Sunday, September 13, 2009

U.S. Government "Gives" Rights

The article calls them "new rights." By "new" I suppose they mean within the last thousand years, since they seem to me to be ingrained in the U.S. Constitution (1787 A.D.) and Magna Carta (1215 A.D.). More ancient precedents probably exist, but I don't see the need in looking for them.

Only in the entire scope of human existence, would these rights qualify as "new" (or at least "newer").

Let's take a look at these revolutionary "new" rights. They include
  1. The right to challenge indefinite detention without conviction for any crime.
  2. The right to call witnesses on one's behalf.

Also, the article's title uses the verb "give" as in "U.S. gives rights." This is a grave error, though its implications are not always clear to the ignorant.

Governments don't give rights. They choose whether to respect or violate rights. You're born with your rights. As Jefferson said, they are "endowed by their Creator."

It is an improvement for the government to begin respecting some rights. However, this improvement is lessened if we believe that the government is the source of these rights--and that's the suggestion by the verb "give."

P.S. I'm not saying that I have much (if any) sympathy for those guilty of terrorism. However, justice requires that we follow due process before distributing punishments.

Choosing when, where, and to whom justice applies means that, eventually, justice will apply never, nowhere, and to no one.

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