is a formula for disaster. We already have far too many people in the US and around the world who claim to know what (their) god wants, and who their god wants killed.

    1. If anyone wants to make a case that any law is in violation of any right they are making a case that there is a correct answer that supersedes even the majority. That leaves you with arguing your opinion is correct, which isn’t persuasive, or appealing to God or nature which are both mystical in morality terms. I don’t really care which case anyone makes, and I don’t know why anyone would care.

      If you make any natural rights case you’ve already entered the metaphysical and left behind evidence so I see little difference anyway.

  12. Is it Unhinged Troll Friday?

    1. When do you and John not troll?

    2. Yeah, 8% still acts the same, Hihn is…wow, I can’t come up with a proper descriptor and Bo is still off the rails.

  13. I don’t think that you need God to believe that rights are inherent. To say the we don’t all have same rights is to argue that some have some rights over others, which is not defensible from any angle. To say that you don’t have certain rights is to argue that others have additional rights over you and I don’t know how anyone can make that argument honestly.

    1. You missed a very obvious conclusion: nobody has any inherent rights.

      1. DING! DING! DING! DING! DING!

        We have a winner!

        That’s what I love about libertarians: it’s fun to watch the disconnect between their insistence of their possession of rights, while simultaneously trying to avoid acknowledging the legitimacy of any authority capable of bestowing such rights.

        No church, no state, no rights.

        1. Bullshit. It’s easy: do you own yourself? If the answer is yes, then the answers unfold easily enough from there.

          If the answer is no, then who else owns you?

          1. “If the answer is no, then who else owns you?”

            Why can’t it be nobody?

          2. Bullshit. It’s easy: do you own yourself? If the answer is yes, then the answers unfold easily enough from there.

            If the answer is no, then who else owns you?

            Question: How do you know who owns you? Do you have a title or a deed to indicates who owns you? How would you, or you’re third party owner, defend your claim to ownership? An assertion is not a proof.

        2. Eh, you’ve taken it a bit too far.

          We can construct “rights” and even forms of “equality” but only within an artificial legal framework.

          Many libertarians, usually of the contractarian, consequentialist, or even egoist bent do this frequently. You find it in some far-right and even conservative thinkers as well.

          Put simply: arms, therefore rights.

        3. Okay, if you argue that no one naturally have rights, you have to argue that no one naturally has the right to authority over anyone else and where does that leave you? Rights do not have to be bestowed to exist, unless you want to be pedantic about the meaning of the word “rights”.

      2. Re: Tak Kak,

        You missed a very obvious conclusion: nobody has any inherent rights.

        That’s right. For instance, the fingers you used to type those very words are not yours.

        Idiot.

        1. “That’s right. For instance, the fingers you used to type those very words are not yours”

          It’s a long, pot-hole filled road from me controlling my fingers currently to self ownership to inherent rights.

          Hoppe made the best try, but even he still failed. Do you know of a better one?

          (And I think Hoppe is one of the greatest thinkers of the past 30 years )

          1. Re: Tak Kak,

            It’s a long, pot-hole filled road from me controlling my fingers currently to self ownership to inherent rights.

            Just because it is unfathomable to you does not mean your mind did not use your instrument (your body) to freely express your thoughts in the machine.

            Your right to that act is implied. It means you have a mind. Your right to act (liberty) is inherent.

            1. Just because it is unfathomable to you does not mean your mind did not use your instrument (your body) to freely express your thoughts in the machine.

              Even if it does, it doesn’t imply rights.

  14. I’d be much happier if we returned to an understanding that the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties (it constrains the power of the federal government, it does not provide substantive rights), and that it applies solely to the federal government with narrow exceptions.

    A shout out to the Commerce Clause only appropriately allowing the federal government to adopt or remove trade barriers would be icing on the cake.

  15. IMO, people who believe that our rights come from god haven’t and don’t always do such a smashing job of defending everyone’s rights. If it were so, we never would have had alcohol prohibition or the WOD. Gambling would never have been outlawed. Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” would have been slamming vice laws and championing the rights of prostitutes and their customers. And Southern Baptists would never have existed because they never would have started their own denomination in defense of chattel slavery.

    Many Christian conservatives insist that no one has a right to sin even if a particular sin doesn’t violate anyone’s rights. It’s this attitude that’s made it so hard to get them over their love of vice laws. Essentially the message from American Christians to the rest of the country is this: Don’t believe in God, that’s your right. But if you decide to live your life outside of Christian norms, we’ll see to it that you’re punished for your sins.

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a conservative say or write that liberty wasn’t meant to condone libertinism, let’s just say I’d have a quite few more dollars in my pocket. Although I must admit that as the older conservatives die off, those that follow appear to demonstrate a live-and-let-live attitude much more so as compared to most conservatives of the past 60-70 years. (Mea culpa, I was a social conservative back in the 70’s though much of the 90’s.)

    1. cont.

      I don’t have an issue with using the term “natural rights”. They aren’t dependent on the existence of a supernatural agency. I’m also more comfortable with saying that our rights come from our “Creator” because “Creator” could mean a deity with agency or “Creator” could mean that we and our rights are a product of natural processes that worked without any supernatural agency behind our existence. It’s non-specific, unlike directly invoking the god of the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

      People have rights, governments have powers. The just powers of the government spring from the rights of the people. If my actions toward another human violates their natural rights, then granting the government the power to violate their rights in the same manner is an illegitimate power, even if a majority supports it. OTOH, if my use of force against another human is morally justified, that can be delegated to the government as a just power of the government. That’s how I learned it and it seems wise to me.

      1. Nobody has done a smashing job of defending rights but certainly the closest arguments were developed in the west, and the Constitution was the best example of a government recognizing rights. And all those arguments were made using God. Whether you believe that or not it seems like a bad idea to toss the entire origin and tradition in the waste basket in hopes the world will latch on to some incoherent appeal to secular natural rights. At worst with God given rights you have an ally that only agrees on 99% of your points. It would also be much easier to convince a Christian to follow the long history of natural rights philosophy than to stop believing in God and hopefully buy a secular rights explanation.

    2. IMO, people who believe that our rights come from god haven’t and don’t always do such a smashing job of defending everyone’s rights.

      What rights? Prove you got ’em. Without reference to either church or state, if you please.

  16. The Constitution doesn’t grant us any rights. It grants the federal government a limited charter to do certain things, and only those things.

    1. And the attached Bill of Rights does not grant rights either. It places limits on the government’s exercise of power to prevent it from infringing upon rights that are considered inalienable and self-evident.

  17. People are obsessed with beginnings and endings. I think it has something to do with the fact that we are born and eventually we die, so we think that must be the case with everything else. But why must everything come from something? Why can’t some things simply exist? Take the universe for example, and the matter and energy that comprises it. Why must it have come from something? Why couldn’t it have always existed? Why is it easier to believe that an invisible man (who always existed) created it and will eventually destroy it? Why is it easier to believe that an invisible man always existed, as opposed to believing that that which we can see and touch always existed?

    Same thing with rights. Why must our right to act without interfering with others come from something? Why can’t it simply exist? Why must our right to protect ourselves come from government or an invisible man? Why can’t it just be a condition of being alive?

    I don’t get it.

    1. This, I like the cut of your jib, and would like to subscribe to any/all newsletters you might publish.

    2. All jokes aside, terrans are, at base, creatures that depend on reason to interact with the world around them. “It just is” isn’t reason, it’s a simple unsupportable statement, so it rubs a lot of people the wrong way. It sounds like something your parents would say to shut down debate.

      I personally go with self-ownership. I don’t believe in anything supernatural (what really baffles me is how some people can in the same breath talk about how demons are totally real but fairies are obviously fake – it’s all just supernatural mumbo-jumbo to me). But what I can say, is that barring rare extreme genetic issues, humans are born in control of themselves. No other entity, at the time of your birth, has control of your mind. Therefore you own yourself, therefore any activity which infringes upon that is wrong (and of course the same goes for you infringing upon others).

