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ARE WE ENDOWED WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS?

 
 
BillW
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 03:30 pm
an "untouchable" in India is borned in that state -

are these right?
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 03:39 pm
Frank, my serious thoughts: the question (and I looked back at the original post) "Are we endowed with certain unalienable rights" is a play on words, IMO. It isn't really a focused question, but that's okay, I am rarely focused myself, except about my opinions.

Hate to cut and paste but:

Endowed:

1 : to furnish with an income; especially : to make a grant of money providing for the continuing support or maintenance of <endow a hospital>
2 : to furnish with a dower
3 : to provide with something freely or naturally <endowed with a good sense of humor>

Unalienable:

Main Entry: unĀ·alienĀ·able
Pronunciation: "&n-'Al-y&-n&-b&l, -'A-lE-&-
Function: adjective
Date: 1611 (changed to "inalienable")

Certain: are we talking certain as in a guarentee, or just a few things among others?

So...my question is, what exactly is the question? If we are "endowed", i.e. freely born, with "inalienable" rights, i.e. incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred, then my answer would be a simple "no", given that legal rights can indeed be taken away. If we are referring to god-given rights, that is another question. So again, what exactly is the question?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 03:40 pm
I don't mean to split hairs about the spelling issue, but I did want to announce that I have changed my text a couple of times before the next response came in. In the beginning, I thought he capitalized only a couple of nouns. Then I noticed I had mistaken some verbs and adjective for nouns, and that he capitalized almost all of them. Not sure to which version you were replying, but when an author capitalizes (almost) all his nouns, the fact that he capitalized "Creator" doesn't prove anything either way. That's my current opinion on this.

Frank Apisa wrote:
Jefferson was a deist -- damn near an atheist at times -- so you may be right that he meant to use the word to indicate Nature.

Oh, I think it's perfectly possible that he thought the creator was god -- whoever that is. I just notice that he phrased it in a way that both atheists and deists can agree with, and the way he did this looks too clever to me to be an accident -- I could be wrong of course. My current guess is that whatever Jefferson believed personally, he wanted to leave this issue as open as possible without resorting to mushy blah-blah. And I admire him based on that guess.

Frank Apisa wrote:
As I mentioned earlier -- the use of the notion of special endowment of rights from God could easily have been occasioned by a desire to provide a counterfoil to the notion of the Divine rights of Kings. This was, after all, a series of arguments meant for a King - George III.

Makes sense to me. But in addition to that, I believe that by referring to "Creator" instead of "God", he could have it both ways: He could convince conservative deists who might be receptive to George's claims on his divine rights, and he could do it without alienating all the enlightened agnostics and atheists of his time, which were a small but influential minority. I think Jefferson's key point was that people just have these rights, and no matter who endowed them with it, it was not king George.

Frank Apisa wrote:
My guess is that is not something you KNOW for certain, but is just a guess or belief. Am I correct on that? Do you allow for the possibility that there is a God -- or is that not a possibility?

I think it's a bit more than just a guess or belief, since life on Earth looks exactly as you would expect it to look, based on the assumtion that it has emerged by Darwinian evolution. I think it's possible that there is a God. But "God" is such an ill-defined term that I doubt it means anything, so I prefer to make sense of the world without the concept.

Frank Apisa wrote:
How do you suppose Nature, if that is what IS, endows us with certain unalienable rights?

In a literal sense, it doesn't. There is no rigorous way to derive "ought" from "is". Just because evolution favors species whose individuals act as if they respected certain rights of one another, it doesn't follow that respecting rights is a good thing to do ethically. Even if someone believes in God, and God tells him to behave in a specific way, it doesn't follow that he should behave accordingly -- God could be a crook after all, or he could have misjudged the situation. But if you believe, like I do, that people should do whatever is good for them and for other people, and if you believe that evolution generally favors genes that make their carriers fit and healthy and cooperate with one another, you can use the reality of evolution as an indicator of what is morally right, even if it's not the only indicator. At least that's what I generally do.

Frank Apisa wrote:
And do you suppose that those rights include the three mentioned in the Declaration?

Life yes -- Evolution favors individuals who don't usually kill other individuals of the same species. Liberty maybe -- a species whose individuals needlessly constrain each others' actions will probably be less successful at reproducing than one that does. Pursuit of happiness -- well, that one is basically meaningless in the context of evolution. But note that the original Hobbesian right it replaced -- property -- is meaningful in that context. Nature has evolved plenty of species that act like they have a concept of property rights with respect to territory.

