For some time we’ve heard anti-vaxxers, Trump supporters, Libertarians, and others complaining about how their “rights” are being violated. The loudest of which seems be those incapable of social virtues; much less describe what rights are, why they are important, and more importantly where they end.
Rights are not carte-blanche to run around like a greedy narcissistic sociopath, no matter how hot and trendy that behavior is in society at the moment.
The simple fact is that most of those screaming loudest about their “rights” in American society have no clue what they’re talking about.
What Actually Are “Rights”?
The dictionary definition always left me a bit wanting. Even as a child I didn’t feel that it truly encompassed the important concepts of it. Still, we must review this as a starting point.
In terms of social structure, the definition which applies is:
2) A moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.
(Oxford’s US / Lexico)
In the usage case of human rights, this is both accurate and incomplete. Some four decades ago I asked the smartest person I’ve ever known — historian and a leading authority on life in the 17th century — what proper context and definition truly explained rights, as to me it seemed arbitrarily meaningless, and he told me:
Rights are nothing more than the freedom and liberty to make any choice you like, so long as those choices do not harm the well being and rights of others.
That was a eureka moment for me. Suddenly it was something I could embrace, get behind, and support. Why? It defines that moral component, and involves a measure of responsibility.
It is to this end I became a Libertarian; back when it meant something! The problem is that was over three decades ago, and the movement and its supporters have lost their way. To be brutally frank:
Those who today run around calling themselves libertarian are nothing of the sort! They have removed that moral obligation and care not one iota for personal responsibility.
The libertarianism I learned in the Boston area was constitutionalist. The establishment of law to protect the rights AND well being of the public. They were pro government regulation, to establish protections to prevent the powerful from taking advantage of the less fortunate. They believed that laws should be just, but more importantly should scale so that the penalties effect offenders equally.
That last part being a major flaw with current “fine” based penalties, where a slap on the wrist for the wealthy is almost a death sentence for the poor. A parking ticket that means eating ramen for six months to a normal person, being no different than a quarter in the meter to the rich; a textbook example of unfair application of the law.
It is to this end that the arrogant, self-centered, uncaring dirtbags running around calling themselves “Libertarian” are nothing of the sort. They are as big a bunch of narcissistic sociopaths as conservative America; be it corporate “centrist” Democrats, racist Dixiecrats, or the entire political right filled with nationalists and evangelical whackjobs. Their entire notion of social liberties boils down to “me, me, me, me, f*** everybody else”.
And much like those groups, they use words like “liberty” and “freedom” despite peddling the exact opposite. They’re not the actual ideals of the movement, they’re the marketing blurb to put buns in seats and coins in coffers. Quite literally what in propaganda is known as a “Glittering Generality”.
It is no different from how hate-mongering extremist “preachers” spew unfounded claims of their “faith” being about love, tolerance, and enlightenment, when all they peddle from the pulpit is hate, bigotry, and ignorance. Again, marketing lies designed to fill pews, and more importantly collection plates.
These LIES are part and parcel of why so many in our society have been conditioned to think that they have a “right” to everything. A situation made all the more pathetically laughable by the fact that those who make such claims are typically the most vocal in running around calling other people “entitled”.
1. Being Told To Wear A Mask Does Not Violate Your Rights!
This is the pinnacle of actual entitlement and the sociopathy that is so hot and trendy right now. The reason to wear a mask is not personal protection, it’s to protect others from YOU.
By choosing to not wear a mask in public, you are making the conscious choice to endanger the welfare of others. You do not have that right, because it fails the “do no harm to others” metric.
THAT PERSONAL CHOICE IS NOT A RIGHT!
To that end, I say that those who refuse to social distance, refuse to wear a mask, and other such ignorant crybaby nonsense? If they lack a legitimate medical reason they should be prosecuted for attempted murder, and if someone they came into contact with dies from the disease make it murder. Why murder and not manslaughter? Because it’s premeditated!
Hence we have the next crowd of nose breathers to address:
2. Your Freedom Of Religion Does Not Mean You Get To Hold Superspreader Events
Warning, this section may offend those with deeply held religious beliefs. Most of the statements aren’t directed at any one flavor of faith, nor should they be blanket applied to everyone who “believes”. The simple fact is though that faith is predicated on lies.
There are few indicators of mental conditioning to be found in religion that is more heinous than the notion of needing to go to church once a week. It is done entirely as part of the ritualistic indoctrination used to peddle the lies that keep religions — all of them — afloat. It is where people gather in affirmation of said lie so that the seven core propaganda techniques — “plain folks”, “bandwagon”, “transfer”, “glittering generalities”, “name calling”, “card stacking”, and “testimonial” — can be leveraged to bypass rational thought.