      Boom, there’s your moral framework right there, nothing supernatural needed.

      1. I agree that the principle of self-ownership (and by extension that others own themselves) is a great premise for natural rights.

      2. You are born with your parents your master, as you grow older those that have accomplished more are your masters- boom there’s your moral framework for no natural rights. Or there’s a thousand others. You are never going to prove natural rights with evidence, and the logic will always be subjective. I’ll take any argument I can get for them.

        1. I get where you’d get the parents part from, but where the fuck is “those that have accomplished more” coming from? Someone accomplishing more than me does not give them the power to control my actions, therefore, they do not own me.

          1. I say it does, prove me wrong.

            1. I agree. There is quite a lot of the human psyche that doesn’t lend itself to logic or reason. Rationalists (of which I am one, according to the MBTI) have trouble with this and tend to swing too far toward the literal when human nature falls outside their logic.

    3. Also, saying, “It’s just that way, it always has been and always will be” might get you laid at church camp, but my philosophy can get me some freaky philosophy major ass. Nothing like a young woman first exploring her place in the wider world of college, getting exposed to new ideas…in the bedroom…

      1. I don’t see how what I said contradicts or conflicts with your philosophy.

        1. It doesn’t. I just had to shoe-horn in the obligatory “haha let’s make sexist jokes and not take anything too seriously” post.

    4. Why must our right to act without interfering with others come from something? Why can’t it simply exist?

      I suppose it could, in the same way ghosts and the tooth fairy could exist.

      Of course, I’ve not seen any evidence that any of the above actually do exist.

    5. So your answer is the universe is magic, follows no rational rules we can observe, and this answer is logical and those that don’t see it are “obsessed” with beginnings and endings. That’s completely retarded, your merely an uncurious person who is satisfied with a simplistic answer without evidence if you are satisfied with that explanation.

      1. It is magic to say *poof* or *bang* something came from nothing. If something does not come from nothing, and matter and energy are interchangeable, then perhaps the matter and energy that comprises the universe always existed in some shape or form. Matter and energy cannot be destroyed. There can be no end. If there can be no end, how can there be a beginning?

        1. Great question, it’s a mystery.

        2. Entropy.

          There are no known processes that can produce the hot, dense initial state of the universe, and since all of the evidence points to a hyperbolic expansion, we can rule out the Big Crunch for now. So that leaves you with a beginning and what appears to be a very cold, very dark end. Without a mechanism for recycling the universe that poses a problem for any variant of Steady State.

          Solve that and we’ll talk.

  18. I am convinced of the truth of natural rights from the starting position of the Declaration-that all men are created equal. They, all people, start from a position of equality, none either born to rule or to be ruled. It seems a stable position, like a marble in a bowl. We can strip all the things that people want to do to each other until only a few are left- that each may act as he wishes, given that others may do the same. Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. This is not the maximum needed for human flourishing, but the minimum to keep all equal, the maximum that we can demand from everyone. All else is over and above this. The difference is that statists believe that it can be demanded by the law that everyone be a good person, whatever that could mean. I can rightfully expect of you only that you do not harm others. More than that, you are going to discover and accomplish, by your own lights.

    1. “I am convinced of the truth of natural rights from the starting position of the Declaration-that all men are created equal.”

      Is there any evidence that men are equal?

      1. Re: Tak Kak,

        Is there any evidence that men are equal?

        We’re equal in that we are given life and liberty at the moment we are born. If you say this isn’t true, then you would have to concede that either you are NOT born with liberty and life (a perfunctory contradiction) or that someone else is not born with liberty or life, which in that case that someone is not and cannot be human.

        1. We’re equal in that we are given life and liberty at the moment we are born.

          I’d like to see the proof of that statement. Life I’ll give you. But I’ve no reason to believe life and liberty are a package deal.

          If you say this isn’t true, then you would have to concede that either you are NOT born with liberty and life (a perfunctory contradiction) or that someone else is not born with liberty or life, which in that case that someone is not and cannot be human.

          Huh?

          1. Re: The Bad Captain Mandy,

            I’d like to see the proof of that statement. Life I’ll give you. But I’ve no reason to believe life and liberty are a package deal.

            No? So who wrote the above statement? A machine?

            You have the capacity to make decisions, to act with a purpose. No other being is capable of that. You are BORN with that capability, therefore you are born with liberty.

            Huh?

            Fancy retort.

            If you deny the truth of equal rights for all humans (men and women) you are conceding either of these things: You’re human and the rest are NOT. Or, you’re NOT human like the rest of us. Or, the beings populating the earth who call themselves human are instead different beings from different planets, each with a different capacity to think and act.

            Or maybe you’re not really thinking and instead you want to believe men are not equal in their rights. I can’t do anything about your delusion.

            1. No? So who wrote the above statement? A machine?

              How do you know I’m not posting from prison? You’re asserting that because I can write I’m by definition free? If that is the case, I see no rational reason for libertarians to exist, unless it’s to promote literacy programs.

              If you deny the truth of equal rights for all humans (men and women) you are conceding either of these things: You’re human and the rest are NOT. Or, you’re NOT human like the rest of us. Or, the beings populating the earth who call themselves human are instead different beings from different planets, each with a different capacity to think and act.

              How do you know humans have equal rights? To the best of my recollection, the assumption for most of civilization has been otherwise.

              Now, one assumption may be as good as another, but I’ve no reason to believe your assumption over any other. Throughout most of human history most people wouldn’t have batted an eye over the proposition that kings had devine rights, whereas slaves did not. For the most part, I don’t think those people would have regarded kings or slaves as different species or extraterrestrials. Your assertion holds exactly no water.

              1. Re:The Bad Captain Madly,

                How do you know I’m not posting from prison?

                You’re confusing a right with a physical impediment. Just because someone is keeping you in a jail does not mean you lost your MIND. Your MIND is what gives you your liberty – your CAPACITY to act.

                How do you know humans have equal rights?

                Because all humans have minds. If you have a MIND, you have rights. If you have a mind, another human has to have a MIND – unless you happen to be a solipsist.

        2. You are born with pretty much exactly zero liberty. The liberty to cry and squirm is about it.

          1. Wrong again, Tonykins. Every action, even the squirming and crying, generates from electrical impulses in the individual’s brain. As it grows, every single thing you ever think or do originates in the same fashion. Therefore, you own yourself. If you own yourself, no one else has the right to force you to do anything, so long as what you’re doing does not interfere with them.

            If you really wanted to hit my philosophy where it hurts, you would ask how conflicts are resolved without resorting to monopoly-of-force 3rd party. It’s a tricky question, and there, I’ve just gift-wrapped it for you.

            1. “Every action, even the squirming and crying, generates from electrical impulses in the individual’s brain. As it grows, every single thing you ever think or do originates in the same fashion. Therefore, you own yourself.”

              No sir, therefore you *control* yourself.

              Ownership is not proven.

              1. If you sincerely don’t believe that people own themselves due to taking self-generating action, then we really will never agree on anything. And I say that with no animosity, we’re simply coming from two totally different philosophical starting points.

                1. “If you sincerely don’t believe that people own themselves due to taking self-generating action, then we really will never agree on anything. And I say that with no animosity, we’re simply coming from two totally different philosophical starting points.”

                  That’s a reasonable enough place to part. Luckily for you, I think most people hate my view and either implicitly or explicitly endorse some form of yours.

              2. To be fair, one could conflate the two concepts. But most libertarians (and people in general) view the two as being distinct. With Ownership being the de jure as opposed to de facto.

            2. so long as what you’re doing does not interfere with them.

