Your Safety and the Rights of People You Hate

This started as a comment to this post of Joe’s, but Joe has told me not to bury so much in comments.

Getting to basics; rights (or equal rights) have a long history of being extremely unpopular.  The American Founders knew this. They knew our rights would be constantly under attack, and tried as they could to protect them.

I spent some time, during the Cold War, listening to Radio Moscow, Radio Havana, and several other English broadcasts from not-so-friendly countries.  These programs were aimed at Americans, and attempted to malign, impugn, and smear the capitalist, libertarian ideals upon which the U.S. is founded.  The people they had as speakers were extremely good at sounding like your favorite, American-born uncle.  Very nice, well spoken, friendly, and (drum roll) they sounded exactly like today’s more reasonable sounding pundits of the American Left.

The posted quote instantly reminded me of listening to Radio Moscow back in the day, except that it is much more vitriolic than the Soviet broadcasts.

Yes; the protection of rights makes many more things possible, however, a potentiality is not actuality.  One of those things made possible by rights protection is a prosperous, dynamic society in which people can live their lives and pursue their dreams without looking over their shoulders all the time wondering when and why they might get arrested, fined, audited, stopped at a checkpoint, harassed with no recourse, et al.  Without rights protection, that vibrant society is impossible, mainly because doing less makes you safer from the above harassment, doing more makes you a target, and doing far more, and being good at it makes you the target…at some point Atlas shrugs.

As for the safety that the left pretends it wants to force on all of us;
Just as a matter of general practicality, are you safer with your rights protected, or without?  “Safe from what” would be the next question, or “from whom”?  As we’re discussing “safety” in the public arena, keep in mind the question of whether your and your neighbor’s rights are safe.

Human rights protection means that, no matter who you are, a lot of people are going to be doing a things that you absolutely hate, but are perfectly legal anyway.  A lot of other people are going to hate what you’re doing too, but they won’t be able to stop you without committing a crime of some sort.  That’s what it means, People.  It means all the good things that go along with liberty, but it also means you have to actually be tolerant, along with being tolerated, and not just talk about tolerance to make yourself look good in public forums.

Try this mind experiment, next time you see or think of someone or some activity that you hate, or that someone else hates.  Ask yourself; “who’s rights are they violating, or trying to violate?”  That’s a very clarifying and even liberating question.  If the answer is “no one’s” then move along.  Nothing to see there.  It’s time to dig in and start minding your own business, and hopefully you’ll have the freedom to mind your own business without someone trying to mind it for you.

ETA; I was once in a very long debate with my communist brother-in-law.  He was reciting the litany [as he saw it] of horrible, evil things that Wal Mart [a big target because they do so much so well] had done over the years.  When I asked that magic question; “Who’s rights are they violating?” he shut right the hell up.  In his mind I was just “tricking” him with clever rhetoric, but in fact he had never considered rights in his extensive evaluations of Wal Mart [or, presumably, in most other areas of consideration].  Again, I blame education [or what used to be referred to as Soviet propaganda] for the mass ignorance with regard to America’s Promise.


7 thoughts on “Your Safety and the Rights of People You Hate

  1. Try this mind experiment, next time you see or think of someone or some activity that you hate, or that someone else hates. Ask yourself; “who’s rights are they violating, or trying to violate?” That’s a very clarifying and even liberating question. If the answer is “no one’s” then move along. Nothing to see there. It’s time to dig in and start minding your own business, and hopefully you’ll have the freedom to mind your own business without someone trying to mind it for you.

    Well, I just added a quote to my collection on the blog. It’s something I try to do every day right before the knee-jerk reaction. I hope to, someday, fine-tune it so that I stop having knee-jerk reactions. I know what is right, but I’ve been brainwashed for far too long. Good post.

  2. Ask yourself; “who’s rights are they violating, or trying to violate?”

    That test probably won’t have the desired outcome if you happen to believe in things like a “right to be free from fear” or a “right to be free from offense” or a “right to success without effort”.

  3. As John says, it all comes down to definitions. In a conflict of visions the left makes up their own logically inconsistent definitions.

