“My Rights” vs. Government

questioning

On a blog that I follow, there has been extensive discussion related to COVID vaccinations. However, as is often the case, the conversation swerved a bit when an individual addressed the role the government plays — not only in this pandemic but in society as a whole. 

The person prefaced his comment thus: 

And for the record: I’m not a Trump supporter, nor a Republican, nor a Democrat, nor a Constitutionalist (though I agree with the principles espoused in the DOI), nor a Libertarian (in the political sense).

He then added …

At heart, I’m an anarchist — in the strict dictionary sense (i.e., “a person who advocates the abolition of government and a social system based on voluntary cooperation”).

Later in his comment, he asks …

I mean what is wrong with a view that government should have some very limited functions like protecting all citizens from violence but we should keep it in check so people can by and large live and think how they like?

Does it seem to you that this individual is downplaying the need for government and instead prefers a more unrestrained way of living? That’s how I read it. Of course, he’s definitely not alone as this same mantra is being expressed daily by thousands in discussions related to the COVID situation (i.e., masks and vaccines).

But it doesn’t stop there. Again and again we see instances of individuals doing things and making decisions (and even laws) based on the philosophy that it’s their “RIGHT.”

One wonders … is this the certain inalienable rights the Constitution talks about? And how far does this form of self-government extend? Can we truly live as a society where concern for one’s own welfare –and total disregard of others– is the norm? 

Do the people who embrace this philosophy ever consider the long-term consequences?

Inquiring minds want to know.

60 thoughts on ““My Rights” vs. Government

  1. Well, I have the right to practice my religion of cannibalistic atheism which demands I eat infant humans. And the “man”, i.e. the government, has NO business stepping on my RIGHT to practice MY religion the way I want to do it!!!! So, THERE!!! My rights out weigh your rights not to have me eat your babies!!! Thank goodness for freedom and the American way!

    Liked by 10 people

    • Hello inspiredbythedivine1. Seems to me you are a job creator. Do you have a regular supplier of infants or do you take competitive bids? From what I have heard on misleading right wing media there is a open market for such items. I will need to know your demand level before I can submit a bid for supplying your need. That is the capitalist way. I will get back to you with a business proposal soon. 😀🤣😆😉 Hugs

      Liked by 5 people

    • Any time I hear someome tell authority figures about their ‘rights’ to do what they want or to violate the rights of others to get where they’re going, I really wonder what loose screw came out of their brain…

      We seem to have forgotten what our mothers taught us decades ago: “play nice, you have to share.”

      Any time someone wants to do something squishy, “my rights” comes up. “It’s my right to shout you down because YOU are boring” It’s my right to ignore crosswalks because I don’t want to use it. it’s to faaarrr away…” and then they sue the taxi driver who ran over their foot.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. Nan, as an old fart, I have learned some folks will say things because they are provocative to say, but when you dive down deeper, you ask do you really believe that or are just saying it? This week I read a poll that some folks would not mind a more autocratic person to protect their freedoms. Yet, when you think of that, those two items are at odds. A more autocratic person will gradually diminish your freedoms. It is akin to believing the BS espoused by the Taliban as they took over. Of course, they will restrict women’s rights, so don’t believe anything they say regarding how they won’t.

    Government is needed to do things that do not have an ROI for businesses to do. America was built on various combinations of investment and upkeep – government (federal, state and local), venture capital, and investment capital. They may fill different voids, but at some point in the development and upkeep pipelines, each will likely play a role.

    For example, developing vaccines is not a good ROI for pharma companies. They make more money inventing a drug you will take every day for the rest of your lives. They even invent drugs that ameliorate side effects from other maintenance drugs. So, when vaccines are needed, government has to step up and help fund these efforts.

    Now, folks have to take them for public health. To say vaccines are not required elsewhere is simply untrue – schools systems and university systems require vaccines to get in. Requiring COVID vaccines is no different. And, a company can require its workers as a condition of employment to have a vaccine. It is not an infringement on your rights if they impose it on all workers. They only get in trouble when they do not require it for all people.

    Back to being an old fart, people want their freedoms, but other people’s freedoms matter less. Folks, we owe it to each other to be good citizens. There is a responsibility to each other. And, as my Air Force veteran brother-in-law says, it is not like you are being asked to storm the beaches at Normandy.

