Thursday, January 5, 2012

Only Americans Get Rights

Something has been troubling me a lot lately about the subject of "rights."  There are a lot of people who have turned a blind eye to the injustice that has been caused to many of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, but whenever an American citizen might lose his or her rights, those same people get ready to start a revolution.

I bet the same people say that it was right to stop Saddam from slaughtering his people.  They'd probably also condemn any other country for detaining people and holding them without trial.  I guaranfuckingtee that if an American citizen was declared to be a potential danger and snatched up by a foreign country and held without trial indefinitely, that there would be a huge uproar with many Americans.

I can see it now.  "His rights are being violated!"  Well, according to the logic of some people, apparently only his American rights are being violated.  Apparently, it's totally cool to violate human rights and natural right theory so long as the person you're boning is not a citizen of your country.

I hate to say it, but I see this as fairly black and white.  If you believe in natural rights theory, then you have to believe that every human being, regardless of citizenship, has those rights.  You would then have to believe that any violation of said rights cannot be excused.

But if you think it's okay to violate the natural rights of non-citizens, then you actually don't believe in natural rights.  That is, unless, you think that non-citizens aren't human.  If you think they don't count as human beings, then sure, it's cool to do whatever you want to them since they have no rights anyway.

I would LOVE for someone to take me to task on this one.  Comments are highly encouraged.


Jersey McJones said...

Sorry, Jack. can't take you to task. You are right.


Silverfiddle said...

You're confused Jack.

Life, liberty and property are natural rights. Everyone everywhere possesses them by virtue of being a human being.

Habeas corpus, representation, confinement and trial laws are human inventions.

Fight in a war or commit a crime and you endanger you natural rights. The alternative is anarchy and might makes right.

This is not a natural rights issue. It is an issue of how capacious a declaration of war is, and what the definition of a battlefield is. That is where the problem lies.

I think we would all agree that capturing an enemy combatant with weapons in his hands on a battlefield in Tarin Khowt is a clear case of an enemy combatant.

Snatching a suspect off of the streets of Paris and clapping him in Gitmo for indefinite detention because we suspect terrorist ties would be wrong.

So the mischief lies in between these two extremes.

We don't like to face it, but much of right and wrong, in the international realm, is decided by international majority rule. What gave the allies the right to host the Nurenberg Trials and execute the guilty?

What give the ICC in The Hague the right to snatch Slobo Milosevic from his own country and try him endlessly until he finally died?

Did they violate his natural rights?

The real problem here is that we are operating internationally and we are perceived to be exceeding the bounds of the Geneva convention, in some cases.

It's that Batman movie that Heath Ledger was in.

And Jersey has no standing in this debate since he doesn't even believe in natural rights.

Jack Camwell said...

They might be human inventions, but they are certainly derived from natural rights theory. And those are rights guaranteed to every American through the constitution.

Not all of the people detained and held in Gitmo were actually connected to Al Qaeda or any terrorist organization. I think I posted a perfect example.

And you believe that the NDAA language granting the military the power to detain citizens without trial is wrong and violates our rights as citizens.

Fouad was not a combatant, he was not a genocidal maniac. In fact, he was a philanthropist. Yet because someone thought he might have been given money to Al Qaeda, he was thrown in a military prison and subjected to waterboarding and such things for eight years.

Only to discover that his "confessions," were completely erroneous and false, given simply because he wanted the torture to stop.

That is a grave injustice, and that's what happens when we play fast and loose with the rules for the sake of "security."

If you feel as though your rights would be violated by being detained and held without trial on a whim, then why wouldn't you imagine that any other human deserves the same respect you feel is due to you?

Liberty is one of those inalienable rights, yes? Tell me, how is detaining a person and holding them without trial NOT violating someone's right to liberty?

Silverfiddle said...

You had me in agreement up until your last paragraph.

Liberty is one of those inalienable rights, yes? Tell me, how is detaining a person and holding them without trial NOT violating someone's right to liberty?

By definition, locking up a suspected criminal (one standard) and an enemy combatant (different standard) are strictly speacing both violations of someone's right to liberty. And they are authorized by law as decided by the people through their representatives.

Locking up a combatant for the duration of hostilities is recognized as a legitimate activity under international conventions.

Again, your argument should be with how the US legally defined "combat" "enemy combatant" and "war" and "battlefield"

Declaring the United States, and indeed the whole world a combat zone is fraught with abuses. That is where the problem is.

Jersey McJones said...

I never knew you were so against the GWOT, Silver. I always figured you for a hawk on that.

So let me get this straight...

You agree with Jack, and I, that life, liberty, and property must be protected by law as they are "natural rights" (whatever that is), which means you'd have to have some kind of specific laws in order to ensure these rights, like habeas corpus, representation, confinement and trial laws, which you see as "human inventions" as if some other animal came up with "natural rights."

However you came to it, as oddly circuitous as it was, I'm glad you agree these 9/11 laws are a disaster for our rights and our future.


Harrison said...

A big reason why so many of those detainees are still there is because no country wants them... including the ones they came from.

Silverfiddle said...

Harrison makes an excellent point.

I wrote about this three years ago...

Hyperpower and Hypocrites

Jersey: I have been saying for a long time that the GWOT has suffered from a lack of coherent framework supported by international consensus.

I'm not against GWOT, I just think the broader we define it, the more likely rights will get trampled.

I can understand how you are still stumbling in the dark trying to understand what I have said, since you previously stated that our rights come from man, not nature.