              You just slip that in there as if it doesn’t imply law enforcement–a positive right as you might say. Yes it is a tricky question. If you have a better idea than an institution with a practical monopoly on legitimate force, I’m all ears.

              1. “Yes it is a tricky question. If you have a better idea than an institution with a practical monopoly on legitimate force, I’m all ears.”

                Institutions *without* monopolies on legitimate force seems like a no-brainer answer given the poor performance of monopolies.

                1. On the contrary, see Pinker. Strong states have been the single most effective force for increasing human safety and well-being. You guys always bring up Stalin or whatever, as if every government must have acted perfectly before anarchy becomes a bad idea.

                  1. Um, you see Pinker. He blatantly points out that there was a simultaneous rise in commerce.

                    Perhaps strong states are the lagging indicator here.

                    1. They aren’t. And what’s to celebrate about “commerce”? Isn’t it emergent and that’s what makes it do good, by some logical stretch I don’t comprehend?

                  2. Re: Tony,

                    Strong states have been the single most effective force for increasing human safety and well-being.

                    We only have to look at North Korea. Everybody there is happy.

                    Idiot.

                    1. Because I definitely advocate for a North Korean style society. Genius.

                    2. Because I definitely advocate for a North Korean style society.

                      There is literally no part of North Korean communism with which you disagree from a philosophical standpoint or first principles (to the extent you have any principles beyond that of a petulant child screaming “I WANT!!!!”).

              2. The conversation is about rights–not enforcement. Get with the program, Tony.

          2. Re: Tony,

            You are born with pretty much exactly zero liberty.

            I don’t know about you. You may be Eliza for all I care. All humans are born with liberty. Whether they choose to act or not has nothing to do with their right to liberty.

            1. Humans are born 100% dependent on other humans. You cannot disagree with that.

              1. Re: Tony,

                Humans are born 100% dependent on other humans.

                You don’t even know basic biology. Humans are born breathing air.

                Idiot.

                1. Not for long if there isn’t someone there to feed and shelter them.

                  1. And the Top Men–who takes care of them?

                    You assume that a god called the State takes care of each of us as our parents did when we were physically helpless. Your worship of government is the greatest impediment to your ultimate enlightenment.

        3. “We’re equal in that we are given life and liberty at the moment we are born. If you say this isn’t true, then you would have to concede that either you are NOT born with liberty and life (a perfunctory contradiction) or that someone else is not born with liberty or life, which in that case that someone is not and cannot be human.”

          This is circular reasoning. But sure, many people are’t born with liberty. If they aren’t human because of that, so be it.

          1. Re: Tak Kak,

            But sure, many people are’t born with liberty.

            The problem here is that you’re confusing liberty with physical prowess.

            The prerequisite to liberty is having a mind and a body. You are BORN with BOTH. Just because your body is not fully developed does NOT mean you are bereft of liberty. And if you have a mind, you have LIFE.

            1. You’re treating liberty as a magical talisman rather than a word with a definition. If you can’t even feed yourself, what meaningful liberty do you have? Stop trying to convince everyone your religion is true. There is a real world out here beyond the sub-freshman philosophy you’re peddling.

              1. Spoken like a true fascist, shitheel.

              2. Re: Tony,

                You’re treating liberty as a magical talisman rather than a word with a definition.

                I don’t define a right as a physical impediment to someone else or a “magical talisman” – that’s something little red Marxians like you use as a strawman. The Law of Gravity doesn’t preclude anybody from throwing themselves from the Eiffel tower with a set of makeshift wings. It only precludes a person from floating weightless. The same way, my right to my liberty doesn’t physically impede a person from attempting to take it, but that does not mean that person is correct in taking my liberty.

                If you can’t even feed yourself, what meaningful liberty do you have?

                You’re confusing liberty with physical prowess. Just because you don’t have the physical means does not mean you suddenly don’t have a right to your liberty. A miracle can happen and you get fed by the breath you take (like some vegans believe); so then what? Your liberty is suddenly re-bestowed? No, you never lost it. As long as you have a MIND, you have LIBERTY.

                By the same token, YOU don’t have the right to take SOMEONE ELSE’S rights. That is why natural rights are said to be negative.

                1. This is is/ought and you’re the one who’s confused in his semantics and it’s really rather boring. You say people are magically endowed at birth with rights that weren’t even conceptualized until a couple centuries ago. I say people should have certain rights. There isn’t really a practical difference, just a different attitude toward mysticism.

                  It’s somewhat amusing that you label something “negative” as a means to declaring them good and sacred. But nobody wants only those rights you have when you’re alone on a deserted island, so all we can meaningfully talk about when we talk about rights in a human society is whether they are enforced.

              3. If you can’t even feed yourself, what meaningful liberty do you have?

                There was a great awakening a few thousand years ago which Karl Jaspers refers to as the Axial Age. In this age, the affected peoples learned that life is not done to them, but done by them. They came to understand that they were themselves responsible for what happened in their lives. This era was extremely profound for humanity.

                However, you do not know of, or at least understand this. If so, you wouldn’t compare the dependence of infants to the Axial Age implied independence of human beings.

                You seem to be in a different league, altogether. Not because of your ignorance of Jasper’s idea, but because of your simplistic (dare I say infantile) notion of liberty.

            2. “The prerequisite to liberty is having a mind and a body. You are BORN with BOTH. Just because your body is not fully developed does NOT mean you are bereft of liberty. And if you have a mind, you have LIFE.”

              Life isn’t being disputed here.

              Further still, mind and body being a prerequisite for liberty isn’t even.

              What’s in contention is whether people are *actually* born with liberty – and related rights.

    2. Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. This is not the maximum needed for human flourishing…

      I’m not sure what you mean by that. When some people go around hurting others and taking their stuff, then there is little incentive to be productive. Why bother if the fruits of your labors will be taken away from you by someone stronger than you, or by a group of men engaging in organized violence? Incentives matter. If you can’t keep what you produce, then there is no incentive. If you can, then society can flourish as people produce without fear of the fruits of their labors being taken from them by force.

  19. Well well. How about let’s not. We need more skepticism of the constitution, not even more reverence for it. Even if rightly celebrated for its innovations, it is a highly imperfect document. The fact that it’s treated as a sacred text (selectively, as all sacred texts are treated) combined with the fact that it’s all but impossible to amend means we may be worshiping it until it spells our doom.

    No doubt others have made the point, but all iterations of natural rights are bullshit and totalitarian. If God, nature, or nature’s God is dictating which rights exist and which don’t, then all we have is the same problem all religions have: whoever is deemed clergy get to decide what God wants. I choose not to elect any libertarian to that post, because you guys don’t believe in nearly enough rights.

    1. And what, praytell, do you think is the source of rights?

      1. Re: Sudden,

        And what, praytell, do you think is the source of rights?

        Tony will bloviate and engage in double-speak but you just have to know that he has said before that our rights are decided by the State and no one else.

      2. Rights are human inventions enforced by governments. A right is a policy. A right to free speech means there’s a policy that government can’t write laws that restrict your speech. A right to education means government establishes schools for everyone. This isn’t difficult.

        1. No, surely you understand how negative rights are different than positive rights. You can’t have a right to force someone to give you something.

          1. …Except enforcement of your property rights by police and courts. I have to pay for that, because, uh, not sure.

            1. …Except enforcement of your our property rights by police and courts. I We have to pay for that, because, uh, not sure we give government the power to use force when it would be just to use force as an individual, for example to enforce our property rights, and this frees us from having to pack around our lives on our backs like they do in places without any government.

            2. Re: Tony,

              Except enforcement of your property rights by police and courts.

              I don’t need no stinkin’ courts. I told you – try and enter my home, uninvited. See what happens; you’ll get a quick education.