  4. John and mike; It’s true that some people are beyond all hope, or any ability to communicate. My openly communist brother-in-law however was unable to answer the question, and was relegated to stunned silence. That’s a sample size of one, and a 100% effectiveness rate. Take it for what you will.

    What I would really love is the idea of “safety” being turned around to mean “safety of our rights” (as envisioned by the Founders of course). Try it. Next time you’re asked if you think this or that proposal would “make us safer” answer with the question “Will it make our rights safer or will it endanger them further?” or some such. I would love to know how it goes.

    Going along with this discussion is the piece, “Local Control and the Second Amendment”, which proves finally and indisputably that those on the left fully understand how an unalienable right actually works (even if they’re full of shit). The big problem with that as an argument is of course the fact that most people will be unable to get beyond the actual abortion issue and consider the higher implications regarding rights in general.

  5. The phrase that has always chaffed my ass: “There should be a law against that.”

    99.999999999% of the time, when ever someone says that, it’s because someone is doing something that isn’t hurting anyone or anything, but it’s behavior that person doesn’t agree with.

    Second on the list is: “People shouldn’t be allowed to do that.”

    Same thing.

    Whenever I’ve heard someone say either of those phrases I’ve used pretty much the argument you advocate above. My success rate so far has been less than stellar. The reason being, the people who use those phrases, or similar, believe they know better than the other person–that they are better than the other person–that they’re more “moral”. They don’t care about other people’s rights. They believe the other person’s behavior needs to be and should be “controlled” because the other person can’t be relied on to do it themselves.

    On a side note, most of the people I’ve heard say “There should be a law against that”, when challenged, identified themselves to me as a “democrat”.

  6. Magnus; Next time, try that exact phrase, “Who’s rights are they violating” and see what happens. “How is that any of your business” or similar, doesn’t quite get right down to the basic principle, does it? You ask them that very specific question; (“who is the victim” should work as well) that requires the specific answer. It does not invoke the question of who should be doing what. That, as you say, is a distraction. The question, “Who’s rights are being violated?” gives no real wiggle room. I’d put it in there with Joe’s “Just One Question” in that regard.

    The best your opponent could do, and only in some cases, is point to the existing socialist/totalitarian infrastructure that has metastasized throughout our society, which makes everything everyone’s business. “Your smoking means I’m forced to pay for your lung cancer treatment” is one example. You can come up with three dozen more such examples at the drop of a hat I’m sure, but in each of those cases, there is a pre-existing system of coercion that’s to blame. The same would be true of, “Your buying recreational drugs is funding terrorist activities”. No, the prohibition is what has, by immutable law of nature, resulted in the criminal organizations getting the financial incentive and empowerment in the drug trade. And so on.

    What we are trying to establish are nice, polite, reasonable, principled, well-researched and compelling reasons why other people should (voluntarily if at all possible) go fuck themselves, which, on balance, is vastly more productive than trying to force other people, by law, to live their lives in certain ways that please us.

    On that note, “I am (or they are) not your jester, your pet, your entertainer, your little toy or your property. You do not have the right to force me to behave in such a way as to please you or make you comfortable” is another reasonable, though less specific, retort.

  7. Lyle,

    My arguments usually run: “Who’s being hurt?”, “What harm are they causing?”, or “They ain’t hurtin’ nobody, why do you care?”.

    As I said above, most times, they don’t care about other people’s rights, it’s behavior they don’t agree with so it should be prohibited by law. *They* know better than you how you should run your life and by God they’ll force you to obey–damn your so-called “rights” and the “facts” don’t matter. That /mindset/ isn’t limited to Second Amendment issues… you see the exact same thing in everything from health care to the people that want government to regulate fast food.

    I try to have the (quoting you) “nice, polite, reasonable, principled, well-researched and compelling” conversation with them so any bystanders will hear. You can’t convert the fanatic but you can educate the third party.

    When you argue rights–“Who’s rights are being violated?”–keep this in mind. There are people who believe that society/government gives you your rights. Many of these people believe the government can regulate/legislate/prohibit anything and everything under the sun on this Earth–damn your so-called natural rights, you don’t have them if we say you don’t.

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