Not sure whether to post this in Rants or Political Ideology, but mods feel free to move at your discretion.
I'm getting pretty tired of people confusing rights
. People often talk about rights as if they are subjective, existing
in some jurisdictions but not others, and can be granted or taken away. But if something can be granted or taken away, then by definition it is a
privilege, which is a fake imaginary construct.
A classic example is when Brits say "Americans have the right to bear arms, but we don't have the right to bear arms."
This is a misunderstanding of rights, because rights are not determined by what is written in stone or on paper by men; rights cannot be granted or
taken away; rights exist universally and are inherent in all beings. Some individuals live in locations with governments who deny those rights, such
as the UK (denies the right to self defense), China (denies the right to free speech / religion), Saudi Arabia (denies freedom of movement for women)
but that doesn't mean those people don't have those rights. They do
have those rights; they are just being denied at present. Yes, Brits, you
have the right to bear arms. Yes, women of Saudi Arabia, you do
have the right to drive. Yes, Chinese, you do
have the right
to free expression.
The writers of the US Declaration of Independence recognized this fact when they referred to rights as unalienable
. That is why even though
certain rights were being denied them at the time by the Crown, they exercised those rights anyway. It is my hope that people today, wherever they
happen to live, will begin exercising the inherent rights they have whether or not those rights are sanctioned by government.
Now this begs the question; since rights are inherent and universal, how do we know what rights we have? Again we turn to the wisdom of the writers of
the Declaration of Independence and see that it is just like a person's conscience, and their ability to discern right from wrong - it's something
you just know, referred to as a self-evident truth
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Of course, the word "Creator" here is used in the loosest, most general sense, not endorsing any religious system, but speaking of whatever unseen
cosmological force is at work, which could simply refer to nature itself. The important thing that these wise men recognized is that rights are
unalienable and self-evident.