    Keith

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hello Keith. I agree with you. I would also say there are things the government only can and should do as those things should be without a profit motive. The government creates laws / rules and the mechanisms to stop or capture those that break those laws. The government sets the guidelines for punishment of those it detains for breaking the laws government created. However in the US we created for profit prisons which has seen a huge rise in incarceration. For profit in jailing people created a motive for more rules requiring incarceration, longer incarceration rates, and more incentive to find and jail more minor law breakers. Again some things shouldn’t be for profit. Government services are just that, services, and shouldn’t have a profit margin. I think today people who run for elected office see the office as a golden lottery ticket to personal wealth rather than a chance to serve to create a better society. Be well. Hugs

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Hello Nan. There is no such thing as inherent rights. There is only rights backed up by the government which includes what ever thugs force is maskerading as government. For those thinking they have a right not backed and given by the government I suggest you try excersing such right and you will find out quickly how little you have that right, especailly if your skind tone is dark. Really a white person has more rights than a black person in the USA. So much for enshirned rights.

    Libertarians want to have a world where everyone else builds and maintains the things they use every day and yet don’t feel they need to pay for. And the mistake this person you uote is making is thinking everyone is altruistic and willing to put in the work to pay their fair share. Volentarycooperation. But I jsut mentioned Libaterians who feel they shouldn’t have to pay for anything yet they should get to reap the benifts of what others have built. Yes looking at Rand Paul.

    Other than small communities it has been proven that scaling up the communial living fails. Once you reach a point where the amount of other opinions outpace the amount of resources, no one wants to continue anymore. Instead what normally happens is one person or group decides they ( them ) should have a larger share / part of the community resources, that others should accept less. That continues until you have a class system, those at the top who have it all and live comfortably, and those who do the work and give what they earn to the upper levels while struggling to live having less than they need. Sound familure? Hugs

    Liked by 6 people

    • In Friedman economics, you’re talking about the “free rider” effect. That is, when a person will benefit from something regardless of whether they contribute to it, it’s in their rational self-interest not to help. Now you might find an emotional benefit from helping, and that counts and justifies participation. However, if you do see any benefit from doing something, you don’t help. That’s the logic that has killed efforts to preserve the environment, but it is how economic theory works.

      Milton Friedman was a libertarian and favored elimination of all controls on human behavior, including legalization of all drugs. In his world, heroin would be on drug store shelves. So would guns. He would be an advocate today for the ability of the stupid to erase themselves.

      Of course, if they do erase themselves, none would ever hold public office. Only in Texas do the dead vote.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Hello Vic. Great point. What you wrote reminded me of the Janus v. AFSCME opinion where the SCOTUS basically gutted the power of unions that until then required non-union members to pay for the benefits negotiated for by the union. That finished off the power of unions in the US by a large part. I wish people could see how little say workers have now compared to the days of strong unions and will join and promote them. The telling point in how scared big corporations are of them is how hard Amazon fought the union effort recently. Amazon has no choice but allow unions in overseas countries they operate but went so far as to openly break the law trying to stop one from forming in the US. Hugs

        Liked by 5 people

      • That’s the logic that has killed efforts to preserve the environment, but it is how economic theory works.

        No that’s how Milton Freaidman’s economic theory works; the issue of the environment is a clear example of an old, old economic theory itself: “The tragedy of the Commons”.

        It only works if zero economic value is imputed to the enviropnment, which we all know to be absolutely false. It is the same economic impulse that assigns zero monetary value to the archetypic ‘stay-at-home’ spouse.

        Like

        • Not really. There have been efforts to place an economic value on parts of the environment — the carbon pollution credit market, for example, or the current push (financed by the Walton fortune) to create a free market in water and make water unaffordable for most. It’s true that no one to my knowledge has calculated a value for a restored environment, although we could try to impute that from the cost of building space colonies from which to watch the earth die. My point, and I’m afraid Friedman might be right on this, is that no one will lift a finger to help repair the environment if they think someone else will do it. His model explains human behavior but doesn’t justify it. Explanation excuses nothing.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Rights in a society are inherently subject to limitations. You can’t drive to endanger others, You can’t have explosives in your home. You can’t use the neighbor’s house for target practice. And in an epidemic, you can’t be a risk to others. There are always some boundaries on what you can do.

    Historically, people who didn’t want neighbors close by and the constraints that entailed simply moved. Even then, they discovered that some form of community was essential for survival. There were a few genuine frontiersmen in US history, but they tended not to be long lived.

    That’s true now. There are people moving to the North Woods in New England and the upper mountain states. They are trading healthcare and educational services for the ability to have no one tell them what to do. Instead, they have subsistence farming on marginal land. But that’s their choice and so be it.

    What isn’t appropriate is to stay in society and then whine about restrictions. There is no human society without them. Since Hammurabi, no one has ever trusted humans to do what’s right on their own.

    The Founding Fathers were educated. They didn’t need to say what “everyone” at that time knew, which is what kept the Constitution from being as long as the Bible.

