"In the beginning of a change, the Patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot." - Mark Twain
Friday, December 18, 2009
If Our Rights Are Natural, Then Everybody Has Them Not Just Citizens
I had a good back and forth discussion with one of our Indiana Tea Party Patriots today.
Our good patriot friend said:
I mean the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, the natural rights bestowed upon us by God, our Creator. I believe our country does not/cannot give us rights..they are from God.
But then in a subsequent message added:
My concern is not to give terrorists the same constitutional rights that citizens have.
So, understanding that the debate over the current Guantanamo prisoners is terse and heated, I still waded in to the water a bit as I perceived a bit of circular logic here. I don't propose that true enemy combatants in a war should be granted the same privileges non combatant citizens enjoy; however, it did spark a train of thought related to the source of our rights and who has them. It occurred to me that there is a trap in the debate about the prisoners and whether or not they have rights. If you believe rights come from government and can be taken away, then you have to believe that the prisoners have no rights. If you believe we all are endowed with natural rights and that government does not grant them, then you have to accept that even prisoners accused of terrorism have a right to due process and fair treatment.
E-mail is never a great place for debate and for busy people the responses can often be quick, not well thought through or riddled with typos, but here is what I responded with:
Do people have rights guaranteed by the creator or not? If the rights come from, as you state, God (or whatever creative force one subscribes to) and not from our Constitution then do these people have rights or not? (I'm not taking a position either way - just confused by the circular logic).
I would argue that anyone has a right to face their accuser, be presented with evidence, given a fair and speedy trial and then either required to provide compensation/restitution for their crimes or set free. I would also be curious as to how many people we have in Gitmo who were captured just, as far as they were concerned, defending their country and were not really "terrorists". I don't trust anything the government tells us about anything or anyone anymore.
You can't invade a country and then accuse everyone who fights back of being a "terrorist". Most of the problem we have with modern terrorism is that these folks feel they are fighting back against U.S. hegemony. Unfortunately, they cross an unforgivable line when they target innocent people and private interests. Again, a lot of terrorism's roots lay in the response to actions most Americans are not even aware happened 'on their behalf'. The foreign foot soldiers may not know this, but their leaders and those that manipulate are keenly aware of their political and economic goals.
We fell right into their trap by spending trillions on these wars overseas that have contributed to tanking our economy and weakening our nation. They knew they couldn't win a military victory, but they knew they might get us economically eventually. They saw us do it to the U.S.S.R.
In all fairness, entitlements are ultimately the bill that we will not be able to pay; but, in an already weakened and debt ridden state tacking an extra couple (or few) trillion for war just isn't helpful. We should always be wary of the economic warfare, not just the physical warfare fought by troops and machinery.
Regardless of disagreements, it is oftentimes in conversations like these where thoughts, opinions, policies and approaches are forged. A far better source of belief, understanding and rationale than just parroting whatever the favorite partisan hack of the day is saying on the boob tube.