Group Rights

Group Rights versus Individual Rights

While I have written essays about animal and gay rights I would like to write in more general terms about rights themselves.

Rights, where do they come from? Some say that rights are God given. This may be just another way to say that these rights are needed to be human, to be who we are. This is also called Natural Rights. Regardless, they are not given to us by man and cannot be taken from us by man, nor modified by man even the Supreme Court.

Here is an example of the times. The Supreme Court will be deliberating the Same-sex Marriage. The proponents say that Gays have this right based on the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

Here it is: “AMENDMENT XIV

Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This is not the complete amendment but I believe that it is the supporters of gay rights’ main argument.
This is an amendment that should not have any sway today. It was meant to give the former slaves citizenship, which they did not have before. That is it. Since there are no former slaves now living it is not needed anymore.

It does not apply to gays and their ability to marry someone of the same sex. It does not apply to anyone at all. Yet the Supreme Court may give its blessing on gay marriages, based on this alone. I believe that the 10th Amendment also says that this should be a States right to define.

For example, the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution are absolutes. The Supreme Court should NOT be interpreting them. Having the Supreme Court interpret the Bill of Rights is like the fox guarding the hen house. The Supreme Court is the third branch of the Federal Government and it is telling us what the government can do to us? Self-policing rarely works. The Supreme Court does not view rights as absolutes and that is their problem. If the rights can be modified in any way, manner, or form then they are NOT rights, they are privileges. The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are collectively called the Bill of Rights not the Bill of Privileges.

Rights must apply to everyone equally. This is why group rights cannot exist. When you give a group a right it is generally at the expense of another group. At least it is a right that all others do not have.

Also rights in general are absolutes. A right is a guarantee as defined by my dictionary. It is not a conditional guarantee. Without a condition means unconditional or absolute. The one possible exception maybe the condition about adhering to the social contract we all agree to as we grow up. We agree not to kill or steal, etc, and just so long as we do this we have and can keep our rights. I mean we still have these but we can lose one of our rights and that is the right to freedom. Capital punishment is never justified. It is just State sanctioned murder. While some do indeed lose their right to live (until a natural death) they should not. For the general case, put another way we still have these rights but not allowed to exercise them because we broke the law, assuming that the law was ethical. It may not be so. Incarceration takes away the fight to freedom/liberty but it is preferable when compared to death.

Actually, many crimes would not be committed at all if there were no poverty. If we could get rid of poverty then a lot of the crimes would go away. For that I believe we would have to get rid of the rich.

Rights are guaranteed to rational beings and doing harm such as murder and theft are the acts of irrational beings. There is an old saying ‘the right to swing my fist as I walk ends at your nose.’ This means I have the right to do anything just so long as it hurts nobody else. More specifically, it states I can do even dangerous or otherwise risky behavior at my own expense.

Inclusion versus knowing right from wrong is a part of the argument.

It seems that inclusion has become a big part of life in the United States, so much so, that it is being taught in our public schools.

Can we know right from wrong and be all inclusive simultaneously? Or are they mutually exclusive terms? I firmly believe that they are mutually exclusive and almost diametrically opposed. We can ‘accept’ people for who they are but that does not mean that we should give them special privileges or some would say rights. All people should be treated with respect and dignity but each one of us has a ‘cross’ to bear. We are all human and have things that are different about us. We are all unique. Do we all have the right to have our own personal rights, that is, different from others? Personal ‘rights’ are not rights if they are to be universalized. Personal rights are harder to justify than group rights. I do want to distinguish between personal rights as being different from each other is different than rights of the individual as being all the same rights. The former is not possible, in my mind and the latter is the way things should be.

One social norm is that society has been setup to operate in a family unit. Normalcy is required to coexist. There are societal norms. It is part of the social contract most of us grow up with. Without norms we have chaos.

Most of us are taught right from wrong growing up by our parents and other authority figures.

Inclusion says that everyone is just fine with me and I am just fine with everyone else, just so long as I am inclusive, too. That is if life is all about inclusion then there are no rights and wrongs. Ethics becomes a moot point if knowing right from wrong is deemed unnecessary or outright wrong. Why are we being asked to embrace anything we find abhorrent, whatever it is? This is insanity.

Some might say that they can coexist. They say inclusion in and of itself is right. Was Hitler Okay? Was any leader in history that murdered a number of its own citizens (or even citizens of another country)? These are extreme examples, granted. But it goes to show that there are limitations to inclusion. Inclusion is not something we can universalize. That is, we cannot have it applied to everyone the same. Therefore it is unethical.

One more example is that if I do believe that monogamy is not right and I believe that polygamy is right then do have the right to marry more than one person? Is there that right when all adults are consenting?  So long as we define marriage as between one man and one woman then the obvious answer is no.


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