8.11.2008

Incorrect Cultural Memes

I’m just doing the good consumer thing, and having my breakfast at the Denny’s ™, when I hear those most dreaded of words floating on the scorched coffee and rubber bacon breeze; “It’s my Inalienable Right…”.

Odin’s Eye, how I hate that phrase. The aforementioned phrase is almost invariably uttered by one of four species of human, none of them endangered (though in some cases, one could hope), and all of them with a firm grasp of only the first part of Rauðbjorn’s Law (and no knowledge at all, of the corollary).

The first specie to utter the dreaded sentiment is the American Student (Discipulus Americus). This particular human is young, either post adolescent or early adult, and convinced that the older you are the more time you’ve had to either fuck things up, or forget what little you learned as an adolescent.

To the Student, Rights (note the capitalization) and the Constitution are a given, a naturally occurring phenomenon, that was inevitable, because it is the best of all possible worlds, and the basis of all evil. Rights are something meant to preserve the Liberties of the downtrodden, and should be applied to all mankind (making certain of course, that the American Hegemony does not spread its Konsumer Kulture Krap to the rest of the world). The average Discipulus Americus no more understands Life or Sacrifice than a Lemming understands Matrix Algebra. Typically one can (and in many cases should) ignore this creature, as she is typically only dangerous in large groups, and are easily distracted by bright shiny objects (baggies of marijuana, shitty macro-microbrew beers, offers of interning on the Ron Paul presidential campaign etc.). Should one feel indulgent, re-education can usually be accomplished with the expenditure of enough time and energy (I recommend four years at Uncle Sam’s home for Misguided Children).

Next on our list of asshats opinionated persons; incorruptus plumbeus sententia; the Professional Idealist. This species is not just dimorphic sexually but actually polymorphic, made up of a number of similar groups, each of which displays similar characteristics; a fervently protested belief in the constitution, intentionally segregated from certain other species (cops, soldiers, working folk), insanely high income relevant to their actual usefulness (unless you count portable food source, but that would be like eating sloth I think). Examples of the Professional Idealist include Politicians, Lawyers and certain categories of Academics. As a rule, I tend to avoid all genders of Incorruptus P. Sententia whenever possible. Remember boys and girls, stupidity is like radiation; dangerous and useful, but you don’t want to get any on you. The Professional Idealist sees the Constitution and Rights as tools to either protect or subjugate (depending on her breed and political leaning) the citizenry. Above all else, I. P. Sententia sees these things as objects to be manipulated.

NOTE: The Department of the Interior has recently released an advisory notice that the Professional Idealist population has boomed to dangerous levels, threatening not just it’s self, but other species of human as well. To restore a harmonious balance to the natural order of things, all state Fish and Game Departments are urged to order an open hunt on all members of this species, with no size restrictions and no bag limit. Please remember to only shoot what you can eat, and please eat what you shoot.

Third on our list of likely candidate for utterance of the dreaded phrase, Gunbunnies (Demens Apparatus Gastrophetes Americus). Gunbunnies can be divided into two groups; Shooters and Politicos and while many qualify as both, the difference between the two types is fairly obvious to the close observer. Shooters are usually concerned with the protection that the Rights guaranteed by the Constitution provide their lifestyle, while Politicos (sometimes called 2nd Amendment bloggers) are concerned that the government is going to eat everybody’s lunch. The only issue that can be found with the Gunbunnies is that they tend to assume that there are actually such things as Rights (more on this later). Other than that, Gunbunnies typically have their poop in a group and their shit wired tight.

Finally (and I hesitate to bring it up) there are Veterans (Custodiae Libertas). Veterans are sort of a sacred cow in America, so much so that often, social insanity, idiocy and general asshattery are ignored, drowned out in the golden light of SERVICE. If any member of the human race has the right to bitch about Rights and the state of the Constitution, it’s a Veteran. Any man (or woman) who willingly rides towards the sound of musketry, in defense of his country, and freedom is entitled to do damn near anything they want in my opinion. But. All too often I have noticed that many of the veterans I speak to (and I speak to a surprising number, after all I like to hang out at the Denny’s ™) rely on “I’m a Vet!” as the reasoning behind why they think what they do, and why they do. The Veteran (at least those members of the species that I have observed) tend to view the Constitution and Rights as an immutable bulwark against the Forces of Evil, a rampart used to defend freedom, and a bastion to protect the weak.

It is none of those things. I’ll let you in on a secret. There are no Rights. It’s true. Honest.

Merriam-Webster.com defines Right as: Something to which one has a just claim: as the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled. Merriam-Webster.com also defines Inalienable as: Incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred. Therefore an Inalienable Right is a privilege to which one is justly entitled and which cannot be violated.

So what the hell was the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Jim Crow laws, and the effectively unlimited imprisonment (without trial I might add) for Contempt of Court. All of these violate our “Rights”. Even if tomorrow, the government corrected the inequities of these laws (still in effect at least), the fact still remains that our Inviolable Rights were violated. Besides, do deer get to defend themselves with rifles (that’d make hunting a true sport). Does anyone really think that being eaten alive by wasp larvae is not cruel and unusual punishment? Does a TRO keep a Tiger from killing his cubs? In nature (and by extension life) there are no Rights, inalienable or otherwise. Or rather, there is only one Right; The right to try to survive, by any means possible. Anything else is an artificial framework of ideals. Ideals that we desire, because it keeps us from having to kill every sorry motherfucker that threatens the survival of us and ours (not that that’d be a bad idea mind you).

At least, that’s my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.

1 comment:

Sailorcurt said...

I think I understand your point...that, if someone is determined to, they can eliminate your rights, either through legislation or through violence...therefore, they don't exist except in one's mind.

I think you've got it exactly backwards. IMHO Rights are things that you cannot be prevented from doing except through restraint or violence. I have the right to free speech, not because the Constitution says so, but because, short of forcibly gagging me or killing me, no one can stop me from speaking.

That is not to say that there won't be consequences...slandering someone or falsely shouting "fire" in a crowded theater may have legal ramifications. Impuning someone's honor may result in a punch in the nose. Telling my wife what I REALLY think about whether that dress makes her look fat or not may result in a lower likelihood of engaging in marital congress any time soon...but the fact that there may be consequences doesn't mean that I COULDN'T speak freely, only that I may pay for it later.

The problem is that we have completely lost sight of what "rights" really are. I think P.J. O'Rourke put it best:

"There's only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences."

Oh...and when someone asserts that they have the "right" to health care or food stamps or an education...throw the BS flag. No one has a basic "right" to anything provided by someone else.