What Are Human Rights?

There has been much debate this past week over Florida removing Disney’s special tax and governing provisions and as it went on it occurred to me that the concept of “rights” isn’t properly understood in America these days by a lot of people. We know that the Left doesn’t understand the concept at all, but even many on the Right seem to be pretty hazy on the subject. So, let’s take a stab at defining what a right is:

A human right is something that an individual inherently has: to determine if something is yours by right, you must consider whether or not any human being, at least in potential, can think, say or do a thing on their own: if they can, it is almost certainly a right. If thinking, saying or especially doing something requires the cooperation of one or more additional people, it isn’t a right but a privilege.

In our Declaration, we assert that we are endowed by God with these rights. It isn’t necessary to believe in God to hold that rights are inherent, but it is a lot easier if you do. The main thing about it, though, is the assertion that a human being, as such, simply has them. They aren’t granted, they are secured. And that is the crucial thing – because we go on to assert that governments are instituted among men to secure our rights. That’s the only purpose of government: to make sure that everyone’s rights are secured: left up for debate is just how to secure the rights, but that the individual has the rights and government must secure them to be legitimate is a bit of dogma absent which the United States has no reason for existing.

It is also important to remember that rights are individual in nature. They don’t adhere to a group: they adhere to you and me, as people, simply because we are people. There are no black rights or gay rights or women’s rights: there are only human rights and only individual human beings have them.

What has gone very wrong in America over the past century, and especially the last fifty years or so, is the loss of this understanding of human rights, and what our government is supposed to be doing. When a Leftist says that the Constitution doesn’t give you a right to own a machine gun, all he’s doing is talking drivel. Of course it doesn’t give you a right to a machine gun. It doesn’t give you anything. It secures all your rights (or, that is what it is supposed to do). To say it doesn’t specifically authorize machine gun ownership, or their other argument that gun ownership is dependent upon militia membership (with the further assertion that the militia is now the standing Army) is to talk nonsense. The Constitution also doesn’t specifically say I can have a ham sandwich – and I doubt anyone will try to enact common sense ham sandwich control. I have, as a human being, the inherent right to do anything that any individual human being has the potential to do on their own: as long as I’m not required to obtain the consent of another to do a thing, then I get to do it and the only purpose of government is to secure my right to do it.

I can thus own any property that someone wishes to sell me. I can say whatever I want. I can believe whatever I want. I can go in the public domain anywhere I wish. I don’t have to account for my actions to anyone unless I’ve tried to take something from them (ie, their life, their liberty or their property). Most people don’t get this concept: that we are all free agents. We’re not supposed to have to fill out a form. We don’t need permission. To take it to a small level as an example: in most places, every year you have to re-register your car and pay for the privilege of not getting a traffic ticket while driving your property in the public domain. What possible argument can be made that I, as a person, should have to tell the government what I own? Why should I have to pay each year to tell them what I own? I have an inherent right as a person to own a car and that’s the end of it. You might reasonably be able to tell me that I have to keep it on the roads, that I can’t exceed certain speeds as a means to protect the rights of others on the roads…but you don’t need to know if I own a particular car. But we’ve grown so used to this sort of thing that we don’t even see it for the imposition that it is. And because we do things like register cars, the Left says it is reasonable to register our guns. And, hey, please have your child fill out this form telling the government what religion you are and what language is spoken at home. One thing leads to another, doesn’t it?

The Left makes their arguments because they (a) don’t know what a right is and (b) haven’t the foggiest notion of how the United States Constitution and government are supposed to function.

But it also infects the Right. Plenty of voices rose up as Florida removed Disney’s special protections to say that we on the Right are violating Disney’s right to free speech. They are asserting that Disney corporation, in engaging in the debate about sex education in school, was merely exercising its right to free speech and to take away Disney’s tax breaks was unjustly punishing speech. This is an absurdity. Disney is a publicly traded corporation with hundreds of thousands of employees…it is a collective thing and thus has no rights at all. All it has are privileges…and the Florida legislature has decided to revoke some of those privileges. Each Disney employee is, of course, free to say whatever they want – and the employees of Disney are also empowered to range their corporation on any side of the political spectrum they wish. Nobody can make the least move against any individual Disney employee for speaking out…but the collective entity called Disney has no rights and, as it enters the political debate, it is entirely legitimate for their political opponents to use their constitutional powers against the Disney entity. In this case, the power inherent in government to decide what the tax bill is going to be.

