Monday, November 14, 2011

The Conservative Intellectual Dilemma Over Who Has Rights

In an all too frequent political discussion on Facebook, this time with Brian Gaddie, one of my unashamed far left liberal friends, he kindly pointed out that he appreciated Congressman Ron Paul's opposition to torture. This prompted a quick thought I've had about rights. And, really, a lot of this discussion must ultimately rest on the nature of our rights as sentient, self-aware beings who value life with each of us being the legitimate owners of our own selves who take positive action to support or enhance that life.

There is an excellent write up at The Objective Standard regarding the nature of rights that I highly recommend reading, especially since it offers up a theory that does not depend on the existence of God. This is important, because if God cannot be proven than your rights cannot be proven if you solely rest the existence of them on its existence.

But, back to the point. Certainly, nobody in the United States would support kidnapping someone off the street, failing to give them due process, failing to find them guilty in any kind of trial but instead just sticking them in a secret room and torturing them just in case they might know something useful. This would be such a vast violation of rights and the character of who are SUPPOSED to be as a nation.

But, it did prompt me to post my comment from Brian's thread on a broader topic of the nature of our rights and why I think the typical Conservative has an intellectual dilemma that they either must resolve by becoming more authoritarian and deciding that we only have the rights our respective governments grant to us OR that all human beings have rights that come about by way of our existence as sentient, self-aware beings.

Brian - regarding torture. Conservatives have an intellectual dilemma that they must resolve.

Most Conservatives would argue that our rights come from our creator (God, the creative force of the universe or whatever mechanism by which we are sentient, self-aware beings). This is clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence as a founding principle of our country. That we have rights (life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness) that nobody, not even government - except as compensation for a harm done to another - can take away.

BUT THEN, in the same breath, they would suggest that immigrants, accused terrorists or other people not born here don't have the same rights.

This is intellectually inconsistent. Either our rights come from the creator OR they come from government by nature of which borders we are unlucky enough to be born between.

They must decide. And I appreciate Ron Paul consistently showing intellectual honesty in all matters, including torture as I very much appreciate you pointing out.

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