Sadly, the people who really need to read this, won't bother. They're too busy screaming for More Free Stuff.
As to our neighbors, a right means that our actions should impose no harm or obligation on them, they are our actions for our lives. If your dream is to stay home and watch a brand new TV all day that is fine, but that that doesn't mean that I am obligated to buy it for you.
We have the right to liberty, to freedom. I do not personally believe that means that we are free from helping to reasonably support or maintain that which we use, our roads, our parks, our libraries, our schools. That does not mean we are free to shrug off responsibility for elderly parents or those children we bring into the world. But we have the right to expect that our efforts won't be wasted. We have the right not be forced by threat or law to give up our possessions or income or hand over our Second Amendment rights which protects the safety of that family or personal community we do provide for. We should not be forced to take the food off of our table, there from our own toil, to give to people who do not have the desire to produce, only to consume. Given with no measure of accountability that they will not come back to rob our table again.
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Or as John Locke defined it first, the right to property. Not the right to an object, but to the action and reward of producing and earning a product. Our founding fathers did not intend the issue of property to be a guarantee that all will have all they want, but only that if a man will own it if he earns it. It will be his to use, to keep or if he chooses, to give to another to help them in time of need.
There are many of ways the country could be improved. But it can NOT be improved by changing the principals on which our country was founded. For no matter what bitter forfeit a change in government may bring, the loss of our fundamental rights, affirmed by our Constitution, should not be part of it.
The American Revolution was a revolution of greater note than the battles fought and the words penned. One of the most revolutionary outcomes of the formation of the United States was the subordination of government to moral law, moving away from societies in which the citizens life belonged to those that ruled, and the freedoms he had were only that which the rulers decided by whim he might have that day, or that week. The recognition of man's individual rights by the Constitution limited the force of the power and greed of the states, protecting its citizens from an unwanted collective.
The United States was one of the first moral societies in history, all previous governments viewing their citizens as a sacrificial means to the ends of others, and society as an end to itself. Our founding fathers had taken note. They recognized two threats to a man's possessions, to his rights. One threat is a criminal. The other is a government. The most laudable accomplishment of our government when it was formed was its ability to draw a distinction between those two, thereby not allowing the second to become a sanctioned version of the activities of the first.
27 May 2012
"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Brigid just posted an excellent, in-depth analysis of that most famous American principle. Go read now.