Frank Apisa wrote:
Nature guarantees life is not unalienable - and seems less inclined to assure us of a right to life than to assure us that if caught, we will be eaten. Nature, or so it seems to me, appears to delight in that.

Yes, but not between members of the same species. The point of my digression into evolution was to establish that there are deep, basic instincts beneath our concept of "natural rights", and these instincts are about relations between humans, not between humans and, say, chicken. Anyway, if your objection against the digression was that you cannot derive ought from is in any logically rigorous way, I agree with you.

-- Thomas
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 03:50 pm
Setting up a government is to establish authority.
Before Jefferson said/wrote the here long discussed sentence
it was usually the king, who has had the right to rule. Why?
"Because,'' it was commonly said for centuries, "it is God's will that he should rule.''

Jefferson and the others were British citizens when writing the Declaration.
Jefferson and his friends substituted the divine right of the people to be free for the divine right of the kings to rule them, I think.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 04:41 pm
Thomas

My sense is that I am much more in agreement with you than disagreement on this issue.

A lot of what I am arguing and observing may seem like nitpicking -- but I have been debating and discussing many related subjects with Ican for over two years -- and take my word for it, there is a need for all the nits I've picked.

I think much of this will become clearer as Ican presents a bit more of his take on this subject -- and I certainly hope you are around for that. You will find Ican an interesting, intelligent, forceful advocate for his position even though he is on the wrong side of it.
0 Replies
 
ican711nm
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 09:25 pm
IS IT IN OUR ENLIGHTENED, MUTUAL SELF-INTEREST TO FREELY

GRANT OR ENDOW EACH AND EVERY INNOCENT AMONG US--

INCLUDING OURSELVES--WITH THE RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY

AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS; AND THEN, DO WHAT WE

CHOOSE TO DO INORDER TO SECURE THOSE RIGHTS FOR EACH

AND EVERY INNOCENT AMONG US--INCLUDING OURSELVES?
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 09:30 pm
i am making the personal guess that the only thing that we are endowed with is the drive to survive.
0 Replies
 
perception
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 09:53 pm
Dys

Yikes---you just said something I can agree with. One of us is in deep trouble.
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CodeBorg
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 09:59 pm
A "right" is an artificial concept created by humans from nothing,
a myth created to manipulate and motivate others.
It's a tool for social engineering.

The right to do something = The ability to do it.
Gods will = "We are very determined".
Self-evident = "We're too angry to talk anymore".

So, my interpretation of the Declaration of Independence:
"We're going to be Free, by God. We Really Mean It."
And that's all that really matters.

Freedom is not a right. Freedom is a result,
that persists only when you fight for it every single day.
0 Replies
 
BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 10:30 pm
I would like to bring death into this discussion, since it is frequently an effective illustrative tool to beings that are finite;

An inate right, woven into the fabric of your being could be defined as 'something you would die for'

When you decide that an ideal (whatever it may be), is something you will willingly put your life on the line for, at that point, you are 'free'; nothing has any 'control' over you.

And, i also insist, in order to possess that 'freedom' born of such a stand, it is your 'responsibility' to be willing to die for that ideal as you believe it to be greater, and more important than you are; it becomes a part of you.

This right is not given to you by anyone, or any thing, and cannot be taken away from you by any one, or any thing; it is a 'relationship' in which the ideal confers a right upon you, so long as you will live by that ideal!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 05:29 am
ican711nm wrote:
IS IT IN OUR ENLIGHTENED, MUTUAL SELF-INTEREST TO FREELY GRANT OR ENDOW EACH AND EVERY INNOCENT AMONG US--INCLUDING OURSELVES--WITH THE RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS; AND THEN, DO WHAT WE
CHOOSE TO DO INORDER TO SECURE THOSE RIGHTS FOR EACH
AND EVERY INNOCENT AMONG US--INCLUDING OURSELVES?