    What’s also not appropriate is screaming about rights and then restricting what others can do. The logical contradiction should be obvious. Rights-loving people should be the last in line to try to impose on women on gays. What are they thinking, if in fact they have working brains?

    What we have is not an argument about rights, but rather noise from whiny adult-children. They want what they want now, and if they don’t want it, no one else should have it either. Adult two-year-olds.

    There’s a massive need for adult day care to be extended to a much larger share of the population.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. He may deny that he is a libertarian, but I consider him to be one.

    Would he be okay if I broke into his house to steal something that I wanted?

    He does not want government to restrain him, but he does want it to restrain other people. This is not practical.

    Yes, in a world where everyone is sufficiently considerate, we could have cooperation without government. But if he is the kind of person who is sufficiently considerate of others, he should not object to government restraints because they mostly won’t affect him.

    No, he has not thought this through.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. I seldom know what others honestly think. Nor do I often comprehend why they think it. I am not sure if long or short term consequences were considered. But I doubt it. There is this:

    “‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the unalienable rights which the Declaration says have been given to all humans by their creator, and which governments are created to protect. Like the other principles in the Declaration of Independence, this phrase is not legally binding, but has been widely referenced and seen as an inspiration for the basis of government.”

    The Constitution may be more specific, but requires help from our now semi-corrupt SCOTUS.

    I wear a bracelet that says, “No Maters, No Gods.” It’s an old anarchist trope. I like it. But I am no anarchist. I have been a “we need good government” kind of guy for many years and I mostly follow the rules. This discussion can be a sticky mess (so is government). It is why there can never be objective morality.

    No one has to wear the mask (I live in Texas) or get the shot, or wear a seat belt (or motorcycle helmet), or drive the speed limit, or cheat at golf. But there are consequences. It could be legal or civil action, ill health, harm to others (or to self), or suffer the rath of one’s pissed off neighbor with a 9-iron. Or God may get you. Or Karma.

    Nan, if you have not read the column, “Goodbye, and good riddance” by Leonard Pitts, Jr., I think you might like it. I did. 🙂 It’s kind of in the lane.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes they do but there are so many non-inquiring minds that prefer to be told what to do and say. And that is usually that there are those who matter less than they do, who should matter less than they do and probably shouldn’t even be there. There are those who warn of a welfare state without considering who needs the welfare and why, don’t consider that it may be themselves. They are led by those who believe that those who create things should benefit from their creation without thought to those who help them. So Big Pharma should be allowed to charge what they like in the U.S. if not elsewhere and should keep their obscene profits without sharing with the employees via a living wage and without paying tax to contribute towards the upkeep of the Country via Government. Of course the politicians who tell them that are funded by these big corporations as well as by the people they lead. Two masters, two paydays makes you wonder in whose interests they work.
    Hugs Galore

    Liked by 3 people

  8. It’s a bit silly to believe any constitution (no matter how well-meaning it was at its writing) is something fixed. These are fluid documents, and in the US’s example, Jefferson understood that:

    “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

    -Excerpted from a letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816.

    While well-meaning, this person’s utopia seems to be a 1770’s pastoral landscape where communities pretty much ran everything.

    Liked by 5 people

    • People like these serve a purpose: they keep the rest of us on the alert for assaults on our freedoms.

      We the people…do ordain and establish this Constitution of The United States of America.
      It is time we quit writing separate laws for each race, color, ethnicity, religion, or political identity. No white bigot is going to give anyone a right or freedom. It is not theirs to give. Neither is it the gift of some never-seen ethereal entity that has never made any difference in the lives of all humanity.

      Read it again. We the people ordain and establish this constitution. It is a contract for ‘forming’ a more perfect union. We strive to create a society that is as inclusive as we can possibly make it. The charge to congress is to provide for the common good. The constitution is the enabler for all our laws, rules, and regulations, summum bonum.

      “We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. A Republic cannot stand upon bayonets, and when the day comes when the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of a few, then we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nations to the changed conditions.”
      James Madison

      People who belittle our constitution and the functioning of the administrative state have nothing to replace it with unless they want to play the role of Jack Cade in fomenting the chaos that brought Richard III to the throne. Their dreams seem to always place them on the ruling team or church, but tyrants and theocracies offer no certain rights to anyone. See how King Richard rewarded Buckingham?

      Very little thought goes into the comments declaring their individual rights outstrip all others. I see them as perhaps those members of Hominin groups who complain about the cave or tree the rest have chosen or sharing in the food, but always sitting apart and watching for a way to take down the alpha male and scatter the group. This type is also present in our lesser cousins, the chimp. gorillas and baboons.