These days, we’re so used to asking permission to do things that even many on the Right seem to think that as long as you can go to court and have a judge say you can do a thing, you’re free. But that isn’t how it is supposed to work. It isn’t for me, as an individual, to argue I have a right – it is for those who say I don’t to argue that I don’t have it. Like this: what was wrong in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case was that the owner of the shop had to defend himself. He had to go through a long, tortuous, expensive legal process just to get a judge to say, “hey, turns out he as an individual doesn’t have to bake a cake if he doesn’t want to”. Do you see how utterly ridiculous that is? Who the hell was anyone to think, even for a moment, that they had the right to tell a person they must do anything? Free people can’t be told to do something they don’t want to do. The end. The whole case should have been five minutes:

Plaintiff: Your honor, I want that man to bake me a cake.

Judge: Defendant, do you want to bake the Plaintiff a cake?

Defendant: No.

Judge: Ok, sorry, Plaintiff, he doesn’t want to do it. Case dismissed. Oh, and Plaintiff: you owe the Defendant his legal costs.

But because we’ve got into this “mother, may I?” attitude, it went on for years. And because it was allowed to go on for years, the people trying to destroy Masterpiece Bakeshop simply tried again and again with different plaintiffs and slightly different arguments. But they all came down to the same absurdity: an assertion that Person A has a right to order Person B to do something. That in this or that circumstance, a person loses their rights as an individual depending on the supposed need of another individual.

We must get back to the understanding of human rights – it will be crucial as we reform America. The old America we grew up in (and especially that, say, our grandparents knew) is gone. We’re at the crossroads where we are going to decide if America will remain free, or become a quasi-Socialist society of Rulers and Ruled. But for us to recreate a free America, then Americans are going to have to re-learn what being free means. They’ll need to re-learn, that is, that we don’t need permission. My grandfather used to make massive business deals on a handshake. There was no contract. There were no lawyers involved. They were free, adult Americans presumed by all concerned to be in full possession of their faculties and so if the deal went belly up they’d all take their lumps and move on. They didn’t need to fill out a government permission form (and the very concept would have amazed them): they saw their opportunity to make money and agreed to give it a try. We must restore that mental attitude – something in the mind which assumes we’re all able to do a thing without permission from anyone save those directly involved.

Because if we don’t, then even our victory over the current Left will be hollow – unless people are imbued with a spirit of liberty, they won’t remain free. They won’t, that is turn from Marx to Madison, but from Marx to Franco. In the end, Franco is still vastly better than Marx…but Madison is better than both, by a long shot.

ACAB

You’ve seen that. Especially in 2020 you saw it scrawled everywhere when a BLM/Antifa riot took place. If by some chance you still don’t know what it means:

All Cops Are Bastards.

This is not true and grossly unfair. But we do have a problem, folks.

Those of you of a certain age remember The World at War: A BBC series about WWII and they devoted one episode specifically to the Holocaust. I recall that one of the people interviewed was a former camp guard who described how horrified he was when he first witnessed the gassing of Jews. What the story doesn’t go on to do is tell you that the man fled his post and started an anti-Nazi resistance. That story isn’t told because it didn’t happen. As the man was told by a more experienced hand, eventually you just get used to it. Very likely, the horrified young man got used to it. Maybe later he came to regret it. Maybe he regretted it all along. But the most important thing for the Nazi regime is that he went ahead and did it.

Now, why that particular Fritz became a camp guard, we don’t know. I suspect a lot of them joined the SS-Totenkopfverbande because it kept them out of the Army or the Waffen SS (though the Nazis did cull a division of soldiers out of the camp guards). And, once in, there were various pressures on them – especially anyone who didn’t immediately get enthusiastic about the work (some did: being such a guard drawing out latent sadistic streaks). You could, of course, get in simple trouble is you disobeyed. You could lose your job. Lose your pension. Find it hard to obtain other employment. So, almost all of them just went along with it. There are only few tales of concentration camp guards being at all kindly (hardly any tales of Soviet camp guards, either, and for the exact same reasons). But the main thing to keep in mind is that they weren’t drawn from the pool of wicked Germans – they were drawn from Germans, as such. They were just regular folks. People you wouldn’t look twice at.