              There are MANY private courts called “arbitration” which only the interested parties pay for. Courts are set up by the State to punish what it sees as violators. Whether the State pretends to punish thieves or murderers or not does not change the fact that nobody really needs the State.

              1. The fact that this is all loony fantasy doesn’t bother you in the least? I note you’re advocating, explicitly, a “might makes right” social order. In that case if I have a bigger arsenal, your stuff is rightly mine. Yay anarchy. What folly it was for every society everywhere to invent governments.

        2. Re: Tony,

          Rights are human inventions enforced by governments.

          How can humans invent anything without the liberty to do so?

          And you call yourself a college graduate.

          A right to free speech means there’s a policy that government can’t write laws that restrict your speech.

          How can there be a policy that restricts government about something that doesn’t exist without government?

          And why I am arguing with you, anyway? Your patterns show 2-dimensional thinking only.

          A right to education means government establishes schools for everyone.

          Abd without government, there’s no right to education, right? You can’t learn?

          Tony is becoming more and more deranged as time goes by. I am getting worried he may be another Germanair co-pilot…

        3. then all we have is the same problem all religions have: whoever is deemed clergy get to decide what God wants.

          See, under your conception of rights and their derivation, rights simply do not exist at all. Only policies, and such policies are always subject to the whims, whether just or arbitrary and capricious, of whomever rules at the time.

          Whereas under natural rights, rights exist independent of government and are conferred upon every man, woman, and child as a consequence of their humanity alone with no other prerequisites needed. These rights are eternal and universal. There is no invention or expansion of rights, nor is there any retraction of rights.

        4. A right is a policy.

          A right is an idea. A concept. A logical premise.

          It must exist before someone thinks to put it into a policy.

          Policy comes second, if at all.

          1. Re: Sarcasmic,

            He doesn’t understand that. His thinking is always backwards. State, therefore life, freedom and apple pie. He cannot fathom that you can’t protect something that doesn’t exist first. Or he thinks the State is God: all knowing, all seeing.

            1. Or he thinks the State is God: all knowing, all seeing.

              that

            2. The State derives its power from The Will Of The People which is no different from The Divine Right Of The King. It even comes with its own clergy in black robes.

      3. And what, praytell, do you think is the source of rights?

        For Tony? Violence. His guiding premise is that might makes right.

        For example if I’m hungry and you have more food than me, and in the interest of fairness I steal food from you, then you have been the victim of an injustice. If you choose, you can ask the government for justice, and they will send agents to drag me into court.

        On the other hand, what if government steals that food for me? You’ve still been a victim of injustice because someone has stolen food from you. But where do you go for justice? The people who deal in justice were the ones who dealt you an injustice. You’re powerless. But Tony sees it as good and just because when government steals it isn’t theft because they have the last word in violence. Right and wrong are determined not by right and wrong, but by who can deal out the most violence.

    2. Re: Tony,

      No doubt others have made the point, but all iterations of natural rights are bullshit and totalitarian

      “I want your stuff!”
      “Wait, it’s mine!”
      “You’re totalitarian!”

      Which is the total intellectual extension of your proposition, Tony, dear. That means, you simply don’t like it so you call it “bullshit” and “totalitarian.” You’re like a spoiled child who is told he can’t have cake.

      If God, nature, or nature’s God is dictating which rights exist and which don’t,

      Our rights are natural because they’re right. You have your life – it is yours. You’re not living someone else’s life. Therefore, it is YOUR LIFE. That is a self-evident truth, it is right. That is what is meant with natural: that it is right, a truth. No God or gods are necessary.

      1. If I live in a regime that is empowered to kill me for how I was born, I don’t in fact have a right to life. Even that most basic right has to be protected. Unfortunately for your philosophy, the thing that does this best is big government. Without it you have a right to life until a roving gang decides you don’t. I haven’t been buying mystical nonsense since I was a preteen, so don’t bother trying to sell it.

        1. If I live in a regime that is empowered to kill me for how I was born, I don’t in fact have a right to life.

          Tony w/o spaces, I am likely larger, stronger, faster, and better armed than you, empowered by nature and discipline to kill you. Do you still have no right to life? Or have I taken it upon myself to violate your right?

          Even that most basic right has to be protected.

          Yes, it does and who better to defend your rights than you, the holder of the rights? Of course though, you’re lazy. And a coward. And a slave at heart.

          Unfortunately for your philosophy, the thing that does this best is big government.

          Yeah, just ask those people who have died waiting for the government-sponsored violence team (police) to respond to a citizen’s request for aid, which they are not legally obligated to provide.

          Without it you have a right to life until a roving gang decides you don’t.

          That sounds suspiciously like Chicago, Illinois. And I’m not just talking about the CPD.

          I haven’t been buying mystical nonsense since I was a preteen, so don’t bother trying to sell it.

          Of course not, but you do accept the absolutely mythical notion that the state may cure all of a country’s ills if it just has enough control over people’s lives.

          And your preferred group of thieves are in charge.

        2. The government has killed more than any entity in history and it’s not even close. It’s completely insane to build it up to protect rights.

        3. Unfortunately for your philosophy, the thing that does this best is big government.

          I haven’t been buying mystical nonsense since I was a preteen, so don’t bother trying to sell it.

          See children, this is called ‘fundamentally lacking self awareness’. Note how Tony associates a mystical unsupported quality to the concept of ‘big government’ protecting ‘basic rights’, then denies believing in ‘mystical nonsense’. It’s almost like he has a dogmatic arrogance towards his beliefs.

        4. Re: Tony,

          If I live in a regime that is empowered to kill me for how I was born, I don’t in fact have a right to life.

          Yes, you do. If you conclude the act of killing you is morally wrong, evil and unethical, it is because you’re basing that conclusion on something. Of course, you can be a suicidal baby. Who knows.

          Even that most basic right has to be protected.

          Each of us protects it. That is why each of us eats, drinks, poops, avoid open manholes, etc.

          Without it you have a right to life until a roving gang decides you don’t.

          Is the roving gang correct in their action? What you’re doing is confusing a right with an act. Acts don’t define things. The THING defines itself. The roving gang does NOT define the right to life, they’re simply committing a violent and evil act if and when they kill me. You can be sure that none of the gang members would accept their own demise as a matter of principle or as something that is right.

          You only give these issues a passing thought, Tony. You tend to argue with bromides, never with logic. You never ever give your statements a second thought, and therefore commit a series of perfunctory contradictions.

        5. If I live in a regime that is empowered to kill me for how I was born, I don’t in fact have a right to life. Even that most basic right has to be protected.

          This is where you are fundamentally misunderstanding what a right is. A right is something a person ought to be permitted regardless of whether they are. Under your conception of rights, there can be no violation of rights by the state because the state is the arbitrar of your rights. Rights become circular, tautological, and therefore are rendered entirely moot and meaningless.

          The natural law view is that your rights exist independent of governments. Even if the State murders you, you have a right to life. That right has been violated, but that right remains. As the founders stated in the Declaration, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Not to grant these rights, or elaborate upon these rights, but to secure them. The acknowledgement there is that the rights exist independent of the State and the only legitimate function of the state is to secure your rights from other citizens and the State itself.

          1. You recognize this is a banal is/ought distinction, and I just reject mysticism so I have to be on the side of “ought.” This is one instance among several in which libertarians invoke nonsense so they don’t have to face a challenge to their antigovernment dogma. It’s not my fault that it takes a government to make rights actually happen. It just is.

        6. I haven’t been buying mystical nonsense since I was a preteen, so don’t bother trying to sell it.

          You really are ignorant of the meaning or words. Mystical has to do with mystery. Theoretical thinkers from science to philosophy deal with mystery all the time. Yet you–in your infantile wisdom–have given up on the mystical.

          I think you just have no curiosity and are so wedded to Top Men and principals that you see no need to think any deeper than the talking points your fellow partisans equip you with.