According to you, if somebody passes a law, then it's all ok, so I don't know where you get off even entering a discussion on natural rights.

Silverfiddle said...

Here Jersey, reading this may clear up your confusion about natural rights and the law. It's not very in-depth and it's far from complete, but it is a nice thumbnail sketch...

Jersey McJones said...

Nice try, Silver. I'm well aware of the natural law and natural rights and all that nonsense. It's nonsense, deliberate nonsense. It's just a backdoor way to insert religion into law, just like "Intelligent Design." It's bullshit.

And of course I know you are pro-GWOT. You're a conservative. I was busting your chops. I expect you to support a massive war machine, and war, and heck, people running around like Rambo in the woods.

Right? Can I say that? Because you just misrepresented me and what I believe like you really just don't understand it even a tiny little bit - as if projecting a simplistic epistemology on someone else's.

Silver, we're a modern, huge, complex society, and you just can't seem to grasp that.


Anonymous said...

Did you know that if you are NOT Pro-GWOT, you are automatically classified as an anti-Semite -- by Zionists, most Jews and by Evangelical Christians eagerly awaiting "The Rapture?"

If you get branded an anti-Semite, you are in big, BIG Trouble. You will probably lose your job, and will have one sweet son-of-a-bitch of a time finding another.

if you were a "professor," or a "mid-level executive," you might have a future in Lawn Care or Street-Sweeping -- IF you're lucky.

This can't possibly occur, of course, until AFTER you've been tarred, feathered and ridden out of town on a rail -- or the moral equivalent thereof.

If you want to survive in THIS world, Babycakes, you'd better learn who your MASTERS are right quick.

~ FreeThinke

Jersey McJones said...

I worked for a large foreign corporation back when the GWOT began, and my views were well known around the office. No one suggested I was anti-Semitic or anything like that. I worked with Israelis back then, and they were not very pleased with the GWOT, feeling as I did that it was just the latest excuse for the US to continue the military empire.

Now, of course, if you work for US right wing nuts, you may have a problem if you feel the way I do.


manapp99 said...

You have to start with the basic truth that there are no natural rights. From the moment your conceived your subject to the whims of other humans and events. You have no right to anything and your existence is one derived purely from chance. As citizens of one connected group of humans or another all your rights have been accorded by other humans. If your a kid born 5 feet from the Mexican border for instance your rights are drastically different than those born just five feet away from you. Therefore society is fully justified to apply rights in anyway they see fit and the individual is fully justified to react to them in anyway he sees fit. That kid born close to the border has the right to walk to the other side and society has the right to arrest him. Neither right is wrong. The drawing of your next breath could be subject to another human deeming it his right to put a high power rifle slug in your brain preventing it from happening. It is your right to close your blinds. Rights are man's invention and do not exist in nature at all. In one way everything you do is your right and in another nothing is. Clearly there are no "natural rights"

manapp99 said...

BTW...your funny sons of bitches slide show is great. Entertaining and distracting.

Silverfiddle said...

And so the logical conclusion from Jersey and Manap's "thinking" is that I can shoot you in the face and take your life, since you have no right to it.

Also, slavery in this country was cool, aok, and not a violation of the rights of other human beings because the leaders said so.

manapp99 said...

Not so fast Silver. Your putting keystrokes in my fingers that aren't there. I am not saying that treating anyone badly is o.k. I am saying that rights are not given by nature but by man. Man's mistreatment of others is by no means acceptable to me. I agree totally with Jack that rights are arbitrarily given and taken by man but I disagree that there is anything as natural rights. Check out this definition of rights for Wiki.

"Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory."

I agree with this definition and by definition rights that are given by society can be taken by society. Or changed in what ever way those who are dishing them out decides. This does not mean I think they should, only that they can. As the slaves or Indians or any other oppressed people will tell you, you are only entitled to the rights that those with power over you decide your entitled to. Or as my dad use to tell me. If your stopped by a cop and feel that your right and he is wrong remember who is wearing the gun. There is no point in being dead right.

Silverfiddle said...

So by your philosophy, if government deems it, hunting transvestites is OK, as is enslaving illegal aliens.

Got it. Your rights are whatever the overlords say they are.

Jack Camwell said...

For some odd reason, the response I wrote to this decided not to post.

Thanks for visiting CFGM manapp.

It's the innate sense that people should be treated a certain way that should give you the basis for the concept of natural rights.

Why should people be treated with respect and dignity? Why should people have the freedom of speech and the freedom to practice whatever religion they desire?

Rights cannot actually be taken away, because a natural right is something intrinsic to the very being of a human. For example, an oppressive government can stop me from exercising my right to free speech, but that doesn't mean I actually no longer have that right. I always have the right, it's just a matter of whether or not I can exercise it.

If rights are given by whatever social construct we have, then you can't be upset when your rights are violated. My guess is, however, if you were suddenly snatched up by the police without a warrant or probable cause, and then held for like 10 years without a trial, you'd probably be extremely upset and feel as though your rights are being violated.

You would feel that way even if the Constitution didn't guarantee those rights.

The Founding Fathers made it perfectly clear that the rights guaranteed to Americans in the Constitution were not created by the COnstitution. Every one of them believed in Natural RIghts, the idea that those rights were already possessed by the people by virtue of being human. The Constitution merely guarantees that the government will (or at least should) never infringe on those rights, and do everything in its power to make sure everyone can exercise them.

Silverfiddle said...

Jack: Excellent explanation. To say we have no intrinsic rights means we have no intrinsic worth, and that is where much mischief enters in.