|things as killing for food, evading capture,
defending territory, breeding, and so forth. Such things aren't rights.
They're only abilities, many of which we try to repress or regulate nowadays.
There are some natural abilities that we might want as rights. However,
there are other natural abilities that we'd prefer to omit from the agenda.
Just because something is within a person's natural abilities doesn't necessarily
mean that we want him to claim the thing as a right. To claim that
we should all be able to exercise our natural abilities as rights is absurd.
God-Given Rights The perception of God and spirituality today consists largely of many different rigid and parochial dogmas. In every sect, denomination, religion, or cult people claim to follow the One True Religion. Accordingly, members of each group declare a different set of "God-given rights". Worse yet, the claim that the declared rights come from God creates the perception of a mandate. That makes it easy to justify the conversion of the "God-given rights" into "God-given laws". After that, the forcible imposition of the "God-given laws" onto non-believers just naturally follows. The result isn't liberty. The result is arrogance, hypocrisy, intolerance, jihads, "holy wars", persecutions, pogroms, repression, and theocracies.
If God and spirituality were widely understood, then I suspect that the application of "God-given rights" to politics would be irrelevant. Indeed, in that case even politics itself might be irrelevant. However, for the foreseeable future "God-given rights" should be left in the churches, the synagogues, the temples, and so forth. There isn't any place today in politics for "God-given rights".
Civil Rights "Civil rights" are not rights. They are privileges. They are created, granted, and regulated by government. They exist under the jurisdictions of legislatures or of courts. Rights and "civil rights" are mutually exclusive conditions. When we mistakenly declare "civil rights" to be rights, then we confuse ourselves and give the government an irresistible tool with which to control us. "Civil rights" don't have any place in a discussion of rights.
Animal's Rights, Women's Rights, Children's Rights, Homosexual's Rights, Minority's Rights, Handicapped People's Rights, Commuter Lane User's Rights, Old People's Rights, Fat People's Rights, Prisoner's Rights, Patient's Rights, Shopper's Rights, Consumer's Rights, Victim's Rights, Snowmobiler's Rights, Hunter's Rights, Etc., Ad Nauseam Ideas such as these are a further degeneration of the general idea of "civil rights". They are not rights. They are privileges created, granted, and regulated by government. They don't have any place in a discussion of rights.
Rights I've observed that, even if I try to exclude such ideas as "God-given rights", "natural rights", "human rights", "civil rights" and so forth, then people STILL don't know what a right is. I ask them for a definition of rights and, instead, they give me a list of things that they believe ought to be rights. A list isn't a definition. Worse yet, everybody has a different list. Rights are going to be sought to everybody, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or anything else. Therefore, we need to be extremely careful and specific in what we declare to be a right. We don't want rights to become mandates, resulting in repression, stronger government, or intolerant special interest groups. We can't do that with a million different lists of so-called rights. We need a definition of actual rights that is general and unambiguous. For about ten years now, I've been proposing such a definition.
My definition of rights provides an objective test, independent of anybody's preconceived notion of what is "right and proper" and without regard for the agenda of any special interest group. Test something against the definition. If it satisfies the definition, then it's a right. If it doesn't satisfy the definition, then it isn't a right. The definition is general and unambiguous. It can be used to test any behavior or opinion. I recommend that we start to use it.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
Kind of Makes You Wonder During my childhood and adolescence, I regularly attended the Boldtville Presbyterian Church. Now don't get me wrong. It was a good experience. If we had more churches like that one today, and if more kids attended them, then we might have a better country. Nevertheless, while I was recently pondering the idea of "God-given rights" for the article Here I Go Again, I recognized an oddity in the teachings of the people at the Boldtville Presbyterian Church. I expect they might have overlooked it. Here it is. They taught that being in Heaven is defined as being in the presence of God. That seems like as good a definition as any. They also taught that God is everywhere, so that we're always in God's presence. That appears to be good doctrine. However, if the two teachings are simultaneously true, then we're already in Heaven. Whether we like it or not, this is as good as it's going to get.
Haunted I worked for the Nuclear Energy Division of the General Electric Company in San Jose, California from (as I recall) about 1971 to about 1981. A measure of the carelessness, incompetence, and neglect that I found there is that, after almost 25 years, I still regularly have distressing and even bizarre dreams about working there again.
Incongruity Executive Immunity is a contradiction in terms. Intellectual Property is a contradiction in terms.
Hard Times This country has fallen into such a state of political, legislative, and judicial disgrace that having been in jail is no longer necessarily perceived as disreputable.
Inconsistent Why do people complain so much about unsolicited advertisements in their e-mail when they are so willing to tolerate them on their televisions?
News Why didn't they use the Emergency Alert System on September 11, 2001?
No Problem If you don't like all this "health food" that they're trying to make us eat nowadays, all you have to do is add enough salt, butter, and sugar and you can completely transform it back to normal.
A White Man's Notes
Letter to the Editor
Steve; Santa Rosa, California
My thanks to the following: Sir James the Bold, SantaClara Bob, Lady Jan the Voluptuous, and Joseph, of Northridge, California.
Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
Dear Constitutional Scholar
I don't know, but wasn't they more than four of 'em?
You Know You're In California When ....
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