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Chacham's Journal: Question: Inalienable Rights, another name? 16

Journal by Chacham

Spurred on by superyooser's JE.

When watching Star Trek i noticed that Q has his "powers" taken away in one episode. They granted these "powers" to Riker as well. And, many other shows do this, someone's powers are taken away. At least in Superman 2 they irradiated him or something to do it.

This has always bothered me. The point of Q is that he is not human with special powers, he is a being who can play with the universe *inherently* as a human can move his arm. Just like we cannot take away the "power" of someone to move his arm without destroying a part of his physical or mental structure, removing powers from Q should be the same. I don't mean this specifically by Q, but any characters where certain extra-human capabilities are inherent to their race.

Perhaps we can blame the State of Virginia for this. The Bill of Rights was a bad move. There are no such things as rights. The Declaration of Independence uses the term "inalienable rights" to describe this situation. That is, where the power of freedom is not granted or restricted, rather it is recognized. But the DOI made a mistake by using the word "rights". The Constitution itself only uses the word "right" once. And that is on a legal right, "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;". Being it is a made-up right it is called a "right" therefore. Everything else is expressly granted legislative "power". The Constitution is truly a beautiful document. But the DOI lead Virginia into the fallacious belief that all rights needed to be codified, and the Bill of rights changes it all.

In the first amendment "right of the people to assemble", the second "right of the people to keep and bear arms", the fourth "right of the people to be secure in their persons", the sixth "shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial", the seventh "the right to trial by jury", the ninth refers to rights given by the Constitution, which is not true, and the tenth reserves "rights" for the people.

Because of this, i consider the BOR the thorn in the side of the US. It took one of the most fantastic legal documents and destroyed it at its core by invented this idea that freedom was because of rights. An absolute tragedy that redefined how people were going to look at the freedoms we enjoy.

It is not that we have the right to do something, it's that noone has the right or ability to take it away. Even "inherent rights" while expressing this message, uses the word "rights". The term should more correctly express that in interpersonal actions, noone can object or impede the freedom of others. The codification into law should not be what people can do, but what other people cannot do to impede it.

I think this needs a name. And whatever it is, it should not use the word "right". That has played out already most unfortunately.

Does someone have a more eponymous name?

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Question: Inalienable Rights, another name?

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  • There was considerable debate at the time of the writing of the constitution over whether a Bill of Rights was necessary, and by and large for exactly the reasons you state - a Bill of Rights would sound too much like an enumeration of the (limited) rights of the people (and were granted by the government), whereas the constitution was supposed to be about enumerating the limited powers of the government.

    In the end, they compromised by having a BOR that enumerated certain specific issues of concern, largely
    • Well said. And thanx for the history lesson. I have heard that before, but never got the whole picture.

      I may disagree somewhat as for education being the answer. Ultimately, we all have preferences, so we all see things differently. I think the answer is appreciation of different preferences. Well, not that i have to appreciate your preference, i can still think it to be the most vile and decadent thought around, but by golly you have the "right" to have it, and it is that liberty that i need to respect.

      As
    • Thanks to technology- education is not enough. Constitutions and charters have become largely useless pieces of paper- if the government or a corporation really wants to do something, they will do it and there is no realistic recourse. Cruise missiles are currently the ultimate surgical strike weapon- and you're not going to stop one with an AK-47 or whatever the weapon of the week is. A surprise attack with a cruise missile cannot be stopped- and is accurate to within 3 cm at this point.
      • You are correct - the government is ultimately going to do whatever it damn well pleases. Which is EXACTLY why education is MORE important than ever.

        A well educated populace, who understands the constitution and shares a common vision of limited government that is too weak to attack its own citizens, would be smart enough to only vote for those politicians who agreed to work towards and maintain such a government.

        But the people are stupid, and ignorant of their own constitution and their own history, so th
        • You are correct - the government is ultimately going to do whatever it damn well pleases. Which is EXACTLY why education is MORE important than ever.

          The difference is that I see the power of government as being very weak already- the real danger is the power of the corporation who assumes the services of government.

          A well educated populace, who understands the constitution and shares a common vision of limited government that is too weak to attack its own citizens, would be smart enough to only vote for
        • A well educated populace, who understands the constitution...But the people are stupid, and ignorant

          Ignorant != Stupid

          And conversely

          Educated != Understanding

          Education only gives people the material to understand. Actual understanding comes from practice, and here, i think, that practice is respect.

          • Education only gives people the material to understand. Actual understanding comes from practice, and here, i think, that practice is respect.

            A good way to put it- I see no respect left for liberty in this world, especially where liberty, freedom, and profit are in conflict. Profit has become the overriding principle- and because of that, there is no actual respect left for rule of law.
  • Perhaps the best term is "natural liberties". I am reminded of an article [humanlifereview.com] that spends some time differentiating civil rights from civil liberties - breifly, that a "liberty" is an area where government cannot act, and a "right" is an area where government is bound to act on behalf of citizens, usually at the expense of some liberty. It resolves the problem you describe by asserting that most of what we call rights are really better described as liberties after all.

    Also, you may be interested in what Ale

    • The problem with this is that I can think of no liberty that the government cannot theoretically remove if they set their mind to it. *Will not* remove, that is banned by the constitution from removing, yes, but Will Not != Can Not. If given the chance, a dictator can now employ a variety of techniques, including torture, holding families hostage, and the threats of bankruptcy, death, and homelessness, to force certain points of view on the population. And of course, by "government" I'm including the cor
      • I would say that civil liberties could be called "practical liberties" and natural liberties are "theoritical liberties". The success of a government can probably be judged by how well the practical liberties overlap with the theoritical ones
        • Depends upon the meaning of the word "success". Governments are successful in different ways. A dictator can be considered just as successful as a democracy- their aims are simply different. The problem is more that liberty is more a function of what the people are able to wrest from government than what government is able to wrest from the people; and at this technology level what the people are able to do to threaten government is very small indeed.
          • You're too depressing. :)

            You give off negativity, and discussing things with you is useless since you'll just go a ranting. Which si too bad, because otherwise you have good comments to make.
            • You're too depressing. :)

              When considering ideal forms of government, it's instructive to look at the bad as well as the good. Optimism does not make for a useful way to look at the world.

              You give off negativity, and discussing things with you is useless since you'll just go a ranting.

              If your proposed system does not handle the negative- then isn't it better to know about it?

              Which si too bad, because otherwise you have good comments to make.

              I'd rather have an answer to the original question- what
    • Interesting. The difference between "rights" and "liberties" you mention is very nice.

      One thing that bothers me though, is that it still directs the liberty at the individual, rather than expressing that noone can take it away. I think that is why the term "inalienable" was originally used. "Inalienable" is more to this point than "natural", even though "natural" is more descriptive. Though, a religionist might take issue with the word "natural" anyway, claiming that they come from a deity. So, in this cas
      • The thing is- we don't have a single liberty left that can't be taken away. Technology can be employed to remove *any* liberty I can think of- even such autonomous ones such as beating hearts (rotary circulating pumps can be installed that remove the need for a heartbeat) or breathing (iron lungs used to be very large- but not any more, a small box hooked up to an oxygen supply and a juglar vein will suffice). There are no inalienable liberties left- if a government or corporation really wants to, they ca
  • We now have international law on the topic- all member nations for the past 50 years have been displaying in public the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org]. Now admitedly the countries have been very bad at following either the overt (posting) or subvert (changing of law to fit these rights) purpose of this document, to varying degrees- but we do have a statement of rights that governments are supposed to support in law, and if we want a just society, we would do well to start with the enactment of such

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