          What a simple minded person you are.

      2. “Our rights are natural because they’re right.”

        “That is what is meant with natural: that it is right, a truth. ”

        So their natural because they’re a right because they’re natural because they’re a right …

        1. Reply to OM

        2. Reply to OM

        3. Reply to OM

        4. Reply to OM

        5. Reply to OM

        6. Reply to OM

        7. Reply to OM

          1. Yes! A new personal best!

          2. Rinse, Dry and Repeat.

          3. You meditating or something?

            1. That was brilliant. I LOL’d. Then I meditated upon my LOL.

              1. When you can remove the coin from my hand, then you are ready.

                1. Me: You mean like this?
                  *Whap!*
                  HM: Uh, how about two out of three?

        8. Re: AlmightyJB,

          So their natural because they’re a right because they’re natural because they’re a right

          Not natural because they’re a right – noun. Don’t equivocate.

          They’re natural because they’re right [adjective], because they are true. Unless, of course, that you do not believe it is right that you live. Or that it is right that you have liberty. Maybe I am mistaken and you should be dead or deprived of your liberty (or both). Go ahead.

          1. Those who only respect violence (Tony) do not believe in any Truth with a capital ‘t’.

            The only truths are those that those with the last word in violence say are true. If the government says 2 + 2 = 5, then it does. Because they have the power to initiate violence on anyone who objects.

          2. nice. I’ll live because I choose to live and I’m willing to defend my life at almost any costs. If someone wants to take my life. Me telling them that it is self-evident that I should be allowed to live means jack shit nothing. Racking my 12 gauge does mean jack shit.

            Claiming something is self-evident is not a valid argument. I really don;t know how you could read a world history book and then talk about “Natural” right as if these freedoms we desire are somehow universally respected in all times and all places.

            It’s nice you think they’re all natural. I’m just saying you can’t prove that. In terms of protecting these freedoms though, I’m on your side so just cause I don’t believe in some imaginary 10 commandments or whatever doesn’t make me the enemy.

            1. Re: AlmightyJB,

              Claiming something is self-evident is not a valid argument.

              Of course it is. You exist. Isn’t that self-evident? Or does someone have to convince you of that fact every single fucking time you live?

              I’m just saying you can’t prove that.

              We’re proving it with every minute, right now. We’re having a discussion. Implied is that we are doing it freely – there’s no puppet master. Therefore, it is evident we have liberty, at least to have this discussion.

              By saying our right to liberty is natural, what it means in reality is that it is evident, it is right. Each time we act, we’re proving it is natural, right and true. Otherwise, we would be merely reacting to stimuli, like animals, digging the earth for worms and stuff.

              1. There are many who do not believe in the same truths. They maybe many things but they are human. Do I think I’m right? Of course I do. I’m right, their wrong. Great. What’s that mean practically. If they want me to live their way, I say no. If they insist, I resist. I can’t prove I’m right. But I can choose to live as if I am. I think most people would agree that being free is better than not being free but some believe that only for themselves. They are still human. I can say they are wrong, but I can’t prove it outside of my own insistence that I’m right.

                1. Also, the fact that I exist is proof that I exist. Saying it is self-evident is not the proof. I can say a lot of things are self-evident that are not self-evident which is not the same as proving them to be true.

                  1. Shorter AlmightyJB: Might makes right.

                    1. If all this shit is so self-evident, why does the world look like it does? Oh yeah, we’re all 100% unequally right. All 1% of us. It’s fun being smug but doesn’t really mean a whole lot. All I’ve ask for is proof of these “natural” rights. Provide proof. That’s all I’m saying. I’m a total golden rule type a guy. I am because I choose to be. Not because five people on H&R say that it’s “right”. How many millions of years of evolution did it take us to discover these esoteric rights? What year did they become crystal clear to us?

        9. They are natural because they are a consequence of our very humanity. We don’t need a government to declare we have a right to an opposable thumb. We have an opposable thumb as a consequence of being human. We don’t need to declare that we have the right to think, our thoughts are a consequence of our humanity. And the only reason any rights are declared within documents like the bill of rights is precisely to forbid the government from violating those rights.

          Even the language of the BoR is deliberate in the way it words the first 10 amendments to the consitution. Never does it state “the govt grants…” Instead it is “shall not be infringed”, “shall not be violated”, etc. In fact, the very existence of the ninth amendment clearly shows that rights are NOT something provided by the government, as it states that simply because a right was not enumerated within the document does not render it not a right.

          1. “They are natural because they are a consequence of our very humanity.”

            It seems to me looking back on history that the consequence of our humanity isn’t always that pretty and has rarely respected what we consider our rights.

            I just read this reply from above which I kind of like. Not saying it’s a complete argument or even a factually true statement but it at least rises above the proverbial “it’s right because I say so”

            Mr. Anderson|3.27.15 @ 7:46PM|#
            I would call them natural if they exist without someone to take them away.

            1. Oh I agree with what Mr. Anderson said. And I should make him the lead debater in favor of natural rights since he’s more pithy than I.

              I know this thread is awfully cluttered, but one thing I did say upthread is that a something does not cease to be a right merely because it is violated or even if it has never been permitted.

    3. The point you are missing is neither the Constitution or anyone granted rights. Rights are an ideal, whether they can be enforced is an entirely separate question. If they do not exist the constitution cannot be perfect or imperfect, there is no perfection to achieve.

    4. Let’s throw ‘totalitarian’ on the pile of words Tony doesn’t understand.

      1. It’s another one of his inanities. Read his arguments against libertarianism once in a while, and you will notice that they center on the woolly idea that having liberty deprives a society from the security of a State because lack of taxes or something, and that is totalitarian.

    5. Do you even know what sacred means? It means: set apart. The Constitution is set apart. Get with it, Tony. Words have meanings and learned folk expect them to be used properly.

  20. …the fact that it’s all but impossible to amend…

    Amazing how much of a blathering moron you are. The Constitution is so impossible to amend that it’s been amended 27 times.

    The rest is just Tony confusing the “rights” with “privileges.”

    Quelle motherfucking surprise.

  21. Natural Rights-deniers agree with Tony, Buttplug and Hihn

    1. Tony, Buttplug and Hihn

      A TEAM Blue cultist, a troll, and smug, geriatric cunt.

      The anti-natural rights dream team.

      1. I see 4-5 other regular H&R commenters who don’t buy this GAWD GIVEN NATRAL RIGHTS bullshit.

        1. Re: Peter Caca,

          I see 4-5 other regular H&R commenters who don’t buy this GAWD GIVEN NATRAL RIGHTS bullshit.

          There’s a couple who think our rights come from the other God: the State. They must be friends of yours.

          1. No. Our rights come from the “consent of the governed” – democracy. Women had no right to vote until the Constitution was amended to allow such. That is what the founders intended.

            Why you hate the US Constitution I have no idea.

            1. Women had no right to vote until the Constitution was amended to allow such.

              Wrong as ever, Shriek.

              States granting women the right to vote prior to the 19th Amendment:
              Wyoming 1890
              Colorado 1893
              Utah 1896
              Idaho 1896
              Washington 1910
              California 1911
              Arizona 1912
              Kansas 1912
              Oregon 1912
              Montana 1914
              Nevada 1914
              New York 1917
              Michigan 1918
              Oklahoma 1918
              South Dakota 1918

              Full Voting Rights before 19th Amendment and before statehood

              Territory of Wyoming 1869
              Territory of Utah 1870
              Territory of Washington 1883
              Territory of Montana 1887
              Territory of Alaska 1913

              Could vote for President prior to the 19th Amendment

              Illinois 1913
              Nebraska 1917
              Ohio 1917
              Indiana 1917
              North Dakota 1917
              Rhode Island 1917
              Iowa 1919
              Maine 1919
              Minnesota 1919
              Missouri 1919
              Tennessee 1919
              Wisconsin 1919

              Source

              Shriek, could you just punch the time clock and fuck off for the rest of the evening? And take your two idiot friends with you?

