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What are inalienable rights?

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 11:58 am
This could probably be in Politics or Philosophy or Religion/Spirituality. But I picked here and the moderator can put it elsewhere if it seems more appropriate.

The question: What are the 'inalienable rights' and 'the Blessings (capital B) of Liberty' as found in the Declaration and Preamble? Do they come from God? For those of you who do not believe in God, where do they come from? Who decides what they are?

The Declaration of Independence
Quote:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution:
Quote:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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limbodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 01:06 pm
All of the "inalienable rights"? I don't think that can be answered, new ones are created as the world expands. (for example, the right to have your emails to your lawyer protected. This was not in the original document)

According to the Declaration we are endowed by our creator. Blissfully neutral in origin. Call it god, call it the accident of birth, call it fate, whatever. Point being that we all inherit those rights upon our entrance to the world.

And really the "blessings of liberty" are liberty itself. Freedom. The freedom to do as you will so long as you're not mucking about with others' freedom. (our 'posterity' means our kids and their kids etc.)
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 01:14 pm
Fox, see here:

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10409

and here

http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=22387

The first is a long and good discussion of this topic.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 01:14 pm
fox and limbo, Literally, unalienable rights simply means non-transferrable.
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limbodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 01:56 pm
non-transferable would be one.

non-removable would be the more appropriate one methinks.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 03:17 pm
Indeed, limbodog. Which makes the definition of the term literally mean pretty much no rights.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 04:59 pm
There have been some pretty in depth discussions on inalienable rights as Craven posted. What prompted this one, however, was a comment on another active thread in politics.

The poster did not have a link so the quote may be paraphrased, but it had to do with the President stating that we need judges who understand that God granted us inalienable rights and that's thet's the kind of judge he intends to appoint. (Somehow I think that probably isn't the exact quote, but we can assume it gets the drift anyway.) It almost certainly refers to the Declaration and to the Blessings (capital B) of liberty found in the Preamble which is the closest thing to a religious point of view we find in the Constitution.

I have always interpreted an inalienable right as those freedoms that require nothing of other persons other than their noninterference--breathing, sunshine, thinking, feeling, etc. The minute our want or need or expectation requires another person(s) to provide it, it is no longer a right but a privilege granted by either charity or law.

Agree or disagree? And how would a ruling deal with an inalienable right such as that? Is aesthetic offense to another's eyes, ears, smell, etc. a violation of his/her inalienable right?
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 05:12 pm
Whatever, foxfyre, The Declaration of Independence was a beautiful piece of writing, and although Jefferson borrowed his ideas from John Locke, they still are the outpouring of the soul and not the man.

We must decide for ourselves, based on our own setting event, what the words still say to us.
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Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Aug, 2004 05:32 pm
interesting
Foxfyre wrote:
I have always interpreted an inalienable right as those freedoms that require nothing of other persons other than their noninterference--breathing, sunshine, thinking, feeling, etc. The minute our want or need or expectation requires another person(s) to provide it, it is no longer a right but a privilege granted by either charity or law.


There is the gamut of "inalienable rights" that the people once had--and specifically formed our government to secure for our benefit--but those rights were lost over the decades (chip by chip) through governmental regulation. Many former rights (thought to be inalienable) have been regulated to almost nonexistence or taken away completely and "sold" or "licensed" back to the people as a "privilege" rather than a "right."

The "rights vs. privilege" dichotomy reminds of "NewSpeak" advocated by Big Brother in the book, 1984, to convince the people that freedom is slavery. Another one is "punitive vs. remedial." So long as government takes adverse action against an individual and labels that action "remedial" rather than "punitive," the rights of the individual magically become watered down or disappear completely.
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