"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Free People or Slaves?

The true nature of liberty entails the inalienable right to make, sell, buy, own, and use property in a way that does not harm or endanger other people or their property without good cause. Good cause would be the defense of self, loved ones, innocent others, or property.

The most basic property is one's own body and mind, to which no one else, including the government, has a claim except by one's knowing and willing word or contract with another party for the use of one's body or mind. This assumes, of course, consenting adults only.

Further, inalienable rights, by their very nature, cannot be voted out of existence, otherwise they are not inalienable. No majority decision of the citizenry and especially no majority vote of any legislative body has the legitimate power to nullify, that is, violate a person's inalienable rights.

To put it another way, if an adult's behavior is done alone or with other, consenting, adults; if said behavior is non-violent, non-coercive, and non-larcenous; if said behavior does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, then that behavior is the inalienable right of that person. This is even more true is said behavior is done privately, so as not to be viewed by the public, and done on private property. The essence of an inalienable right is behavior that does not violate the rights of others.

It matters not if others believe that the behavior is immoral or harmful to the person who is doing it. Immorality is a religious concept and we do not have a religious government. And, in the United States, we are supposed to have both religious freedom and freedom from religion. Harm is subjective. There are many behaviors that can cause harm, even death, to the participants such as suba-diving, mountain climbing, smoking tobacco, and drinking alcoholic beverages, among others. Society accepts the fact that adults who participate in those types of behavior can and may be harmed or even die from their actions. We do not allow the government to arrest, and punish those people behaving in those ways, unless their actions harm or directly threaten to harm others or the property of others.

The alternative to the above is that we do not have the right to own property or, at the very least, we do not fully own ourselves; that we merely get privileges granted to us. That would make us slaves. If we don't have inalienable rights--the right to participate in any behavior whether potentially harmful, or whether others find it to be immoral--then who is the privilege master, the slavemaster, the one authority that will dictate what we, as adults, can and cannot do even if our actions do not violate the rights of others?

In a society that values individual liberty and styles itself as the land of the free, the government can have no more power than an individual has. The government gets its legitimate power from the people. (See the Declaration of Independence and the 10th Amendment to the U.S. constitution.)

If a citizen cannot legitimately force his or her personal moral or religious beliefs upon any other person, then the government also lacks the legitimate power to do so, even if all the legislators vote for it. If it is wrong for an individual citizen to resort to force in an attempt to make another person moral, where the person being so force has not violated the rights of others, then it is wrong for the government to do so, whether by itself or in the name of a majority of the citizens. Actually, it is more than wrong. It is criminal, in that it would be violating the rights of the person being forced to adhere to other people's personal or religious moral code.

The government of the United States (all three branches) in the attempt to impose a specific moral code upon all adult citizens regarding behavior considered by many to be immoral and wrong, but which, in and of itself, does not violate the rights of others, may and, quite often, does resort to the use of force to impress its will upon the people. I am specificially talking about consensual adult drug behavior, although other types of consensual adult behavior also apply.

All tyrannies have behaved in this manner. And a democratic government that violates the inalienable rights of some citizens by a majority vote is no less a tyranny. This nation was not set up as a pure democracy. (For example, think of two wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner.) The Founding Fathers believe strongly in the principle of inalienable rights. They also knew that some people would destroy themselves if left to their own devices. Sad, certainly. Tragic, maybe. But as long as those people did not violate the rights of others, then they had an inalienable right to do what they wanted with themselves.

So, who will put a stop to the present tyranny in the United States? Who will punish the government for overreaching its legitimate constitutional powers? There are literally millions of honest, peaceful adult citizens who do not believe in nor adhere to the specific moral code that the government is trying to force upon them when it comes to what we, as adults, can do with our most personal property, our bodies and our minds.

How has it come about that once strong and independant United States citizens now depend upon the government to tell them what to do and to allow their civil servants to become their civil masters? If a person's behavior does not violate the rights of others, or if that behavior is not a direct and immediate threat to the rights of others, then that person's fellow citizens have no legitimate power or right to interfere with that person's life. More importantly, neither does the government. We must re-establish this principle of inalienable rights if we, as a nation, truly want personal liberty and a strong, free society.

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