I bring this up because a little before I sat down, word came out that the Canadian police are starting to crack down on the truck protestors. We don’t know how it will come out – maybe the truckers will still prevail. I have my doubts: they have no guns. There is nothing, that is, to scare the Canadian government with. The officials of government won’t go short of anything – they can wait out the truckers who will eventually have to go back to work to feed their families. And if the truckers do break, you can rely on it that they’ll be slandered and hounded by government.

But the real problem is the police. If there is a crackdown, the cops have to do it…and early reports indicate that the police are obeying orders. I’m sure all of them took some oath somewhere along the line where they pledged to defend the rights of Canadians. But what is that compared to the possibility of getting in trouble? Of losing your job or pension? Sure, maybe you’re horrified at it all – and maybe you even hold back and don’t make any arrests yourself…but you don’t stop it. Just like the Germans of yore, they’ll just go along with it, which works out to de-facto approval and assistance to oppression.

I’ve long had my doubts about our own police – especially the blue city police. Ever since Eric Garner was killed by the cops for selling “loosies” my understanding of the police has altered. I used to be Back the Blue. But am I supposed to back a blue which allows itself to be turned into tax collectors for upper class NYC busybodies who don’t want the poors to smoke? “The law says”. Sure it does. But you’re not supposed to care what an unjust law says. In the Uniform Code of Military Justice is it spelled out: no member of the armed forces is obligated to obey an unlawful order. This was inserted into US military law after WWII precisely to remove “I was only obeying orders” as an excuse for crime. Any cop who can’t or won’t see that putting a choke hold on a guy for selling untaxed cigarettes is an unlawful order isn’t worthy of being in any police force. Seriously: at most they should have ticketed the guy and moved on. But even that is ridiculous – real police who take an oath to defend the people would have told their superiors to get stuffed. They simply would not have enforced a stupid tax law about cigarettes.

But then you might lose your promotion, your job, your pension. You might get into legal trouble yourself. See the problem?

Any official organization has this fundamental weakness: those employed by it are at the mercy of those running the government. And we know what sort of people gravitate to government: the power mad and the corrupt. This is not to say that everyone in elective office is a psychopath, but a huge number of them are and all of them sat down one day and said to themselves, “you know who would be best to lead? Me!!!”: that right there is proof of at least a partially unbalanced mind. No fully sane person would ever think themselves fit to lead. So, what you’ve got in government agencies – all of them – are people who’s livelihood is dependent upon pleasing people who have a high propensity to lunacy. This is not a good thing.

And, really, its been in front of us all along. Think about how many police scandals you’ve heard of in your life. Military scandals. Bureaucratic scandals. People taking and giving bribes. Committing and covering up crimes. Giving special deals to political cronies. On and on it goes: because the people who actually work the levers of power are beholden to people who are often insane and just as often corrupt to the bone. And, of course, to rise to the top of the bureaucratic structure, you proved ages before that you play ball – that you know who is to be allowed to skate, what corrupt deals you are to turn a blind eye to.

Our problem is that these sorts of people – weak willed subordinates with police power, corrupted senior officials and lunatic/thief elected officials – have at their disposal local law enforcement, State law enforcement, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, Homeland Security…on and on and on like that. They have the power to snoop, harass, arrest. To not use these powers against regular folks who question them they’d have to be positively holy. How many Saints do you think work for our government at any given time? The temptation to abuse power is enormous, the fear of crossing it immense.

Think about what they are doing to the 1/6 detainees. Think about that poor SOB they arrested after Benghazi. Think about the number of innocent people who have been sentenced even to death by corrupt law enforcement officials. And then add to this an MSM which is a mere propaganda arm of this class of people – in other words, no matter how wicked they are, they can rely on the MSM to cover it up, at least as long as possible, and then downplay it if it happens to come out. You start thinking of yourself as brilliant and bulletproof in that situation.

And, so: ACAB.

