Friday, May 19, 2006

Unalienable Rights

Unalienable Rights

Recently, in class, we students were asked if we believed human beings had unalienable rights. I was sitting near the front, and I didn't turn around to see the hands go up, but I could sense how lonely my arm was as it steadily held my hand high aloft. That even one citizen of this country thinks we do not have unalienable rights saddens me. That more than one does is, in my eyes, simply a tragedy beyond words.

The United States is founded upon the principle of unalienable rights, so without unalienable rights there is no United States. The Declaration of Independence is the document that created these United States by affirming and defending the unalienable rights of every individual. This is the fundamental principle of the Declaration, and by definition and necessity, this must also be the fundamental principle of these United States.

The birthright of every citizen of these United States is laid out in the Declaration of Independence. All we have to do is sign our names down at the bottom when we come of age. The Declaration of Independence created this nation, so without the Declaration we have no United States. As long as there is a United States, the Declaration is where the focus of identity lies. The Declaration exclaims to the world that we are, who we are, and what we believe. It is bold and forthright, and its language is, itself, self-evident and undeniable. We have unalienable rights, and among these are Equality, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Further, that Government is a simply a necessary tool to protect the unalienable rights of the individuals of the community against all restrictions. The Pledge of Allegiance, which each of us has boldly proclaimed countless times with our hands held over our hearts for emphasis on our sincerity, affirms our unalienable right of Liberty, and proclaims Justice for all, while declaring our nation to be Indivisible. That word, Indivisible, means that all of us equally acknowledge, respect and defend the unalienable rights of every other citizen. Indivisible: you cannot break us apart from our fundamental principle. Indivisible: we are one people, all equal, and you will not divide and conquer us. We stand firm against all who would restrain us from our unalienable rights. We each can proudly declare: "I am Me, a citizen of these United States. I am free, and I have the liberty to live my life as I wish."

Briefly, I will exclaim that the Right to Property, sometimes posited as an unalienable right, and other times produced as a necessary right, is a major mischief to the exercise of every citizen's true unalienable rights. Our birthright, as citizens of these United States, includes the unalienable right to Live upon the Earth with Liberty in the Pursuit of Happiness. It does not follow to extend that right to where the individual can restrict another individual's rights to use, or otherwise to live upon, any particular bit of property, with liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness. However, an individual should have resource to as much property as one's prowess in life can accrue, limited only by the barriers represented by the unalienable rights of fellow citizens. Therefore, by necessity, the Right to Property is a communal right that needs be overseen by a government set up by the community for the sole intention of protecting the unalienable rights of its citizens. The government itself has no claim to any property, indeed, the government has itself no inherent rights at all except the collective unalienable rights of its citizens, and of these it has no claim for itself. The People, that is to say, all the individuals who completely compose the community the government represents, can, at any time and with all authority, change any and all powers available to the government, as long as every individual in the community retains full access to exercise their unalienable rights without restriction.

Government is simply a tool. It is inanimate, and it is potentially as useful and as useless as any other tool. Like any tool, it must be wielded with intent, and in the proper circumstances, because of itself it can do nothing. The wielder of Government must be the People, must be the individual. The People must shoulder all the responsibilities of the obligations of Government equally as citizens, while at the same time fully discharging their duties as individuals. The needs of the individual must be able to be communicated directly to the Government, with effect. The citizen must be an active wielder of Government. Anything else is antithetical to the Declaration of Independence, and hence, diametrically opposed to the principles that provide the meaning for this country's existence.

As far as Law is concerned, the Declaration provides a detailed insight into the spirit of the laws that Government must enact for the common good. The listing takes place as a series of complaints that detail how the government and laws present at the time failed. By outlining the areas laws and government should not tread, the Declaration highlights the completeness of these, our unalienable rights.

More important than Government, Property or Law in the Declaration, is the Right to Safety. Indeed, the provision and defense of each citizen's safety, with all liberty and equality, in the pursuit of happiness, is the primary job of the tool that is Government. It is, in fact, the reason for the Declaration of Independence.

By the same token, it is the responsibility of each citizen to hold a decent, humble respect for all of the opinions of humanity, while at the same time being prudent in deed and patient in adversity. But when the need for action overtakes us, we must fully discharge our duty toward every citizen to ensure the security of these, our Ideals, in our everyday lives. Additionally, each citizen must pledge life, fortune and honour to uphold and maintain the Declaration of Independence for all citizens; else there is no country, no community, no Us.

The last issue I will take up is the use of the word "man" in the Declaration of Independence. I declare this truth to be self-evident, that in all these rights man and woman are equal.

I do not consider this viewpoint on unalienable rights naive or idealistic, nor do I appraise it undoable in today's world. What I do further declare is that it is naive and idealistic for the Powers That Be to think they can still teach us freedom is slavery. It is my fervent hope that they will eventually find that is undoable in this world, and the Revolution will continue toward the goal of citizenship in the United States of America for every person pole to pole.