              1. So women had no “natural right” to vote.

                1. So women had no “natural right” to vote.

                  Shriek gets busted saying stupid “women had no rights” shit, picks up the goalposts and moves them 15 yards back.

                  Stay classy, shriek.

                  P.S. Please point out where I said that the law necessarily conforms to the existence of a right.

                  P.P.S. Do yourself a favor, take the L, go away.

            2. If you really wanted to challenge the very basis of natural law, what you would ask is “is there a right to vote?”

              And the answer is NO. Democracy and voting is a human construct. Life, Freedom, and the fruits of labor/effort are not. And it is worth noting that the founders never once in the founding documents referred to voting as a “right.”

        2. Ted Cruz is welcome to believe that God, in His infinite wisdom, benevolence, what-the-ever, decided to bestow us with eyeballs and rights.

          Reasoning is also a satisfactory explanation for natural rights theory. Even utilitarians can get in on natural rights.

          But, naturally, between you, Tony w/o spaces, and Grandpa Smugdouche, it comes down to either “might makes right” or “did a TOP MAN in a black robe say it was okay?” which is ultimately the same.

          To you and those like you, freedom is all about asking for permission and taking orders.

    2. Natural Rights-deniers agree with Tony, Buttplug and Hihn

      Umm, I defend natural rights several times here.

  22. ALL rights are limited. None are absolute. For the simple reason that fundamental rights can conflict or compete with each other. Like
    The right of free speech does not include shouting fire in a crowded theater.
    The conflict between a fetal child and the pregnant woman carrying it, which is NEVER discussed in those terms as both sides are governed by wacky extremes.

    Wrong. If rights conflict then you haven’t defined them properly. One of those rights doesn’t exist.

    The crowded theater example is terrible. First of all it’s private property, so the theater owner can set whatever rules he wants. You don’t have the right to say whatever you want in someone else home without getting thrown out. Secondly, it’s how Oliver Wendell Holmes tried to justify making handing out anti-war pamphlets illegal. Please never mention this idiotic cliche ever again.

    Thirdly, there is no conflict between the mother and a fetal child. The mother owns her womb and she gets to decide who can use it. Sorry, but just because I need your body to live off of doesn’t mean I get to keep you in the basement and suck your blood nightly.

    1. Well put

      1. Except for the last part.

        1. None of it makes sense at all, as shown below.

    2. Thirdly, there is no conflict between the mother and a fetal child.

      Yes there is.

      The mother owns her womb and she gets to decide who can use it. Sorry, but just because I need your body to live off of doesn’t mean I get to keep you in the basement and suck your blood nightly.

      Umm, she has a right to abortion, derived from her right to privacy. There is no SEPARATE right to kill a fetus which can live on its own outside the womb — despite the moral barbarity of those who would lock the child in the womb, prevent it from being born — and say there is no life to protect because they stopped it. Good grief.

      That’s as wacky as the homophobes who claim gay marriage is an intrusion on THEIR lives.

      You tell me how the woman.s rights are denied or disparaged by requiring the live birth of a viable fetus. You cannot, and that’s because of conflicting rights. Try again with another issue,

      1. If the fetus can survive outside the womb, where is the conflict?

        1. If the fetus can survive outside the womb, where is the conflict?

          Have you been off the planet for the past 50 years?
          You airily pretend certain rights don’t exist, then deny that rights are ever in conflict.
          To support your case, you lied about Justice Holmes, the opinion he wrote and what the case was about.

          1. What right does the fetus have to use my uterus if it doesn’t even need it to survive?

    3. If rights conflict then you haven’t defined them properly. One of those rights doesn’t exist.

      You airily dismiss any rights you disagree with ? pretend it’s meaningful. I’ve already debunked your abortion example

      ? it’s private property, so the theater owner can set whatever rules he wants.

      You AGREE there is no Free Speech right to yell fire in a crowded theater!

      Secondly, it’s how Oliver Wendell Holmes tried to justify making handing out anti-war pamphlets illegal. Please never mention this idiotic cliche ever again

      You’re not my fucking censor. And you do not own this webpage, so you’re now at war with .. yourself!

      Spare me the rightwing bullshit, The decision was unanimous. The ruling was unanimous BEFORE Holmes was selected for the opinion. And it was NOT about handing out pamphlets. You’re ALSO wrong on WHY it was decided.

      They were MAILING letters to people scheduled for conscription during WWI, telling them to reject draft notices. The ACTUAL ruling was that some speech is normally protected, but not when the nation was at war. Plus, a voluntary enlistment drive had already failed to get 1 million enlistments ? only 73,000 by the third week of the war.

      As an antiwar, anti-draft protester in the 60s, I disagree with that opinion. But I’m not wacky enough to blame a librul judge for a unanimous ruling, nor misrepresent the facts of the ruling..

    4. just because I need your body to live off of doesn’t mean I get to keep you in the basement and suck your blood nightly.

      A pro-choice argument and yet a caricature of the libertarian attitude. The fact that humans are responsible for the lives of other humans, even to a parasitic degree, is a good first thing to consider when you’re determining how individualistic our politics should be.

      Reverend Jackass McGee can declare that zygotes are full persons and it’s no more arbitrary than declaring anyone else a person. Legislatures can make it happen. The reason it’s a dumb idea is because of the unacceptable deprivation of rights and well-being of adult people that comes with it.

      1. The fact that humans are responsible for the lives of other humans, even to a parasitic degree, is a good first thing to consider when you’re determining how individualistic our politics should be.

        I fair to see how I’m responsible for the lives of the people who want to suck my blood to live of it. The average welfare recipient has a miniscule fraction of the claim that a fetus does. And even that does not override my right to control my own uterus.

        1. Fetuses are the ultimate lazy unemployed parasites. At what stage does the dependent/radically independent switch happen? Does it not switch back sometime in old age?

          1. It’s irrelevent. If a fully grown adult was attached to me by an umbilical cord, I would still have the right to sever that cord. Even if that person would die as a result, and even if that person was a Nobel prize winning physicist. No person has the right to parasitically survive off of someone else’s body. End of story.

          2. It’s irrelevent. If a fully grown adult was attached to me by an umbilical cord, I would still have the right to sever that cord. Even if that person would die as a result, and even if that person was a Nobel prize winning physicist. No person has the right to parasitically survive off of someone else’s body. End of story.

            1. Hazel,

              While overall your conception of rights seem to be the most well-formed on this thread, I think your analogy between welfare and abortion conflates the differing issues at play. A woman who is impregnated as a consequence of consensual sex is directly responsible for creating a parasitic life form. That she has freely elected to “lease” her property creates a duty of care towards the “tenant.” Your property rights over a given physical space do not give you the right to treat invited guests with unlimited discretion. I can’t just shoot a guest because he makes an offensive joke at my dinner table.

              Furthermore, it seems like infants and small children fail to meet “viability” criterion. Based on your logic, the Spartan practice of throwing newborns to the wolves would be no more a violation of the NAP than 1st trimester abortion. My main point is that any libertarian account of abortion must first provide a clear answer to the question of when individual rights attach.

        2. And even that does not override my right to control my own uterus.

          Umm a viable fetus overrides your right to your uterus.
          But you say rights ARE absolute, except when they’re not.

          1. That’s ridiculous, if it’s viable, it can live outside the womb. So it doesn’t have right to my uterus. I can induce labor and kick it out. Without even killing it.

            1. That’s ridiculous, if it’s viable, it can live outside the womb.

              Congratulartions!

              So it doesn’t have right to my uterus.

              Nobody said it did.

              I can induce labor and kick it out. Without even killing it.

