September 17, 2013
By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher
People often take for granted what their rights actually are, failing to consider that government might see them as privileges instead.
All the legal minds in the world can collaborate and correct me on this one, but the fact that I can derive a viable semantic conclusion that corroborates the tyrannical efforts of the elite means its just a matter of time before the Constitution yields to another attack on our freedom.
I hold a degree in Linguistics. Not that that qualifies me for very much, but it did make me quite sensitive to the value of words, or lack thereof. I try to be cautious in my word choice, not to accommodate the sensibilities of others (not at all, in fact), but to ensure that the words I use relay accurately the message intended. I don’t always nail the landings, but I try, and regardless of my success rate, there’s no denying that some words are worth paying attention to.
For example, it wasn’t very difficult to make the connection between taxation and theft. There literally was no discernible difference, short of who or what was doing the stealing. Still, people struggle when I expose this linguistic truth to them.
It wasn’t difficult to make the connection between traffic citations and extortion either, or Social Security and a Ponzi Scheme.
In all those instances, one word or phrase was employed to indicate the acceptable nature of the act, while another was used to indicate the criminal nature of the act. In all these examples, we are dealing with words that are, by all counts, interchangeably synonymous… albeit, you have a considerable few who will argue the contrary. Fight as they may, the reality is, they are semantic equals.
There are words, however, that are nowhere NEAR interchangeable, but are nonetheless being conflated such as Rights vs Privilege.
Perhaps many who are reading this know very well what the difference between them is. But, in the event that you are sharing this with someone who may not know, here is the crucial difference: the former are inalienably yours and come from our humanity (or Creator), the latter can be given or taken away on a whim.
Your right to life is inalienable. Your right to defend yourself is inalienable. And even that slave document we call a Constitution never presumes that our rights come from the government and are defined by it. It recognizes rights as preexisting the inception of the Constitution and government, and fundamental to our existence.
A right does not need to be exercised for it to exist. A right cannot be exercised at the expense of someone else’s rights. A right is exercised at the sole discretion of each individual, therefore no one can be compelled to exercise a right… any more than they can be compelled to relinquish it at the whim of some elitist politician.
Why do I bring all this up?
Because of the tragic levels of complacency I’ve seen with regard to people NOT defending what is their RIGHT!
The most obvious example: A person has a RIGHT to own property. Yet, government has fragmented property right into a plural so that it may come after it piece-meal. I’ve heard it successfully argued that property right is singular. To pluralize it is essentially a means of chipping away at it. I have a right to legitimately acquire property. YET, in the United States, legislators broke up property right into a bunch of little property rights that, when that small, aren’t really rights at all anymore, are they? I have a right to acquire property, but some property has age limits (i.e. alcohol or cigarettes). Some property requires permission from the state (i.e. a car or gun). Some property is illegal (e.g. marijuana)! Some property requires perpetual tribute to the state to keep it, despite the fact that I might own it free and clear from the seller (i.e. property taxes). So that right has been demoted to a privilege. It can be taken away or abridged in some way. It’s alienable.
The latest and greatest to be demoted is PRESS. The mere name of this woman is like nails on a chalkboard to me… Dianne Feinstein. *BRRRR* Check out this lovely video of her advocating for limits on “free press” by first likening it to PRIVILEGE.
Spousal PRIVILEGE, Doctor/Patient PRIVILEGE, Attorney/Client PRIVILEGE… I don’t think those are privileges at all. I would think they are covered in the right to remain silent OR better stated my right NOT to exercise my right to speak.
Regardless of my opinion on the matter, even from a strictly legal perspective, the three mentioned above are considered “privileges”. Fortunately, the Constitution is clear about speech and press… or is it? “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”
Is there a distinction between rights and freedom?
Right: a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral
Freedom: 1. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.; 2. the power to determine action without restraint.
Well you need freedom to exercise your rights, and without rights, there’s little sense in calling yourself free. But they are not synonymous.
I can regard your freedom as a privilege. For example: I own a piece of property. I say you are FREE to roam anywhere within the bounds of my land. I say you are FREE to hunt any animal that is on my property and keep it. I think it goes without saying that your freedoms on my property are really privileges defined by me, the property owner. Had I not given my consent, you’d be trespassing and stealing.
Nevertheless, the Constitution prohibits any laws from Congress which might abridge our FREEDOM to speak freely or to report what we learn or observe (i.e. press). It never actually defines speech and press as a right, nor does it say they can’t abridge or limit the scope of what constitutes “the press”. And Dianne Feinstein knows it!
Feinstein uses some preposterous example like a 17 year old high school drop-out who pays $5 for a website to illustrate her point on what should NOT fall under the umbrella of “press”. Weird. Who waits until 17 to drop out of school, and who the HELL is selling websites for $5?! And are these individuals coming out in such numbers, that it warrants a Congressional conference to restrict the scope of “the press” to NOT include these guys?
I believe who she had in mind was more along the lines of an Edward Snowden or Julian Assange and his Wikileaks site. But that isn’t journalism! What is it then? They report what they know or believe to be true. How does that differ from any other outlet of information? Truth can’t really be the barometer for what constitutes “the press” considering countless public school history books are being published every year, and they are anything BUT factual in their representation of events.
If legislators can restrict and regulate “the press” insofar as what qualifies as official “press”, then we are only a few hops and skips away from our own American version of Pravda! Sure we have some of that now, but we also still have alternative sources of information available on the internet. What if such alternative sources suddenly found themselves “disqualified” from calling themselves “the press”?
I’m no lawyer, but like I said, I know my semantics.
I remember someone pointing out that we don’t actually have a “right to vote”. Until June of 1919, and the passing of the Women’s Suffrage Amendment, there was no mention or acknowledgement of a “right to vote”. I was shocked to find this out. How little I paid attention to grade school studies of the Constitution! And how ridiculous my “teachers” were to instruct me that these rights existed… when in fact they only exist because enough people project it upon this document.
There are rights that we do in fact have that are not enumerated or protected as such in the Constitution. A right to privacy is another one, in addition to the right to free speech and press.
Likewise, there are goods and services often conflated with rights which in fact are NOT rights. Examples being education and health care.
See, rights, as I said before, come from our humanity (or Creator), not from government. To look to government to define what our rights are or are not, is like looking to government for moral guidance. All the more reason to turn to ourselves, rely on our own ethics, and forge a better society one individual at a time. Given the high disapproval ratings and low trust levels polls indicate toward government, I have to wonder if people are starting to realize that we as private individuals can do better for ourselves respectively than government can legislate on our behalf collectively.