Equality, Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and Safety; they are not just words on the Declaration of Independence; they are the Meaning of Life Itself.


Heather G said...

Unfortunately I have to disagree with you, if a right or anythight can be given to you, it can just as easily be taken away. If you should do something to result in the having these rights taken away then that was by your own choice. But these rights can be taken away.
For example the government can take away your right to life, by instating the death penalty. While you need to be found guilty of first degree murder in most cases, that does not necessaril mean that you were guilty. (have you seen the life of david gail? good movie!!!)
I also do not feel that we are given any right to proprty. Once we are born we ahave the right to live, but that does not garantee us any given place on this land, it jusr garanees that we can live in this place, as far as anything else goes noone cares. as an American citizen you are to at least work for 7.15 an hour which I believe is minimum wage as given by the federal gvt. (states are different)which is barely enough money to put 2 gallons of gas in, never mind food in your mouth. but I guess as a citizen I choose the right to pay 3.10+ a gallon for .....And as far as the government having a right to claim property or not I believe that they do hold the right to claim property, or at least they think they do. Hence why the indians were pushed away, and why even today they try to push people out of there homes by building right infront of houses, and trying to pay people off.

The declaration of independance, or the constitution has given us an out in what is right and what is wrong. However so has the bible, the constitution was given room for change where the bible has not , and the bible was written for those who believe in it and the constituion is for those who are citizens in the US however they both have the same intent on wanting people to act in a certain way...I believe that the constitution is in a way out of date.....while now we take into consideration that "men" in the constitution represents both men and women when it was written however it dod not. And I also feel that the right to bear arms, is relatively out of date...but hey thats just a personal opinion, and the men who wrote the declaration of independence were smart enough to know that things would change in time, so they left room for interpretaion, and room to grow...unfortunately there are people who do not feel as though anything can or should be changed, and there is no reason to not be ablbe to adapt to changes, even in something as old as the constitiution. the funny thing is is we will fight to change laws, such as row v. wade, and the death penalty, but we will not even try to discuss adding or taking anything away from the first ten amendments, that would be "unconstitutional" however the 10th amendment allows where that logic comes from I am unaware.

Aright to safety is not gauranteed, it is not unalienable, it is not even a is something that is expected, and that is all. If the government cared if evveryone was safe, they would not pay the garbage man more than they do police officers in places like mississippi. They would not participate in wars, they would not ask you to fight, or demand it at any point in time, and say that it is what we have to do in order to protect out safety.

It is a constitional right not the unalienable rights....and anything given to you can just the same be taken away.

OnlyEd said...

Unalienable rights cannot be taken away. Period. That was what this country was founded upon.

The constitution can be torn up and we would still have our unalienable rights. The bible can be proven a pile of drivel, yet we would still have our unalienable rights (and, BTW, the bible does not say we have any unalienable rights -- remember Abraham and Isaac? No unalienable rights there for anyone).

You need to read the Declaration of Independence again. if you disageree that we have the unalienable rights to Equality, Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness and Safety . . . then you do not believe in these United States as they were created. You aren't alone . . . there's a lot of people who have forgotten what it means to be an American. The Declaration is the defining document on what an American is. The constitution is a seriously flawed document, and should be completely rewritten to agree with the Declaration in all regards.

The life we live is not ours unless we declare our independence.

Heather G said...

This country was founded upon rights to people as Americans, I am sorry that I have to disagree that they are not inalienable. If I murder someone in the first degree my rights as an american are forfited, if I am even charged with murder in the first degree than my rights as an American have once again been forfited, because I am no longer treated as a "citizen" but as a "murderer" even if I am found inocent in certain cases it will be damn near impossible for me to regain my "right to equality".

There are people on the sex offenders lists, that were found inocent and yet they still need to register as sex offenders, and they are labeled, and shipped out and not aloud to do things they would have done before they were accused.

I am not disagreeing that maybe the founding fathers did not hope for a perfect society, but we do not have that....ANYTHING that is given to you CAN be taken away!!!! We can fight it, we can bring it up through the court system and claim it unconstitutional. But that will not necessarily change the out come of the situation.

My actions are what give me rights as an American, I can lose those rights as easily as I recieved them. If I choose to take the path that led me that way.

OnlyEd said...

Sorry, you are not understanding what "unalienable" means. As far as I'm concerned, anybody who does not believe each American, and indeed, every person in the world, has the unalienable rights of Equality, Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness and Safety does not believe in the founding principles of this country, and should not be a citizen. A citizen has responsibilities and obligations to their community, and the principle obligation of an merican citizen is to honour the Declaration of Independence above all other documents. It is not just a government policy . . . it is a life philosophy. People died to make sure you could exercise your unalienable rights. They would be very angry with what we have done to their dream. In fact, they would probably lead an armed revolt against our present government, and against all the so-called citizens who would let conmen and charletans devastate the American People.

I say again, if anyone does not believe in the unalienable rights detailed by the Declaration of Independence, then that person has failed as a citizen of these United States. America: Love It or leave It.

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