The Role of Rights
Unless, of course, their stated aim is judicious deception. How often do political movements lay themselves bare and open to scrutiny or discovery? Did Lenin say I will purge my enemies? Did Hitler decry, support me until I fear you? Did Mao promise starvation and one child? It seems in historical terms that those that risk their lives for liberty are more reliable than those that promise equality.
Hindsight teaches us valuable lessons. These lessons are just one of many reasons not to ignore, erase or edit history. History exemplifies that most changes in the rights of mankind are associated with technological and economic change. How many of us think of the horse collar as a technological advance? Yet in the 12th century not choking an animal led to increased agricultural production. Which led to more trade, more cities and eventually more settlements.
England enticed migration with the opportunity to own land and enjoy a degree of liberty. America, the land of opportunity. The land of the free and home of the brave. Risk takers that sought upward mobility and a better life for themselves and their posterity. Some may point out that the King granted land which belonged to native tribes. The American Industrial Revolution inspired the Homestead Act which again was an adaptation to technological change. Not incidentally, this land may also have belonged to native tribes.
Settlement and industrialization increased the demand for labor and consequently expanded fundamental rights and opportunity. IN 1916 the great migration and escape from Jim Crow began as blacks moved en masse from the agricultural south to the industrial north. Women’s rights also expanded as their labor was required during the first world war. For centuries, the human condition has been elevated by increased labor value. What impact will current technology have on the value of labor? What new relief valve will be discovered for surplus labor? Are there more lands to settle so that labor can relocate from one area to another?
Furthermore, is technology constrained by borders? Or, does technology supplant borders? IF boundaries are no longer relevant, then what of regional culture? Will nations and norms morph into a sense of universality? The manufacturing technologies of the past promoted national identities and cultural differences. Do new technologies make differentiation counterproductive? IS Technology our new system of governance? In a world where technology supplants labor, what value is life? Have people become objects to control, rather than means of production? If so, does this provide insight into the change in the political climate.
Conceivably a more benign interpretation is plausible. As China rushes to the forefront in economic and technological development, leaders may be concerned about the basic structure of the economy, financial system, and political system. Is a privately centered free market economy able to compete with State run capitalism as exists in China. Consider the Chinese market has 1.6 billion customers while America has a paltry 330 million.
WE have migrated from nobility owning all the land. To a system of land grants to a select few. To broad based natural and property rights. To broad based political rights on a global basis. To redistribution with calls to end private property and change the system of government. The new reformers want to dismantle our ethos, and replace it with what? Must we become China to compete with China? If so, why not say so?
Reforms in America and the West have resulted in tolerance and acceptance in substantial scale. The evolution of norms is all but astonishing. Is there is a non-Judeo-Christian value system that is now or has been as inclusive? How do Islam, Maoism and Leninism compare? Is there a system in operation today that radical leaders look to as an example? What is the destination for progressivism? To what end do we journey? Who is deciding?
Liberal progress in the West has long been associated with increased rights. Personal, political, economic and intellectual rights. What new rights are left to pursue? What systems will guaranty these new rights? Is dissent allowed? What can we think, who can we tell? Is it possible to progress strictly by attacking what has already been constructed? It is indeed one thing to point out imperfections, it is another to construct an edifice without flaw. Who decides the degree of virtue in each principle? What if there is no consensus? If a consensus is reached, how will it be maintained?
Today, we are confronted with multiple calamities. A pandemic, subsequent yet voluntary economic contraction, police abuse and consequential demonstrations, and accusations of systemic racism. Victims must be exploited for identity politics. While we consider Covid hotspots, we must be mindful of past ideological conflicts and outcomes. Underlying most social progress is economic progress. The Union defeated the Confederates in large part due to economic power. The United States won the first round of the Cold War causing the Soviet economy to collapse. In both cases the ideology of concentrated power in the hands of a few survived and was later revived, with a vengeance.
Under the veil of Black Lives Matter, the point of the spear is aimed at our culture. Redefining our history serves to redefine our values. If our icons are bad, then we as individuals must also be bad. If individualism is bad, then we must look for collective virtue. We can all fight racism together and we will be good, or we can all suffer equally. If people are poor and oppressed, then we can be poor and oppressed together, and that is virtuous. The minds of the young are easily twisted.
