Friday, February 24, 2012

What Right Is This That Men Make But Do Not Honor?

Let us start from first principles, and accept the premise that -- as was put in the Declaration of Independence -- we are all equal and endowed with unalienable rights. Let us also say that any American citizen, nay, any human being, can be said to claim such rights implicitly.

If we have posited such, and we accept such, and this fundamental ideal is the basis upon which a nation was founded and forged, what business have any of us to declaim against it?

To be fair, we have every right, by the Constitution of the United States, to say what we will in regards to individual liberty and freedom. Any opinion may be expressed; any thought may be, though not must be, shared in regards to it.

However... while we might rant and rail about specific formulations and values of said unalienable rights, we are not given leave to strip those rights from others, merely upon our say-so or the say-so of others. That they are proclaimed "unalienable" means they are not forfeit, not subject to the vagaries of human foible. Though one or all among us might proclaim them limited, their very essence proclaims them beyond the pale.

So, if we take the Founding Fathers at their word, those rights are ours and so on in perpetuity. Those rights may be regulated, where some of us would presume that our rights are superior and therefore should attempt to subject all of us to their whim, but to strip them as to leave none intact is a barbarity that turns citizens into slaves.

As such, the attempts of some legislative bodies in our nation to take the unalienable right to the control and disposition of one's own body -- specifically where one is a woman or of the female gender -- and remove their freedom of action is tyrannical. It is anathema to the spirit and law of the nation. It is a reckless and ruinous attempt to bend the will of women into a subservience that only in the last one hundred years they have managed to dig themselves out of.

The same can be said of the attempt to place those who identify as homosexuals from enjoying the same level of rights and privilege as all other Americans. Where we define things as matters of the State, and where the State is tasked with ensuring that such things are distributed equally to all, how can it be that we deny some the same rights as others? At every level, we have known this to be wrong: with blacks, with native tribes, with women, with immigrants. How can we claim that now another group is deserving of such shoddy treatment in the face of such factual and historical knowledge?

If one wishes to not avail themselves of certain medical procedures, or live their life in a certain circumspect fashion, owing to their personal feelings or beliefs, then they should -- and do -- have the freedom to do so. But as belief is the province of the individual, so is the right of self-determination, and one's beliefs do not automatically supersede those of others, despite what those beliefs might impute. The right of the individual, where such a right does not trample upon the self-same rights of all individuals, is paramount.

Of course, where we come to governance, the rights of the individual must be balanced against the rights of our society as a whole. Where this is true, liberality is preferable to close-fisted adherence. The litmus test must be the effect of the thing on society as a whole, where such effect is broad and direct. More often than not, outside the realm of those who commit crimes, the effect of the thing lays upon the individual's doorstep, not out own. It is disingenuous to claim that the thing affects those who have no direct tie to it, save in a tenuous and ephemeral fashion.

Ultimately, enough things find confluence in our society, that we are all affected, to a degree, and that is where government is tasked to ensure such effects are not deleterious. The government must, in this process, ensure that at no point is the effect so disproportionate to the measures designed to deal with it, that it can be said to remove our unalienable rights. We will be asked to tacitly support some things we do not, ourselves, see as necessary or desirable, but that should be done so only where the greater good will be directly influenced, not where such are in the realm of caprice. The ultimate goal of our unity is the resolution and equality of all things across society.

The diversity of belief, opinion, and action is out greatest strength, where we do not choose to impose it unnecessarily on everyone. Our unalienable rights start and end with us. Where you choose to tread upon those rights in others, you no longer deserve them yourself, and it is oafish hypocrisy to claim otherwise. All people are not subject to your whim, where they have the right, paid for in blood, to be free. It is time to end the continual perfidy that comes of intolerance for the beliefs of others and learn to live within the bounds of the human community as it is.

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