I’D WAGER THAT A lot of folks wouldn’t even miss it — those who made it to the end of the post below in the first place — but I dropped a stitch in my exposition last night. (That is: the post was written Wednesday night, this is Thursday night to me, and you’ll read this Friday and thereafter whenever you stop in.)
If you haven’t read the post below, please go do so. Otherwise, this one won’t make much sense. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Back already? Wow. That musta been simpler than I thought. OK. Did you notice the dropped stitch? OK. No games. It’s near the end, where Dolly says, “Now go enforce it.” Instead of allowing as how my logic seems sound, she should have argued that I failed to show a qualitative difference between individual rights and property rights. I even elided the fact that there might be a difference. So here we go trying to repair that. At first, I thought I’d just edit that post to include it. But the longer I thought on it, the longer this text got, and the less graceful an insertion would have gotten.
Here we go.
A lot of people have tried to stick a pin in the nature of the source of human rights. Where do they come from? What’s the first right — the ur right, if you will, from which all the others descend in cascading generations? I’m not sure I could put a fix on the exact lat and long, but I think I can define the nature of it. The core of human rights is at the core of a human being. That concept being rather fuzzy and ill-defined means that rights will be fuzzy and ill-defined — in a sort of a philosophical version of the Heisenberg principle, you can not observe both the position and speed of a right at the same time — the one affects the other, and the best you can do is a range of possibilities in a cloud of uncertainty. But it’s attached to being a human.
Call it a soul. Somebody said in my hearing recently (and thus it sticks in my mind for the moment, to be forgotten at a later date) that we don’t so much have souls as we are souls. Make sense? If a soul defines individuality, and the mind of Man permits him to apprehend that he is a soul, then the mind of Man is the apotheosis of creation, which makes us in apprehension (apologies to the Bard) so like to God. And from the mind/soul duo flows what it is to be a Man (in a generic sense, most definitely including women). So human rights are endowed by our creator (whatever you perceive Him to be, hairy thunderer or cosmic muffin), and inhere to us as individuals to the extent that they do flow from our creation, and are not our own, flawed constructs.
The right to life is inherent in our existence, as is the right to liberty. The rights of free expression, thought, and conscience, while possibly expressed outwardly, are still internal to our being. These rights, as I put it, inhere to the individual and do not require an external expression. The right to own property might be seen as being somewhat similar, as the first property one owns is onesself. But rights in property not a part of onesself require external exercise and cannot be held to be equal to those of the self.
(This is one problem with being an autodidact: you often reinvent the wheel. Right about now, some chromedome is going to come along and say, “Popper wrote about that in…[some book I never read].” If that’s so, it’s no end of fascinating, but not really relevant at the moment.)
Relevant to the post below (Remember? We’re amending that post with this one?), the right to life inhering to the individual, the right to defense of that life — of the self — must also do so. That’s the takeaway phrase: The right of self-defense inheres to the individual. The exercise of rights in property — such as defining who may and may not have access to it or use of it — do not. Not in the same manner or quality. Thus, individual rights being, in essence, superior to property rights, the former trump the latter, and there can be no conflict.
At least, that’s the theory. Now let’s do the math.
In the case of what we’ll call the lunch-counter rights — the right to equal access to public accomodation, albeit privately-owned accomodation — the free exercise of said rights is seen as being vital to ordered liberty. In theory, I am forced to disagree, feeling (without proof, I hasten to add) that there must be a better solution, which does not require the abrogation of BOTH private property rights AND rights of free association, yet still satisfies the call for justice in the matter. But, as a matter of practical fact, I do not have a better solution, so must accept the one my society has come up with, however flawed it may seem to be. And, in doing so, I must therefore apply it even-handedly across my entire spectrum of social situations as we — as a people — encounter them.
In Second Amendment rights, we have enshrined in our founding charter, the exercise in property of a right which is, in reality, far closer to a human right. The right to bear arms is the outward exercise of the right to life — and the consequent right to defend that life. And the self contained therein.
The right has recently — belatedly, and in a niggardly fashion — been recognized in the courts. (How insidious and despicable is it that the government gets to decide the merits of limits on its own power?)
If we recognize the right of the self to defend itself, then deny it the right to possession, carriage, and use of the most efficacious means of self-defense, are we not being despicable little hair-splitters, tyrants both gross and petty?
So, it follows as night does the day that no actor — state nor private — may deny a Man the right to bear arms. Nor, in the case of public accomodation, at least, may private property rights be allowed to trump.
Making any more sense?
(I can’t wait until Kevin Baker gets his teeth into THAT.)