              I appreciate your retraction on the daffy notion that conflicting rights cannot be possible. You’ve finally admitted that you lose the right to abortion when the fetus becomes viable.

              1. It’s NOT CONFLICTING IF IT DOESN’T NEED ANY PART OF MY BODY TO SURVIVE!

                Get that through your thick fucking head, moron!!!

          2. Oh, my god. I get it. You think the term “viable fetus” means ANY fetus that’s capable of surviving to delivery.

            You shoudl learn the correct definition of words:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_viability

            “According to Websters Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, viability of a fetus means having reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus.”

            1. Oh, my god. I get it. You think the term “viable fetus” means ANY fetus that’s capable of surviving to delivery.

              Oh my God. “Outside the uterus” means AFTER a delivery!
              So you screwed up your own definition … .

              You should learn the correct definition of words:

              Like the definitions of “to delivery” vs “after delivery”?
              Are you clear on those yet?

              And Wikipedia definitions are not the law of the land!
              The Supreme Court decides these things. By THAT definition, viability means capable of survival, including mechanical assistance (like an incubator) .. not the “normal conditions” you cite.

              Any more questions?

              1. You’re still not getting it. What is the right that the fetus has that conflicts with my right to control my body?

                If I can just say “sorry, no more uterus for you”, kick it out, and let someone else put it into an incubator, and walk away, I fail to see how there is a conflict here.

                What the fuck is the fetus supposedly using that I have a right to?

  23. Predictably, all the statist trolls came to the party today.

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  25. There’s a historical context here too: when Locke wrote on natural rights, he was setting them up in opposition to the divine right of kings. Whether Locke was a Christian or a deist is not a huge deal in this issue: he was seeking to say people (which in Locke’s world was property-owing males) were not at the mercy of the king because there was an authority above the monarchy.

    1. Very true. Sadly as a consequence many people conflate natural law as requiring the existence of a deity being a precondition. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s the legal rightists as opposed to the natural rightists that I find have more in common with skydaddy types: legal rightists believe that rights are instituted among men as a sort of moral code. Skydaddy believers only subscribe to the natural rights view insofar as they think the world was crafted by the Hand of God and those rights we’re born with are ipso facto moral.

      I’m a natural rights believe, an atheist, and a generally misanthropic person. There are plenty of people who I have little respect for in this world and would take great comfort in watching them suffer. People I think immoral or assholes or whatnot. I’d love to see one of them have a massive heart attack and die in front of me. And I’d probably not lift a finger to help save them. But if someone came around intent on killing them, I’d consider it a violation of their rights to life and expend some nominal effort to save them.

      1. I’m one of those skydaddy types and, historically again, it’s hard to imagine the idea of natural rights catching on in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries without an appeal to God or some kind of higher power. But, you don’t have to believe in god to grasp the concept of natural rights (as you note).

        In fact, when I teach natural rights these days, I point out that Locke based them in a higher power but, in essence, the idea was that, because you are human, you have rights. The biggest point I make to them is that the state does NOT give you rights. This is especially clear in the BOR and later amendments. As I note to students for example, the 19th Amendment does not say women have the right to vote. It prohibits the state from denying the right to vote based on sex. Big difference.

      2. The Christian idea of God is inseparable any creation of natural rights belief. God was the creator. It should be obvious from the arguments specific to natural rights that they aren’t derived from anything in a bible or anywhere else. They come from humanity. But nobody has any need to think humanity means anything. If it would be in my own interest to violate your rights why shouldn’t I? Why should I act against my own interests?

      3. The Christian idea of God is inseparable any creation of natural rights belief. God was the creator. It should be obvious from the arguments specific to natural rights that they aren’t derived from anything in a bible or anywhere else. They come from humanity. But nobody has any need to think humanity means anything. If it would be in my own interest to violate your rights why shouldn’t I? Why should I act against my own interests?

  26. Rights are human inventions enforced by governments. A right is a policy. A right to free speech means there’s a policy that government can’t write laws that restrict your speech. A right to education means government establishes schools for everyone.

    Rights can’t be whatever you want them to be. That is because a right fundamentally serves a purpose of establishing who has a certain freedom of action or use. Even speech can have a cost. You can say what you want in your own home, but you don’t have a right to force the newspapers to print your letter to the editor. Why not? Because the things the newspaper uses to print papers are scarce resources, and because they are scarce, it is not possible for everyone to have their letters printed equally. Thus, some OTHER system is needed to decide who has the “right” to use those resources. That system is private property, and it works very well.

    The same concept goes for healthcare or any other positive right. It is impossible to give everyone the right to all the healthcare they need, because everything doctors use (including their time) is a scarce resource. It means nothing to say everyone has a right to something if there isn’t enough of it for everyone. Some OTHER system has to be devised to decide who REALLY has the right to get that CAT scan or have that surgery. And it is THAT system that really decides who has a right to healthcare and who doesn’t. It isn’t universal or equal.

    1. And that is why natural rights is the correct derivation and interpretation of rights as opposed to legal rights. Legal rights provide cover for all manner of things that are so-called positive “rights” while natural law is entirely negative rights based.

      1. You can decide that positive rights are unworkable and not have them, and you don’t have to rely on natural rights theory to draw that conclusion.

        As I said, just because rights are human inventions, doesn’t mean you can make them anything you want. Or at least it’s not a GOOD IDEA to make them anything you want. Some systems of rights are harmonious and workable, others will create a morass of social and legal conflict that you won’t resolve without getting rid of those rights (or a lot of killing ending in totally system collapse).

        1. I don’t consider rights human inventions anymore than I consider physics or calculus a human invention. It took human thought to discover and explain them, but they exist independent of our ability to grasp them.

          1. All of those are human inventions.

            Popping up in the 20th century and declaring that your rather fringe set of beliefs is the one true way, which is what you’re saying, is the very definition of a cult.

            1. A right is just saying something is morally wrong. But go on and explain why free speech is a fringe belief.

            2. Because English common law is a fringe set of beliefs.

              1. Not the one true way either, but an exemplar of cumulative social consensus–I’m speaking of libertarianism, which would not only radically alter modern society to something it’s never been before, but claims that its policies are the only ones allowed by morality. Sounds like religion to me, which is called a cult in small numbers.

                1. A lot of libertarian theory is based on English common law, as I’m sure you are aware. A libertarian meta-state would allow consensual communities to evolve that “cumulative social consciousness” further. If you want to form a voluntary communist society, nobody is going to stop you from doing it. The only thing you can’t do is force other people to join it or impose it by force on the whole of society.

          2. To a certain extent, viewing this as a processes of discovering what principles are out there in the murk which are the correct ones to live by is certainly valid. You can think of them as actually existing objects which we are struggling to understand, or you can think of them as constructs which reflect some feature of reality.

            I kind of like to think they are constructs which reflect physical realities like scarcity and biological necessity, along with moral intuitions like moral equality. The “rights” are legal constructs that we have derived to handle those physical realities. Only certain rights will fit. You can’t make them whatever you want. They’re still constructs, but they are highly constrained by underlying fundamental principles.

            But if you want to think of it as a process of discovering the “true” set of rights, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    2. Secondly, the “government” is not some wellspring of infinite stuff that comes from the ether. In order to establish public schools the government has to take from someone else. A “right to education” is really a right to someone else’s stuff. And (as above) there is only a finite amount of other people’s stuff to take. Secondly, how do you even decide what counts as an education? And what happens if you feel you’ve been deprived by being sent to a bad school? Again, the so-called right to education resolves nothing. Some OTHER system must be invented to determine who gets educated and in what subjects, etc. It’s like a can of worms that would be destined to end in massive lawsuits, as people have infinite variations of opinion on what sort of education they have a right to get and whether the education system actually gives them that.
      Totally unworkable, like every other positive right.

