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Whose Responsibility is It? August 21, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Having spent time describing the three unalienable rights of life, liberty and property upon which our Republic was founded and from which all others flow it is necessary to speak of the natural responsibilities which form their inverse image. Peering through the looking glass at original intent we try to make sense of the present wonderland where rights and responsibilities are never what they seem.
There are five natural responsibilities. First, we’re responsible for our actions. No one can make us do anything. Even when forced it is still us who must make our muscles move and make our voices speak. We are responsible for the validity of our word and it should be our bond that we will do what we have said we will do when we have said we will do it. Second, each person is responsible for their own sustenance. We should provide for ourselves not expecting others to meet our needs or supply us with the comforts we desire. Third, we are responsible for our children. It is the duty of every parent to provide for the physical, emotional and spiritual support of our children until they are old enough to care for themselves. Fourth we are responsible for the fulfillment of all contracts we have freely accepted. And fifth, everyone has a responsibility to a social system which provides them freedom to use their own talents and energy for their own goals.
As stated earlier these natural responsibilities are directly linked to the natural rights of humanity to life, liberty and property. A person’s right to life inherently carries a responsibility to provide for them self and for their family without making demands upon the goods or time of others. This responsibility to care for our family extends existentially in both directions. Just as it is incumbent upon all of us to care for our own children, each of us, initially claims the support of our parents, therefore it is equally incumbent upon us to care for our parents if they can no longer care for themselves. As we have the liberty to use our time and talents for our own improvement we are inherently responsible for how we use them and for any consequences that flow from their use. And since legitimate government exists to protect our natural rights we are responsible for contributing to its ability to fulfill this function. This would include reasonable taxes and public service.
This is the extent of our natural responsibilities. Once we move beyond these we enter into the realm of moral or religious responsibilities. While natural responsibilities like natural rights are objectively arrived at by the nature of humanity moral or religious responsibilities are by their nature subjectively learned. Consequently the fulfillment of natural responsibilities flow logically from life while in most cases unless moral or religious obligations are personally perceived and agreed upon they must be fulfilled through the application of law and its ability to compel compliance.
As these secondary type responsibilities are most properly the purview of a moral code or religion and as each moral code or religion may carry different obligations it is presumptuous of government to impose upon its citizens what should instead be a free choice. For, the imposition of one moral code or religion could possibly transgress or ignore the moral obligations of another the sanction of one moral code or religion over another inherently restricts the citizen’s enjoyment of their unalienable rights.
Today our ever-expanding government invents new responsibilities and then force feeds them to a powerless public. These include responsibilities to the nation and the world. On a daily basis we hear of our responsibility to the poor, the uneducated, or the uninsured. And these new responsibilities do not just extend to our fellow Americans. Through the continuous imposition of these constantly proliferating rights internationalists seek to transfer the wealth of the United States to the third world as their open borders policy invites the third world to come here to claim it. Using our tax money the government seeks to care for everyone’s needs from cradle to grave. The inefficiencies of bureaucracy ensure that a large percentage of these resources get flushed down the sewer while we fall deeper into debt.
These newly invented responsibilities are not natural and our government must violate the natural rights of its citizens to fulfill them. They do this by expropriating our property and the enjoyment of the fruits of our labor which diminishes our lives from all they could be to what they allow them to be. In addition, the only way the government can expropriate these things and distribute them from who earned them to who they believe deserves them is to increase their power by diminishing ours.
If not from nature where do these government enforced responsibilities originate? They spring from ideology and the quest for power. By preying upon the gullibility of the uninformed, the culpability of the greedy and the lethargy of the uncaring the Progressive clique has gained control of the American experiment. It has used the ideology and terminology of extreme socialism, “From each according to their ability to each according to their need” to construct a conveyor belt transferring wealth from producers to consumers. The Progressives buy votes and continued support by dividing the swag from their plunder of American capitalism. Even though the government’s propaganda arms drone constantly about these enforced responsibilities still the majority of Americans instinctively know the difference between natural responsibilities and government mandated ones. If we don’t demand a stop to this proliferation of imagined responsibilities and the expropriation of resources needed to fulfill them we will lose our natural rights and the ability to fulfill the natural responsibilities which flow from them.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

Too Many Rights on the Left August 7, 2010

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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The United States was founded as a representative republic inspired by the soaring philosophy of the Enlightenment. As humanity clawed its way out of the depths of the Dark Ages thoughts of freedom found root and germinated in the minds of thousands. Rising from this rebirth or Renaissance came the realization that humanity inherently possess certain rights and that among these are the right to life, liberty and property. These foundational rights are not conferred by government they are endowed by God. A godly government acknowledges them. An ungodly government claims to be the arbiter of rights. These fundamental rights are part of the original design and necessary for humanity to reach its full potential. Without them we are but a shadow of what we’re meant to be. The leader-molded citizen of any earthly tyranny is restrained from success in ways alien to the free citizen of nature and of nature’s God.