This is plainly evident in the behaviors shown by the truly devout churchgoers when deprived of it. It causes a clear breakdown of mental processes; said processes already compromised by the repeated conditioning created via ritual.
That in the middle of a pandemic, believers will gather in numbers unprotected because of their fairy tales, shows just how detached from reality they are. Worse though, is they try to hide behind their “right” to religious freedom.
Well Christians, your right to believe whatever flavor of faith floats your boat does NOT give you the right to endanger the well being of others. Any more than it gives you the right to go around killing all those minorities you rant and rave about the “evils” of. Just as you’re not allowed to go around killing homosexuals, girls who aren’t virgins on their wedding nights, adulterers, smart aleck kids who talk back to their parents, non-believers, or any of the other of hundreds of other groups that your moldy old tome of lies says you should be out there murdering.
But the ire shouldn’t be directed at the followers; they are mentally stunted by their belief. It is the snake oil peddlers at the pulpit who deserve a full blasting for their lack of morality and decency.
Now, I’m not saying that for all religious leaders. Many of the faith do actually believe in compassion, and tending to their flock’s best interests. These are the ones who have taken their ministry online via zoom, and who have always given as much back to the community in the form of aid to the poor and needy.
No, I’m referring to the radical extremists who still hold regular in-person sermons, who spread lies about the virus being a hoax, who place getting together once a week to compare clothes ahead of the well being of their parishoners. The ones who had their followers cram into buses to be brought before the pulpit. The ones who insist that you MUST “bow down to god” by coming in person before him.
They too should be tried for attempted murder — if not outright murder — for their reckless endangerment of others and sociopathic lack of empathy.
The right to religious freedom does NOT grant you the right to harm others. And this isn’t just about physical harm like social gatherings whilst a life threatening pandemic is running roughshod over the nation — if not the world!
No, religious freedom also has limits since:
3. Hate Speech Is Not Protected By “Rights”!
The US Supreme Court has ruled on this many times, and their finding has always been based on the idea that hate speech is harmful. And not just on the emotional level. In fact, the emotional level is a poor metric. To that end it’s not a “right” nor is it protected under the First Amendment.
Hate speech does real and lasting harm. Incitement to riot, racism, sexism — and as much as it might surprise you given the previous section of this article — hatred for those of different faiths. These ignorant, hateful, and harmful forms of speech are not protected by the first amendment, as again you do not have the right to cause harm to others, or to promote others doing the same.
For Constitutional Rights to hold any meaning, they must be held to the same standard as any other right. It is here that America fails so badly in its own laws; though ignorance, idolatry, and as I’ve said before, 40+ years of promoting a society-wide narcissistic sociopathy.
Thus the comic tragedy of how those who chant “USA, USA”, waving the flag highest, standing tallest for the tone deaf anthem that used to be a drinking song, reciting the socialist pledge loudest, are universally first in line to trample on every bit of decency, morality, and justice on which this nation was founded.
They worship the symbols of this nation like idolaters whilst caring not a wit for what they are supposed to represent. They would enshrine six — AND ONLY SIX — words of the second amendment as if they were a commandment whilst wiping their backside with not just the rest of said amendment, but the entire rest of the Constitution.
Doesn’t that moldy oldie they keep thumping say something about idolatry? Near that ten step program that the next 50–70 books (depending on tastes) tell you all the times you can ignore them?
Seriously, if you conservatives hate America so blasted much, why don’t you just leave?
See, how’s it feel to have that thrown back in your face. You’re always saying that to people who find your rabid nationalism distasteful. Shocking how those who scream loudest about their love of the US are the people who hate its institutions and values most!
Which plays directly to:
4. First Amendment Rights Means The Government Cannot Censor You.
It does not mean that private individuals or companies are held to the same standard.
Just because you have the right to say something, doesn’t mean others have to listen, put up with it, or allow it on THEIR platform. You want to flap your yap in ignorance and hate, make your own bloody place to do it. Twitter and Facebook are well within THEIR rights to tell you to kiss off. It MAY actually encourage echo-chambers, and it may be done to promote social scams in the opposite direction. It may silence some voices.
That doesn’t make it a rights violation.
If you think your “rights” are being violated, ask yourself if your actions or choices harms others. If it does harm — physical, emotional, societal, financial — then it’s not your blasted “right”.
You do not have the right to get rich by exploiting others; You do not have the right to spew hatred, racism, sexism, etc.
To put it as plainly and succinctly as possible, if murder, rape, theft, drunk driving, insider trading, and hundreds of other things can be illegal without being rights violations? Then you can take your pissing and moaning about wearing a mask, being kicked off social media, get a haircut, or not being able to go to the mall/church, and shove it.