      “Rights are not bestowed, not even by kings. Rights are asserted, not given. Rights come from human nature, not divine nature. Most of all, natural law is a product of “liberal and expanded thought,” not of divine revelation.”

      Seidel, Andrew L. The Founding Myth (p. 77). Sterling. Kindle Edition.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Hello John. If the founders who wrote the documents did not intend the constitution to change as the needs of the people changed they wouldn’t have included means to change the document to begin with. It frustrates me those who claim the constitution was carved in stone never to be changed, or judges who claim to be originalist who think every law has to be judged by the standards and terms of 1776. We now have a majority of them on the SCOTUS but only when it suits their wishes. Thanks for the quote, I had not heard that one before. Hugs

      Liked by 3 people

        • Yup, and this why SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is being considered part of the mandatory childhood inoculation program… you know, the one almost every child must get to enter public school, to travel to various countries, to join various organizations, and so on. Mandatory shots are not some ‘new’ idea and refusal is not some ‘new’ stand. That’s why I say public health has EVERY legal right to force mandatory compliance including shots. And the law is very clear on this.

          Liked by 3 people

        • PLEASE!!! Do NOT start a “discussion” on the vaccine!! It has been discussed ad nauseum elsewhere and neither side is going to change. While it may vaguely address the post topic, that was DEFINITELY not my goal in posting it!

          Thanks.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Actually in the charter of human rights it says:

      “Article 3
      Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

      Wich means, that the government has every right and a responsibility to set laws, that demand individuals to take vaccinations, if it is scientifically shown that said vaccinations protect from the disease threatening the “life, liberty or security” of a nother person. For example, here in Finland we have a law that demands nurses to have their vaccinations, if they are treating certain groups of voulnerable people.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Inspired agrees. He is eager to put your juicy, juicy torso into his chompers!

      What is this “Charter of Human Rights? Who enforces it? I, myself did not sign onto it, so I will ignore it thank you.

      Like

  9. I wish we would all stop using the term “government” as if it were something that fell on us from Mars or something. This is what the anti-government people want. You paint what you oppose as an “other” and then you seek to destroy it. (These anti-government folk are generally business types who can’t abide any opposition to them making obscene amounts of money by hook and crook.)

    “The government” is us acting collectively. And it was formed through voluntary cooperation. We all agreed upon what the rules would be and by and large follow those rules. The people who are abusing and distorting government are those who want to live large and think/act how they like. They bribe officials to make rules that benefit them and disadvantage others. Is that something they want to be able to do in their libertarian heaven?

    I wish just one libertarian would provide an example of a libertarian government, large or small, that actually worked. That town in Montana (?) that decided to live that way fell apart in less than a couple of years and is now a shambles.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. you cannot manage any large group of people without having someone or many someones running the show; be it a town meeting, a craft group, or a large cranky country, you still need a person or bunch of persons to put out the chairs, make everyone settle down and listen, and conduct the business of the day.
    Without that firm hand and the attached gavel, you have what we just had for four roller coaster years in this country. Utter chaos.
    Granted, many rules are superfluous, self-serving, or just plain silly, but most of them are in place for reasons. “do not pee on the elephants” matters, as does “order in the court, all rise for the judge.”

    We are, at heart, a rowdy species, given to arm waving and shouting. We need someone to keep us in line because we are also a herd animal, willing to follow the least distraction, even if it leads us right over the cliff edge. That’s what traffic cops and presidents have in common. Both are extremely necessary.

    Anyone who goes on about their ‘personal freedom’ and their ‘rights’ is using shorthand for “I have no intention of following the rules and you can’t make me” in the same voice as your three year old trying to insert a kitchen knife into an electrical socket to see what’s in there.

    Liked by 5 people

  11. Where I live there is compulsory COVID vaccinations in some workplaces unless there is a medical reason not to get the jab. But for those who choose not to for medical reasons or otherwise still pose a possible risk of being infected which could also harm others to the extent that could lead to death. Workplace activities are ether slowed down or stopped as a result of COVID infections. We need to not only consider our own beliefs but weigh it against public health in general. Sure you can be an Atheist but beware of the consequences of not being immunized against COVID-19.

    Like

  12. Governments in Africa have put much strength on security and leaving out the rights and basic needs of the people, as a passionate African this pulls me down. I feel I should cry whenever I see other countries moving to the next step and we Africans are moving backwards because of our poor leadership.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Asiimwe! Thank you for stopping by and especially for sharing your thoughts.

      A couple of other people who live in Africa also visit my blog. I’m sure they will see the truth in your comment. So many of the world’s countries seem to be ignoring the needs of the people who live there. It is a sad state for humankind.

      Like

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