The fundamental qualities of these rights speak for themselves:
Who can possibly obtain the legitimate possession of the life of another? How would they obtain that possession? Over thousands of years of darkness many societies granted the right to own the lives of others. The dismal slave blocks and markets of shame, and the wasted lives and stunted relationships of both slaves and masters attest to the fraudulent nature of this barbarous custom. According to the Theory of Natural Rights the life we hold we hold in trust. It has been endowed, and it is unalienable, which means even the legitimate possessor does not have the right to discard it or count it as a commodity to be sold or bartered away. This being true, how could any third party ever legitimately advance the idea that they can own the life of another? Life is sacred and without the right to life no other rights have any meaning.
Without liberty there is no ability to choose one’s own course of action or to make real-time decisions pertaining to relationships. Without liberty individuals are but pawns in the game of others: grist in the mill of history. Without the freedom to choose society is locked in a culture of command which restricts the free flow of ideas and materials thus throttling creativity and erecting artificial bottlenecks. In societies where bureaucrats try to replace the free choices of individuals there are always shortages, because no one can accurately predict how many widgets others want. They can only decree how many should be made to fit what they believe will be the demand. In other words, person A can never really know the thoughts or desires of Person B. They can only estimate and guess, thus a command economy and a regimented society always have maladjustments of production and distribution. Without liberty life is stunted and prevented from reaching its full potential.
Without the full and free use of property life and liberty are held within a death grip which leads to a mere caricature of reality, shadows of people pretending to be motivated, marching to the leader’s arbitrary drumbeat and saluting the flag. Or as the hopeless drones of the USSR used to say, “We pretend to work because they pretend to pay us.” This necessity for the full and free use of property in order to make meaningful life and practical liberty possible is absolute. It can operate at 50% but then it is only 50% effective while at the same time being 50% defective. As the right to use the property we create or earn is taxed and regulated away so is meaningful life and practical liberty. If the state has abrogated to itself the power of God to decree what portion of life and liberty is applicable to that portion of humanity within its grasp then it will gradually take more and more of the properties of its citizens until only serfs are left. Partial tyranny begets absolute tyranny just as sure as night follows day, for once the plundering begins its appetite is never abated until it has drunk the dregs.
These are the three fundamental and unalienable rights, life, liberty, and property. These are the rights recognized and enshrined by our founders. These are the rights meant to stand as the guardians and facilitators of American society. And for hundreds of years they have done so. The blight of slavery, which obviously ran counter to the ideals upon which this country was founded, was abolished, the rights proclaimed by our constitution were eventually guaranteed to all and today all but the unenlightened seek to judge each by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. These three rights provide the fertile soil that birthed the greatest nation ever to exist, the one nation all the world seeks to either immigrate to or to imitate.
However, today a glut of imagined rights advanced by demagogues to ply the emotions of hyphenated voting blocs threatens to smother the three which make everything else possible. The Progressives have actively attempted to push these bogus rights upon the nation since FDR in his fourth Inauguration speech proclaimed a Second Bill of Rights to include; “The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation; the right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; the right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living; the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad; the right of every family to a decent home; the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; the right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; the right to a good education.”
All of these sound good and it’d be wonderful if everyone had them, but this is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. These self-proclaimed rights are benefits which may flow from the exercise of our three unalienable rights but they are not rights in and of themselves. If they are rights then government must violate the three real ones to provide the rest of the imagined ones. To provide the laundry list of progressive rights, the life, liberty, and property of all must be suppressed to generate the funds and the power to manufacture and allocate these benefits for those who have not earned them on their own.
Leave the bogus rights of the progressives to be allocated by tyrants to serfs who have no possibility of earning them for themselves because they have bartered their inheritance for a handful of promises. Instead give us the freedom and opportunity provided by our natural right to life, liberty and property and America will be great again.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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