Generations ago the hippie culture questioned American values and behavior. Would those that attended Woodstock be considered woke today? Mr. Lennon imagine a world similar to those that are active today. The hippies were against the war, the system, the police, and racial oppression. IT actually seems that today’s woke have just been slumbering for sixty years.
Consider a few American cultural norms. Perhaps the protestant work ethic, the land of opportunity, social mobility, free speech and dissent, the right to protest, freedom of movement, freedom to own property, tolerance, social ascension, due process, the right to bear arms, family, and religion. How many of these norms remain unassailed by those self-described liberators from white power?
In a world in which the flame of democracy had long been extinguished new social contracts began to gestate. The absolute right of Monarchs to do as they wanted faced challenges. Meritocracy versus aristocracy was contemplated by a few. The ascendency of natural rights versus subjugation began. Consequently, economic rights emerged followed by political rights. Eventually, as standards of living rose, human rights evolved. If you are confused between natural rights and human rights rest assured, they are very different.
Natural rights are those rights that exist without government. Some, during the revolutions, envisioned these rights as those that must be protected by government. Your life, your liberty, your property, your safety, and your freedom from oppression by government. Mechanisms such as the Bill of Rights are designed to ensure that government does not infringe on natural rights. Human rights, on the other hand, are ordained by man and may not be inalienable. For instance, life is a natural right. Choice is a human right. It seems no right is inalienable in the long run.
IF elitism is related to being invulnerable to the travails of ordinary persons. Were any of our founders actually elites? Men who battled a king, as his subjects, risked their lives, property, and happiness in pursuit of the concept of liberty. Men who served while their personal resources dwindled. These persons bear no resemblance to the elites of today in manner or position.
Today’s elites are a protected class that relies on government to earn and sustain their fortune, often times multiple governments. These elites own assets on a global basis. Let no elite be mired in patriotism, they are persons of international interests. Their assets are protected by a vast military, comprised, and funded by ordinary persons. Their greatest vulnerability is that governments will spend less money and their revenues will decline. Yet, their status disguises their self-serving commentary with shades of feigned rhetoric of human concerns.
Think about global commerce without the United States Navy. Think again how purported threats incentivize maintaining military power to make the world a safe place to invest. Now imagine their outrage at a man that says America first. No more nation building is like telling corporate farmers no more fields to plow. The metaphor is, no more Nike factories.
While we can all agree that stopping state sponsored massacre is a noble end. The virtue of the cause is minimized by ignoring massacre at large. Even modern military actions strain to avoid collateral consequences. Yet, Black Lives Matter is a struggle to plunder the world as we know it. While Reagan aske Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” in the name of freedom, BLM says tear down this society, in the name of what? To achieve what ends?
Lost in the lexicon of political discourse are two very important concepts. We discuss what, without illustrating how and why. How and why provide transparency and foundation. What, is commonly used to incite action without evaluation. How can we measure when or if the objective has been met? Why is the current system failing?
Other than rebelling against established doctrine, why is property bad? How is hate speech different than free speech? Why is the patriarchal family bad? How were political rights expanded? Why is working hard and becoming wealthy wrong? If you are against the current social constructs what evidence exists that your new edifice will achieve your stated aims. What are those aims specifically?
The Covid crisis has exposed deep seated divisions in our society. While some argue why do you have to work in a free country. Others force businesses to close. Travel and socialization is limited in scale or prohibited. Culturally unifying sporting events are cancelled. Information given is incomplete or insincere. Schools are closed. Businesses are categorized as essential or non-essential. Unemployment rises. Deficits soar. Rights are applied unevenly. Government begins to break down. But everything will be okay if you were a mask.
We have a glimpse of the new world order. Young people being conditioned for lower expectations, and lower standards of living, while basic freedoms are being denied. Do not speak your mind, you must tow the line. One of the primary functions of the Freedmen’s bureau was to open schools. The right to education was granted after emancipation. Consider the magnitude and significance of closing schools today, in this context. How deep a hole is being dug for the young?