It might not be in each and every case. But on average, my answer to this question is yes.
0 Replies
 
BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 08:29 am
and thinking further; rights and liberties seem to be a product of the dawning of civilization, on this planet;
on the African veldt, hundreds of thousands of years ago, the individual hominids had no specific 'rights' over the predators that sought them out as sustenance, any more than the these beasts had rights over them; they simply coexisted with a grudging respect for one another's capacities.
the concept of being, and of being able to be civilized brought with it the prospect of respecting each other, and being aware of each other's needs to the point of realizing they were the same as your own.
In advanced more aware sectors of the world, this realization led to the consideration of rights as possesions to be respected by all, and the rest as they say is history; except the next few chapters are going to make or break us as 'rightees'!
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 08:36 am
Re-phrased as it is, I would say yes, from an emotional perspective. However, I have issues with the assumption that the human race is a. enlightened, and b. innocent. "Mutual self-interest" regarding the question though is spot on. Wink
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BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 08:40 am
lets all work at it; we might just surprize ourselves! :wink:
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 08:43 am
We just might, but I do wonder...
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 10:12 am
ican711nm wrote:
IS IT IN OUR ENLIGHTENED, MUTUAL SELF-INTEREST TO FREELY GRANT OR ENDOW EACH AND EVERY INNOCENT AMONG US--
INCLUDING OURSELVES--WITH THE RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS; AND THEN, DO WHAT WE CHOOSE TO DO IN ORDER TO SECURE THOSE RIGHTS FOR EACH AND EVERY INNOCENT AMONG US--INCLUDING OURSELVES?


I certainly have no problem with that -- other than I probably would not have used the "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" line -- and I would not have used the word "endow" -- which I see as gratuitous in your question.

As I have mentioned to you in several posts on this issue -- we humans can certainly use our intellect to determine that each individual should have certain rights guaranteed (as best as possible) -- and we should demand that our governments do their level best to guarantee them.

That is what we should demand.

I am delighted you seem finally to be seeing this thing my way.

I might note now, before someone else does, that I think rights of individuals should be limited in some instance for the greater good of society.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 12:35 pm
Thomas -- (and everyone who has been following the discussion between Thomas and me on the question of Jefferson; Jefferson's capitalization proclivities; and Jefferson's use of the word "Creator")

Here is a very interesting article I just stumbled upon a few minutes ago while researching something unrelated.

It comments on those several aspects we have discussed -- and offers some interesting insights into peripheral matters. It even deals with the caveat you offered about the possibility that the congress may not have followed Jefferson's capitalization useage.

Hope you enjoy it.

http://members.tripod.com/~candst/doitj.htm
0 Replies
 
ican711nm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 02:01 pm
BoGoWo wrote:

...

When you decide that an ideal (whatever it may be), is something you will willingly put your life on the line for, at that point, you are 'free'; nothing has any 'control' over you.

And, i also insist, in order to possess that 'freedom' born of such a stand, it is your 'responsibility' to be willing to die for that ideal as you believe it to be greater, and more important than you are; it becomes a part of you.

This right is not given to you by anyone, or any thing, and cannot be taken away from you by any one, or any thing; it is a 'relationship' in which the ideal confers a right upon you, so long as you will live by that ideal!


aka 'Patrick Henry', we agree.
0 Replies
 
ican711nm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 04:19 pm
Thomas wrote:
It seems that Jefferson capitalized allmost all nouns, with no obvious logic underlying the exceptions. True, he capitalized potentially sacral nouns too, but I don't see how that means anything.


It has suddenly occurred to me that the same capitalization scheme employed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence may also be employed in the unamended US Constitution.

I checked it out. The US Constitution as published in the Encyclopedia Britannica (1968) uses the same capitalization scheme as The Declaration. To a lesser extent this is also true in the first ten amendments. Amendments XI on employ our contemporary capitalization scheme.

I also checked this out in the Cato Institute's publication, "The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America", 1998. The same is true in the Cato publication.
0 Replies
 
ican711nm
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 04:28 pm
BoGoWo wrote:
and thinking further; rights and liberties seem to be a product of the dawning of civilization, on this planet;
on the African veldt, hundreds of thousands of years ago, the individual hominids had no specific 'rights' over the predators that sought them out as sustenance, and more than the these beasts had right over them; they simply coexisted with a grudging respect for one anothers capacities.
the concept of being, and of being able to be civilized brought with it the prospect of respecting each other, and being aware of each other's needs to the point of realizing they were the same as your own.
In advanced more aware sectors of the world, this realization led to the consideration of rights as possesions to be respected by all, and the rest as they say is history; except the next few chapters are going to make or break us as 'rightees'!


I think this clearly warrants repeating. So I repeated it for you. I'll probably repeat it again later.
0 Replies
 
 

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