      1. A “right to education” is really a right to someone else’s stuff.

        No it isn’t. You’re only entitled to claim things as your stuff because you have a taxpayer-funded system of property rights protection. Your money is issued and guaranteed by taxpayer-funded government. You were able to make this money because a civilization exists for you to avail yourself of. You enjoying the fruits of this civilization and not paying for it is you stealing. Don’t like paying for things you didn’t agree to? Welcome to living on earth with other people. This argument is for anarchism. I don’t know why this simple point doesn’t ever get through. Either you’re OK with taxation or you’re not. If not, fine, be a crazy. If so, then what public ends they are used for is up for debate.

        1. Then how did the first man with a chicken trade eggs for milk with the first man with a cow. Under your theory this was impossible before government. It’s just flat out retarded to claim commerce didn’t exust prior to government.

          1. I’m not sure who gives a fuck or what this has to do with the debate at hand, but if you want to do chicken/egg, what came before commerce was hunting, gathering, and pillaging. Any group of people organizing to do these things could be considered a primitive government. We evolved in tribes, and name me one primitive tribe whose lack of modern government you find appealing.

            1. People had property and trade prior to government existing. The government needs people to exist, not the other way around. To claim people are bearing the fruits of government is flat out incorrect. Not incorrect because of some logic argument, but factually incorrect. Even in isolated parts of the world ungoverned trade and property exist.

        2. Everyone else has the same system of property rights protection. It is an equal trade. I claim the right to property, and I grant it, equally to everyone else.

          Money doesn’t come from the government. People invented currency long before a government cam along and created a central bank.

          When I make money, I make voluntary exchanges with other people who also benefit from those transactions. It is an equal trade of value for value.

          I do not owe nebulous others anything for the existence of civilization, any more than I owe any third party a share of the proceed from any transaction I make with another consenting adult.

          Everyone I use for that transaction, I earn of have paid for. I pay for internet service. I pay taxes for roads. I pay for my clothing, my food, my house, my electricity, my gas bill, my car. I do not owe anyone else anything for my use of any of those things because I have already PAID FOR THEM. Whatever I owe was paid to the electricity company, the clothing store, the grocery store, etc. already. And all of that was obtained via a chain of voluntary market transactions in which every single person involved exchanged value for value. No third party outside of that chain of transactions deserves one red penny for simply being a bystander to all of it.

          1. So taxes paying for roads counts as a voluntary exchange? Why not taxes paying for another government program like education? Is it because you like roads and don’t like people being educated?

            1. No, but the fact that I paid taxes for it means that I don’t OWE anyone for their existence.

              Least of all some random third party who didn’t even build those roads.

              The debt has already been paid.
              I love how you people treat all of economics and society as an indistinguishable mush of interconnectedness. You ignorance of economics (or maybe your unwillingness to think about it), forces you to pretend that all the stuff provided by the market just emerges from society by magic and that we all get it for free. So we owe society for things we already paid for. We owe random strangers for stuff that we already paid for by buying it from someone else. Why ? Oh it’s all a big interconnected mush of indebtedness…. none of this stuff happened via, you know, TRADE, or anything…

              1. ^^^This exactly.

                It’s ironic that the same people fretting about unpaid debts to society are hostile to the free market. Only the prices that emerge as a consequence of unfettered exchange can objectively tell you who owes what. In its absence, you have to resort to utterly meaningless phrases like “fair share” or “giving back to the community.”

                1. Even beyond that. The market, upon which I depend, only exists because we live in a capitalist system, with strong legal protections for property rights and contract law. All of which the Tony’s of the world want to undermine. If I owe anyone for anything, I owe the courts for providing that legal foundation. Which is great because that’s exactly what libertarians say we should pay for anyway.

  27. In the first paragraph the writer implies that, since the word of God is unchanging, it would be good if the Constitution were to be considered the word of God so that it would then be held constant and eternal. Not necessarily. The doctrines of all virtually religions are constantly changing, either gradually or by schisms.

    “He who will introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will revolutionize the world,”
    Benjamin Franklin

    “The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed of doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticism, fancies and falsehoods…”
    Thomas Jefferson

    The Christianity of 1787 was utterly transformed from that of Jesus. And in the period since then, the practices and beliefs of Christianity have probably changed almost as much as the interpretation of the Constitution. Ascribing the sentiments of the Enlightenment to God would not prevent their alteration by men.

    1. Some of the Founders’ ideas on natural law were fairly retro.

      Follow the bouncing ball:

      St. Robert Bellarmine, a Catholic cardinal in the Counter-Reformation, wrote about how government is based on the consent of the people and how an oppressive government can be overturned and replaced.

      Sir Robert Filmer wrote his defense of a divine right of kings as a rebuttal to Bellarmine.

      Then Locke and Sydney wrote their defense of popular rights in rebuttal to Filmer.

      So these proto-Enlightenment figures ended up in the position of a reactionary Catholic.

      Also, Jefferson owned a copy of Filmer’s book, writing extensive notes in the margins, and Filmer’s book contained summaries of Bellarmine’s views (views which Filmer, recall, was rebutting).

      So Jefferson would have at least been familiar with Bellarmine.

      http://www.catholicculture.org…..fm?id=6607

  28. VDR: “. . . That power is by GOD and NATURE vested in the people.”
    DOI: “They (the people) are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”

    Good stuff. I had not been aware that Jefferson was echoing words written so long before.

    On the whole subject of unalienable rights and equality and how such ideas change over time, Paulne Meier in American Scripture, a book about how the D.O.I. became ‘sacred’, argues that the first few paragraphs, which people now take to be the most important, as a statement of America’s purpose, were in fact mostly just rhetoric, not really meant to be taken very seriously. Back then, the writer of a piece began slowly and worked up to the most important points and conclusions, which came at the end, i.e. in the D.O.I. the actual declaration of independence.

  29. “If there is a God, I suspect he may well want us to get rid of the IRS and pass a flat tax so we can fill our returns on a postcard every year.”

    Considering that Jesus was an Anarchist, I can’t see god being in favor of a flat (or any other) tax.

    The words, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,” don’t mean what you likely think they do – Whereas Caesar has nothing that wasn’t first stolen from it’s rightful owner, and; whereas theft does not constitute a valid transfer of ownership. . . “That which is Caesar’s” is exactly NOTHING.
    No IRS, no flat tax, no “legal” theft whatsoever.

    Sad, that a non-Christian had to school you. . .

  30. This article is a horrible argument for an atheist to make. You’re opening the door for other religious-based, dogmatic points of view. There’s no such thing as “unalienable” rights, or “natural” rights. Saying so is just an intellectually dishonest way to shortcut an argument. Yep, that’s what the Founders did in the Declaration of Independence. As much as I believe in, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, they’re a social construct.

  31. I’ve always been curious as to what as theists think the source of natural rights is if not God. Rights didn’t emerge from the primordial ooze with us after aeons of evolution; they didn’t float crash down to Earth on an asteroid aometime between the Big Bang and the cooling of the planet. If human beings exist purely by accident, then any notion of them having inalienable rights is a fiction. That’s why every totalitarian state of the past century has set about as its first goal to abolish religion: to establish itself as the supreme being, the arbiter of rights, and the dispenser of right and wrong, without any hope for a higher judgement to be brought upon it.

    It’s a dangerous proposition to try to divorce the ideals of the Enlightenment from the foundation upon which they were built. The whole structure is likely to crumble to the ground, and trends show that to be exactly what’s happening. Ayn Rand didn’t believe in natural rights. Hers is a misguided approach for so-called libertarians to take.

    And yes, man did create the Constitution. That doesn’t mean God had no role in it. It’s called inspiration and revelation, not “magic”. Magic is human trickery, like socialism, secular progressivism, or for that matter, atheistic objectivism.

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