While the BLM claim to be most aware, or woke, and complain about systemic racism oppressing minorities. We hear a harmony. The new verse is the economy only works for the top one percent. The system is rigged against you either way. Of course, the progression would not be complete if we left out pacification due to drug over prescription and legalization. In the clouds of smoke, we can faintly decipher, who cares man the system is rigged anyway. Of Course, The Opium trade in China is a history lesson left out of the discussion.
While we may say social distancing is temporary and to save lives, the reason does not diminish the foreshadowing. Within the specter of Medicare for all and the pandemic, how much power should the health industry have? Should mayors be able to rule by edict with no oversight? Should government be able to force bankruptcy and violate property rights. Should censorship by tech firms be the norm? If we allow safe zones none of our inalienable rights will remain. New human rights will allow one group to silence the other, for the greater good. Can you achieve equality if freedom of thought is denied?
The progression is divine rights, sovereign rights, natural rights, economic rights, political rights, to human rights, to no rights, or back to sovereign rights if you prefer. American culture is based on rights and derived opportunity. To maintain and improve rights we have to respect our history. Those that do not comprehend the origins, or the cultures where our rights developed, will begin a regression that transports us backwards toward serfdom.
It is our history that reminds us how far humanity has journeyed. Our Icons are objectively remembered for both their good and bad. Yet our focus today is only on what we consider to be bad. WE have the freedom of thought to criticize them only because they envisioned and secured liberty for their posterity. How do the current radicals deal with dissent? What protest rights will endure in a world where free speech is called hate speech. How will tolerance survive their intolerance? What if you do not conveniently fit into one of their groups?
The issue at hand is not black lives. Nor is it social justice. If it were, BLM would have universal support. The mission of BLM is to undermine the American value system of self-reliance, self-development and self-actualization based on equality of opportunity. Where unreasonable inequality of opportunity exist, American values tell us to confront those disparities. Those that would confiscate from one to placate another topple the foundations of our rights. Certainly, Black Lives Do Matter, but more importantly, how we confront injustice needs to be based upon the premise of #ALLRIGHTSMATTER.
An Epic Struggle
The struggle between liberty and tyranny may be ageless. With the exception of brief interludes, tyranny has reigned supreme. The Peloponnesian wars saw Sparta defeat Athens. Roman Democracy yielded to an emperor and then a man god. German democracy feel to Hitler. Chang Kai Shek yielded to Mao Tse Tung. Venezuelan democracy generated Maduro. Whereas Lincoln stated “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of Earth” human history has proven liberty to be fragile.
Two contemporaneous revolts against monarchs had two wildly different outcomes. The American Revolution focused on Liberty. Whilst equality was the battle cry in France. Proximate to 1800 the American Revolution gave us Jefferson and the French Revolution resulted in Napoleon. One sustained Liberty the other resulted in tyranny.
Time after time, calls for equality result in tyranny. While we can aspire to equal treatment under law, we will never be equal, as each person is unique. Whether it be man or woman, strong or weak, lame or swift, gifted or slighted, gay or straight, none of us are the same. Nor can we pretend to be. Given the reality of chance at birth, it is more productive to consider diversity our strength, and different ideas as a catalyst to greater understanding.
It has been stated, that could never happen here. Yet, the precipice we approach is hidden by man made fog. Methods of dealing with the current fiscal strain are not yet under discussion. Instead politicians bicker about reopening and defunding. Does anyone question why the pandemic is most severe in the United States? Are we the most honest or the least honest? Perhaps just the most confused. If economic strain liberalized the Soviet Union, what shall result from the economic strain here?
Once a community organizer and then a senator, Obama was against the Patriot Act. Subsequently in 2015 Obama renewed the Patriot act. Successively Obama used the intelligence apparatus to surveil a political rival. The intelligence apparatus then began a misinformation campaign to undermine a properly elected president. WE know that the war department uses media to impact elections all over the world, but did we envision an orchestrated intelligence assault on domestic political processes?
Whereas Fake news may be an overplayed phrase. Much of what has been reported has proven to be false. Yet the narrative continues. The liberal media is another misnomer. The establishment media is dedicated to global agendas, which include a broad spectrum of partisan participants. When it comes to policing the world there is bipartisanship. The massive redistribution of Wealth from America to the rest of the world since World War Two has been a bipartisan triumph. The opposition to Trump’s America first agenda has also been bipartisan, with many Republican never Trumpers joining arms with Democrats.
