Political Correctness

Rights and Wrongs

George Carlin said something like – “Americans don’t have ‘rights’; we have temporary privileges.”.

No more proof needed than the leaked plan to take away rights to abortion or the latest round of debates about the “rights” of gun owners after one of them shot up a school.

We’d like to think the Bill of Rights is set in stone. That “we the people” agreed to be governed but only if our “rights” came first.

But it’s never been more clear, that “rights” are not determined by your imaginary God or us — they are changed at the whims of the people in power. Unfortunately, most of those whims come from just 9 people “with supreme power” who are on The Court for life.

One day abortion, gay marriage, gay sex, and even inter-racial marriages are our hard-fought for “rights” based on decades of legal scholarship, precedents and our well-understood right to privacy. The next day those rights are gone (or at least in question). Soon it will be up to state governments or Congress to set the rules on what we can and cannot do with our own bodies and in our own bedrooms.

Don’t think that’s coming? Read the leaked opinion again. It attacks the very foundation of privacy — not the decision specific to abortion. Alito may have added a few lines saying something like this only applies to abortion because of “fetal rights” — but right wingers have already proposed rules based on “fertilization” that would ban most contraception, and you know some closeted evangelical preacher will battle his “inner demons” by suing to reinstate the anti-sodomy laws (if privacy doesn’t exist — the state can legislate away any “undesirable” sex).

Sure, you could argue that the founders never considered abortion a “right.” The word is not used in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Sure you could say that our legal rights are only limited to what is explicitly stated in the text. But you sure are wrong.

It says so right in the 9th Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

If we don’t have “the right” to control our own bodies, whether to marry who we choose, fuck who we choose (consenting adults only) or be forced by the state to carry children to term against our will, all of “our privileges” are in danger.

The founding fathers didn’t want to fight every political battle to spell out every controversial point in the few pages they could agree on in 1787. That’s why they included the 9th and 10th amendments. We have more rights than listed, and the states have rights that are not explicitly listed in the constitution.

A couple of catchall statements to take care of the messy decisions about sex, procreation and anything else that might be obvious for a free people. (I use the term “free” very loosely — after all our founding fathers were slavers, misogynists, homophobes, conquerers and oppressors).

Despite all their flaws, they could envision change. It’s impossible to run a revolution without thinking that things could be radically different. They were killing and dying for the ideas that things will be different — hell, they weren’t even sure what that difference would be.

The political fight after the war took only one year less than the actual war with battles and shit.

They knew society changes — almost as fast as fashion. Peoples’ moral compasses move and shift. What is acceptable to most, can quickly become abhorrent to almost all. Otherwise we would still be burning witches in the town square and selling indulgences for ever lasting life.


Now you could say all this same logic following the 9th amendment and changes could apply to gun control, but you would be wrong.

It’s spelled out in the second amendment. Somehow our “supreme” lawyers can’t read an entire sentence.

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

full text of second amendment

They can quote “keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But they forget the premise… it spells out a “well-regulated militia.” The purpose is to control arms — not to hand out machine guns to 18-year-old with suicidal ideations and let them “open carry” and then open fire into grocery stores or schools.

A well-regulated militia means rules. It means order, discipline and purpose. It does not mean a free state is a gun- toting anarchy where everyone has to be armed and armored to survive. (Good guys with guns to stop bad guys with guns is fuedalistic. Next we will have to build moats and bullet-proof walls to protect the good guys from the armed bad guys).

Security in a free state includes the security not to be attacked by armed people who are not well-regulated.

Sure all of this is just my opinion. Others can have their own opinion. But when the opinions of the 9 supremes in black change — it’s clear “we the people” don’t have and never had “rights.” We only have a few privileges that can be swept away on the whims of 5 votes.

It’s especially sad that it takes a dead comedian to point out the difference. The politicians will stick to their story of “rights.” One side arguing for the exact “opposite” rights as the other. It makes it sound like they have some kind of mandate. It makes it sound like these changes will last. It makes it sound like its something that “we” have or control. But it’s not. We live at the whim of the people in power…

5 replies »

  1. Yeah, it’s a sad state this country is coming to. You want fewer abortions? Quit shutting down sex education and make contraceptives cheap and available. Research has consistently shown that countries that have far more liberal views on sex and that have good sex education and provide access to birth control have far fewer abortions. Yet our geniuses refuse to acknowledge that because it goes against their religious views. Maddening.

    As far as well-regulated militia, I’ve had gun owners tell me that everyone male is considered part of the U.S. militia in times of crisis. I see nothing regulated in that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gave five stars above, but am leaving only three hypothetical stars here in the comments. Was this poignant and insightful, reasoned and well-written? Absolutely. Do I agree with your (implied) theory that nine randomly selected rodents (my words, not yours) could do a better job of protecting the people of this country than the current supreme court? You betcha.
    But was your essay “bullshit,” as the name of your site implies? ABSOLUTELY NOT. False advertising. Fake-fake news. It’s like I can’t even tell what not to believe anymore…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t even think we have privileges. I like to see it as abilities. We have the ability to do things, although the government can make those abilities challenging. But where there’s a will there is often a way.

    Liked by 1 person

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