An unfair accusation in the specific sense, but all too apt in the general. If we were confident that even 60 percent of the police wouldn’t obey an unlawful order, we’d be ok. But how many of us have that level of confidence? Remember we used to think the FBI was made up of stalwart patriots who were ruled over by corrupt political fools…but, if so, where are the FBI agents resigning over the corruption at the top? Coming forward to spill the beans not against the latest target of Ruling Class ire, but spilling it about those inside the FBI who are corrupt? It doesn’t happen. And, sure, I’ll bet when a fresh-faced FBI agent first comes across the garbage he’s horrified…but, you can get used to anything after a while. If you don’t join in the corruption then you ignore it, take on protective coloring, fade into the background and simply don’t look at the dirt.

Our Progressive friend’s battle cry was “Defund the Police”. What they really meant by that – most police being controlled by Progressives – was “move cop money to this or that grift I’ve got going”. Our cry must be “Abolish the Police.” We need to entirely rethink how laws get enforced and how public safety is maintained. One thing certain is that we know we can’t afford a large, professional, permanent law enforcement bureaucracy. It is incompatible with morality and liberty.

I’m not entirely sure how we do this, but my preliminary thought is to place primary law enforcement on elected Sheriffs and city Marshals. Elected, never appointed. Term limited. With only a small professional staff. Oregon is one of the least policed States with approximately 1.6 copes per thousand residents. I think we’re going to have to reduce that by a factor of about ten. So, instead of New York State having a total of 62,000 copes, make it 6,200 full time, paid professional police. The people who will be charged with investigating crimes more than preventing crime – the preventing, I think, is going to have to be something we, the people do. Some sort of volunteer or part-time citizens militia which patrols its own local communities (seriously: me and a few other guys from my development here in Las Vegas take it in turn to patrol nightly): it is the patrols which keeps crime at bay, anyways. The thought of a cop a phone call and five miles away doesn’t deter a burglar nearly as much as shotgun-armed Joe Blow passing by that house every few minutes while he patrols his neighborhood. And you’d still have a small, professional police force to provide backup…so if Joe Blow sees a guy breaking in and feels he can’t take them, he’d call for police backup.

Whatever we do, we can’t continue as we have. Our lives and liberties are at too high a risk under the current system. New times call for new thinking – and Back the Blue is fully obsolete.

Tyranny is Our Future

One way or another, the end of freedom as we’ve known it is coming – the only question before us is what sort of tyranny will replace the freedom we used to enjoy. And I mean “used to” in the sense that what you think of as freedom – what older folks, especially, grew up understanding as freedom – is already gone. You already can’t say or do quite a lot of things that you or our parents and grandparents used to do.

This is in the nature of things, after all: freedom always breeds license and license creates a chaos which begs an end to liberty. Human being are very bad at keeping an even keel over the long term. It isn’t that most of us tend to an extreme but that enough of us do that a corrective has to be applied to everyone. This time is a little different from the historical precedent, though, in that some of the chaos-generators are doing it precisely to make freedom intolerable as preparation for the imposition of the tyranny they prefer. These are the people of the Left.

And our choices will be a Left tyranny, or a Right tyranny. The possibility of returning to the level of freedom we had in, say, 1960, is extremely low. I actually believe it is impossible – mostly because that level of liberty was only possible because most people alive in 1960 were still keeping to the old moral code: they tolerated those pushing the boundaries in 1960. They shouldn’t have, as it turns out – but, there you go: it happened. Because in the 60 years since the old moral code has been discarded by nearly everyone (most especially those charged with maintaining it), we simply can’t get back to that level of liberty. There’s no basis for it: there is, that is, no stable, moral society as a base from which the experimenters can dare to stretch out.

Naturally, I prefer a Right tyranny. Not least because Right tyranny normally develops into ordered liberty. Left tyranny, especially now, looks to be both permanent and increasingly insane in it’s demands. We’ve seen the rapid trajectory these past ten years where what was completely out-there stuff is now being enforced in our institutions as the most ancient and settled dogma. They won’t stop: the whole thing of the Left is that it must always go further Left, mostly because the Left always fails and the Leftist cannot conceive of any reason for failure other than they didn’t go far enough. Attached to this – and sometimes dominating it – is the need for enemies. You have to go ever further Left so that you can have someone around who didn’t go there fast enough and so can now be built up as an enemy to be destroyed. So, I want a Right tyranny not because it is better than freedom, but because I can’t have freedom and so I’ll pick the least offensive poison.