From collusion, obstruction, quid pro quo, impeachment, the pandemic and now cancel culture, no president has ever faced an endless onslaught of misleading narratives like the current office holder. Even when the evidence is conclusive no retractions are forthcoming. The narrative is consistent, organized, methodical and tiresome. What is more troublesome, is that the intelligence community has been able to coopt the free press in the world’s most powerful country.
It has happened here. Our institutions have turned on each other. Basic protections have been circumvented. Protectors of freedom have been turned to propaganda purveyors. Personality replaces policy in messaging. What you are against trumps what you are for. Fiction is perceived as fact. When up is down and heads is tails, what comes next?
The next election is not a Trump versus Biden contest. It is liberty versus tyranny. The founders claimed we were an experiment. Soon we will vote for our culture and our history, or, a return to the historical norm where a powerful few dictate to the many. Eisenhower and Kennedy both warned that our enemies would not invade us, they would instead infiltrate us. Whereas property was once considered an inviolable and sacred right, today, advocates of redistribution abound. Some go so far as to recommend the abolition of property. Yet, we know our basic freedoms are intrinsic to our right to own property. Indeed, your vote is important, but a prerequisite to voting is an understanding of what is at stake. History has repeatedly proven that calls for equality always end in tyranny. #ALLRIGHTSMATTER.
Two hundred and fifty years from now will we describe The Obama’s and Clinton’s as hypocritical elites that proposed policies to help the middle class in their rhetoric and became wealthy based on connections they made while in office? Will they be critiqued because income inequality increased under their watch as elites? Would these criticisms be objective and are the criticisms of our founders fair? Will we say neither provided health care as a human right even though the contextual political rhetoric said it should be? Or, will they be applauded for their ideals even though they were not fully realized?
IN the current election cycle there exist a dichotomy. Trump is polarizing figure. Yet, we know what he stands for if we have a twitter account. He leaves little in question. Love him or hate him you know who is in charge and what he wants to do. He is in charge.
On the other side is Biden. Whether he is likeable is not in question. People Like Joe. Whether he is still Joe, however, is a question. Does anyone believe that Joe is setting the policy agenda? Does anyone believe he can formulate an effective strategy in foreign, fiscal or trade policy? Or should we all be asking who is setting the objectives and for what purpose?
If you are against America first, what is your first priority? If Russia invaded the Ukraine while you held office, if ISIS established the Caliphate while you were in office, if Benghazi took place while you were in office, If Iraq became unstable while you were in office, what are your qualifications to be in office? Furthermore, how did you get nominated?
Night is day and day is night. WE have been systematically fed a narrative of collusion, corruption, racism, instability and much more about Trump. Yet, despite all the time, energy and attention all we have is more accusations. In fact, the accusers have been shown to be guilty of the accusations they level at Trump. What level of corruption is required to maintain a broad-based disinformation campaign for 4 years?
America has had an administration mired in multiple corruption allegations in our past. The president was eventually weakened, lost the house, and was not reelected. This was the Grant administration. By 1877 Reconstruction was ended and Jim Crow emerged. History painted Grant as a corrupt drunk in spite of his virtues.
Messaging has made politics a cult of personality rather than an informed decision. It would be disingenuous to say that Trump won based on policy positions. He won because people were tired of politics and phony responses. As Trump said, politicians are all talk no action. Perhaps that was just an exaggeration, but it is what Americans believed. In this sense more people voted for Trump than against Russian reset Hillary.
Biden on the other hand cannot speak a sentence without a teleprompter. The black wall saved him in South Carolina and with the help of George Floyd and BLM the host of unknown interests and agendas may be elected. How powerful are those masked powers that can eliminate Bernie and use Joe as a prop? What is wrong with Bernie being the face of your agenda.
What challenges are created for the progressive agenda if a booming economy is benefitting minority communities? How is it that prison reform is cancelled out by defund the police? What is at stake for the left if Trump wins minority support? There is justification for any measures the lovers of sovereign rights would use against Trump. However, none of those reasons benefit the rights of the individual.