The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Right Or Wrong?

We, in the States, have rights that are secured by restrictions on government actions. This is a Good Thing. But I fear it has led to people misunderstanding what rights we have.

 The Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to our constitution) covers Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Religion, the Right to own and bear arms, the Right to avoid self-incrimination, the Right to a speedy trial, and so on. The Bill of Rights enshrines these by denying the right of government to legislate against them. But that doesn't mean they cannot, or do not, try. (See all amendments.) The Fourteenth Amendment has been ruled to extend the protections/restrictions to the states and local governments.

But what, exactly, is (for instance) the right of Freedom of Speech? If you do not like what someone wants to say can you, as a citizen, refuse to allow them to speak? To a great extent, the answer is "yes." You do not have to put them on the air if you own a radio or TV station, for example. Can you shout them down? Apparently the right to protest allows this, though it seems rude to do it. And the Supreme Court has extended the Freedom of Speech to any and all expression, not just political speech (as I had always thought the Founders meant to protect).

I was driving home from our county's recycling center (where I had dropped off some non-working electronic devices) and had a radio talk show on. The host made a statement about rights. He said (as near as I remember), "Marriage is not a right; it's a rite." which he followed up with something about the government doesn't belong in the marriage business. Something I agree with*, by the way, but for slightly different reasons than those the host provided. But he offered something to think about:

The government provides licenses for business, for driving, to sell alcohol, etc... as well as marriage licenses. And they sometimes take those licenses away... except for marriage... because of wrongdoing. A poor driver who gets a bunch of tickets? We can take your driver's license away. Cheat your customers? We can take your business license away. Sell alcohol to minors?  We can take your liquor license away. But abuse your spouse (repeatedly)? Nope, not unless the spouse demands the license be nullified.

At one time, the only way that license could be nullified was by proving one spouse violated the oaths espoused at the altar (or in the county clerk's office... or at the Justice of the Peace's office) in a court of law.

The host acknowledge the issues of property division (as do I) when the marriage is dissolved. We both recognize that need for government to be involved. But, as I say at that linked post above, that does not require the government to be involved at the time of the marriage's inception... except as a potentially interested party.

What are our rights anyway? What do you think they are? Do you think we have only those rights delineated in the Constitution? Or do you think there are a number of rights that aren't mentioned? Do you have a right to food? To medical care? To housing? Can you offer other rights?

*If you agree with my proposal about civil unions, I urge you to use that link in comments or otherwise tell people about it.


Tom Sightings said...

I don't know if I agree with your proposal about civil unions. Maybe . . . it's just all too mind-bending for me to get my arms around the issue.

But I do agree with your previous post -- at least insofar as I think it's incredibly narcissistic for us humans to believe we will wipe out all life on earth. We may end up destroying ourselves, but the cockroaches will survive.

Douglas said...

Tom, you always write such thoughtful comments. I do not ask that you agree with my proposal (on civil unions), only that if you do then join me in spreading the idea.

And, yeah, if you have ever had a cockroach infestation, you know how tough those little critters are.