Friday, February 10, 2012

Rights and Privileges

I believe, firmly, that the Rights do not come from the Government.  I also believe that anything that is a Right, can not actually cost anything.  Take Religion, or Speech, or Gun Ownership.  On the whole, those do not cost the individual a dime unless they want to pay.  Yes the Church expects you to tithe, but at the end of the day you have to want to give that money.  The same can be said for the Right to own firearms.  You have to want to own a firearm, but if you want to have a gun, by all means go and get one.  

How about the Right to speedy trial?  This one is *sadly* forgotten too often now a days, as the courts can take months or years to hear and decide cases, but on the face of it, this one does cost money, as does the Right to trial by Jury.  The cost here is something that you have to weigh with the larger wrong of Kangaroo Courts.  Which is worse, a moderate cost of money and time, or untold innocent people sent to jail.  As it stands we labor intensely to make sure that no innocent man goes to jail.  Mistakes can be made, but not as many as Hollywood would like you to believe. 

What about the right to be silent if you feel that the answer might incriminate you?  Yeah the 5th Amendment might be annoying as hell in corruption cases, but it prevents a larger wrong of compelling a person to speak, and possible talk him or herself into a conviction.  People say stupid things when their nervous.  What about the Right to Due Process?  Again this one is a no brainer.  It makes sure that all prescribed steps are followed, before sentences are handed down. 

What about the Right to Healthcare?  Well tell me how much does that Cost?  Lets start with doctors education.  About $150-$200K easy.  That doesn't include the Nurses techs, and all the support staff, and their training.  Now think about the supplies used.  Drugs aren't cheap.  Neither are sterile 2x2's 4x4's or blood products, IV bags, etc.  Even the oxygen costs money.  (FYI the air you are breathing right now is +/- 21% oxygen.  The air that comes out of a tank is 100%).  That doesn't even go into the cost of the electricity to keep the heart monitors, lights, and CT/MRI/X-ray machines running.  Yes.  Healthcare actually does cost.  A LOT.  It costs more when you begin to realize that you and that other guy that paid are paying for three people that didn't.  This is, of course, figured into the cost of your care.  

What about food?  FDR was big on this one.  A Chicken in Every Pot, as the saying went (it may seem like small potatoes to us now but during the great depression that was HUGE).  Again, while we would like to feed everyone everywhere someone somewhere is going to have to pay for it.  But even starvation (in America at least) is something that's highly over blown.  Stop me if you've heard this one.  Fat guy, with his very obese wife and very obese kids walks into Mikey-D's and pays with food stamps.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is the only country I can think of where the poor people are fat and the rich are skinny.  I mean how many meals can you be skipping if you weigh in excess of 200 pounds?  If you compare that to kids in Africa I don't buy for a second that poverty in America is as horrendous as we are lead to believe.  So they can't afford nice things, that sucks, but come on, they're alive and (obviously) well fed.  

We have a very serious problem in this country.  It's not the war we're *still* fighting, and though the huge debt and deficit is a problem, that is more a symptom of the larger problem we face right now.  We have forgotten or mixed up our Rights and Privileges.  A Privilage is something you get to do, but can be taken away from you.  Take Occupy Wall Street, and their many sympathetic responses in other cities.  It is a Privilege, that you are allowed to continue this protest.  It has already been demonstrated in Oakland, LA, New York, and DC that these people are a menace.  There have been Rapes, and Thefts a plenty, and the sheer sanitation issue should have caused civic leaders to close down these events long ago.  Be that as it may, they are allowed to continue at the tolerance of their local government and local citizens.   They do not have a Right to vagrancy.  

Likewise when the police finally do move in many of the Unwashed, feel the need to "resist".  Though they will say peacefully, I would argue otherwise.  Again there is no Right to keep you from being arrested for "using your Freedom of Speech".  Indeed, I could be drunk off my ass and telling everyone that "I hate [insert racial epitaph here] i wish they would all [bleep] Die"  believe it or not even though that speech is protected I can still be arrested.  Drunk and Disorderly.  Sucks.  But back to the Unwashed Masses, if you impede the police from doing their duty, unless said duty involves shooting babies, or flinging cats off a bridge, you do not have the Right to resist.  You certainly can do that, but have to understand that there will be consequences to your actions.  

It has become increasingly clear that we have no clue what the hell the founders meant anymore.  Take the example of cruel and unusual punishment.  I take it to mean that if I steal I'm not going to have my right hand (the hand you don't wipe with in Arab culture) taken off.  I do not take it to mean that if I commit a crime I'm going to get a nice cozy cell with cable TV or else I have to be released.  When the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decreed that California had to release 32,000 inmates because of overcrowding I went to look. These men were in open bays with wall lockers.  If the 9th Circuit court wanted to see over crowding they should have seen COP Bushmaster 1, where we'd stick 20 guys in a room, where there was barely any room to fit said 20 cots.  Cruel and Unusual Punishment does not protect one from harship they might have to face because they committed a crime. 

What our country is, what our values are, are slowly eroding.  We have lost the JFK's that told you to go out and do for your fellow man, and accepted the Clinton and Obama's that feel its somehow a crime if the government does not make sure your every little need is met.  Our Rights have become this jumble of misunderstood ideologies, which have somehow translated into "do whatever the hell you want and if anyone tries to stop you they're obviously Nazi Fascists!".  "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" is replaced by "where's the Gub'ment?"   Here's a news flash.  There are 600 people making policy in Washington.  There are 300 MILLION Americans.  Even if the Government wanted to there's no way in hell it can even begin to address every single citizen's needs or wishes.  It is not a Right, that the Federal Government will save you from your bad decisions.  Nor is it a Privilege.  

When it comes to the Constitution, I think more Americans need to actually RTFM (Read the F**king Memo) or this society is doomed.   


Rob said...

Well said sir, well said. What we need is to get 300 million to vote to change out the 600 in D.C.

The Mad Medic said...

You can change Washington all you want, until you change the culture of depending on the federal government for every need (large and small) you will continue to see this problem. Besides the Federal Government was only ever supposed to deal with things states couldn't. Interstate Commerce, foreign trade, War, Treaty, etc.

Until you change the national mindset you'll never change Washington.

Rob said...

So very true. Another stop and makes you think moment.