And part of the reason we can’t have freedom (for a while: a right tyranny will eventually produce freedom, though it may take a while) is because we made one very crucial mistake, as a civilization: we presumed that liberty was an end. It isn’t. It is a means to an end: the end being a just society. Our trouble on the right has been our assumption that if we just defend liberty and give people an example of the happiness and prosperity that freedom generates, they would naturally drop their non-liberty ideologies and join us. It didn’t work out that way because we didn’t realize the most crucial aspect of human nature: we are Fallen. Rather astounding that those on the Right could forget this, but it was forgotten. I mostly put it down to those on the Right since, say, WWII, not being true Rightists. They were really Liberals who were in a rearguard defense of the 19th century. Be that as it may, the fact that humanity is Fallen was forgotten and left out of all calculations and so we weren’t prepared for people who can see, with their own eyes, the happiness and prosperity and reject it in favor of something else. Not because the something else was superior, but simply because it was something else…and most importantly, something else that they would be in charge of.

We always needed a corrective to unfettered liberty. We needed a way of stopping those with an evil idea from suckering the ill-informed into joining their evil idea. We needed, in the end, something like the Inquisition to root out heresy (in this case, political heresy) to simply make sure that when a Maoist came to town, he was run out of town on a rail before he could use slick marketing to convince the citizen of a free and prosperous Republic that what was needed was a bit of murderous Cultural Revolution. If we get a Right tyranny, this will be the main mark of it: a complete assault on all Left ideas to expunge them from the public square. That is what will actually justify the Right tyranny and what will cause it to cling to power beyond it’s time: the necessity of excising from the polity the idea that the ideas of a 19th century lunatic German are superior to 2,000 years of Western, Christian civilization.

We’ll see how this comes out. I will still work as if we can preserve freedom and maybe by some miracle we are able to do so…but the most likely outcome is one side or the other scoring a big victory, and then simply imposing itself on the other side. Both sides will be forced to this: because they cannot coexist. One or the other will eventually have to go.

The Big Government Economy-Killer

From Real Clear Politics:

From Peter Schiff’s prepared remarks to Congress. Schiff is the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital.

In my own business, securities regulations have prohibited me from hiring brokers for more than three years. I was even fined fifteen thousand dollar expressly for hiring too many brokers in 2008. In the process I incurred more than $500,000 in legal bills to mitigate a more severe regulatory outcome as a result of hiring too many workers. I have also been prohibited from opening up additional offices. I had a major expansion plan that would have resulted in my creating hundreds of additional jobs. Regulations have forced me to put those jobs on hold...

Not that I’m too interested in bigger financial firms…but the main thing is to understand that more people would be working today if government didn’t have insane regulations.  It is like this all up and down the economy…pushing up costs, driving down wages, ensuring that businesses either never get started, or don’t expand if they already exist.

It is time, I think, for a re-codification of US law.  Figure out what we really want as law, pass that and in that same act repeal every other law and regulation on the books.  A bit of wisdom and we can probably do the whole thing in a couple hundred pages…and dispose of tens of thousands of pages which serve only to empower un-elected bureaucrats and give lobbyists the ability to create or expand loopholes for those who have deep pockets and no honor.  This isn’t, by the way, about changing the Constitution in any way…just repealing all the laws and regulations we currently have and replacing them with a smaller number of laws, easily understandable by all Americans.

Simplicity and predictability of law is required for their to be justice…and, indeed, respect for law.  By doing things like fining someone for hiring “too many” employees, all we’re doing is engendering contempt for law.  The next firm so situated will just try to bribe their way out of it (via donations and lobbyists to write special rules just for them), or they’ll open up the firm in a foreign country.  The average people are also losing their respect for law…and how can it be otherwise when each of us likely violates several federal laws and regulations each day?  Tear down the legal and regulatory structure and replace it…that is the only way we’re going to clear out this part of the mess.