02 January 2007

"Rights" Part II

Going back to the whole issue of “rights,” I have to wonder where attention is focused. Just what rights are really conferred upon man, really? Or sheep, for that matter? When people concern themselves with the unalienable rights of gay sheep, I have to think that the starting point for what constitutes a natural right has to be restated.

Going back to the country’s founding document that covers fundamental rights, here’s what the Declaration of Independence says:

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.

There are two parts to this, the first being that everyone is created equal. In the most fundamental sense, it means that no one person should be given more or less opportunity to the rest of the statement than anyone else. It is idealistic, but it is correct to be so; when creating a vision statement (which the Declaration is…there was no USA at that point) it is not inspiring to waffle or ramble on, covering all of the “what ifs”. Short, to the point, and without clause is best, and this portion of this important statement is just that.

The second part of that statement does two things: it defines the most important rights which all men share and (more importantly) where those rights come from. These unalienable rights come from the Creator of man, whatever he/she/it is called, and therefore transcends the fickleness of man.

The second part also makes clear the three unalienable which the Founders felt were important enough to include in writing. While there are more (thus “among these”), these three are the most important: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I think I’ll take some time in later posts to reflect on these (and how they are limited…or how they should be limited). The last one, Happiness, is the one which is most misunderstood.

So, if you’re reading this (and, no, I don’t think that anyone is…this is all just an exercise to keep my brain from becoming stagnant from a job which is unchallenging at the moment), think about these three terms, and drop me an email, let me know what you think.

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