Category Archives: Individual Rights

Justice Ginsburg Preferred South Africa’s Constitution To The US Constitution

Constitution, Individual Rights, Individualism Vs. Collectivism, Justice, Law, Political Philosophy, South-Africa

Justice Ginsburg Preferred South Africa’s Constitution To The US Constitution
By Ilana Mercer, February 17, 2012:

I would not look to the US constitution,” said US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an interview with Al-Hayat TV. “If I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012, I might look at the constitution of South Africa, Canada … and the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Al-Hayat’s correspondent had solicited Ginsburg’s advice on drafting the Egyptian constitution.

Go easy on Ginsburg. She shares a disdain for America’s founding document with millions, maybe even a majority, of her countrymen. The US Constitution is flouted daily by the people’s representatives, and has been amended and reinterpreted to the point of no return.

The governing documents that excite Bader Ginsburg’s admiration are documents of positive rights. The American Constitution is by-and-large a charter of negative liberties, as President Obama once described it derisively.

A positive right is state-manufactured, usually at the behest of political majorities. Rights to a job, water, clothes, food, education and medical care are examples. Some of the European covenants canvassed by Bader consider “freely chosen” desirable work as a human right. Ditto adequate “rest and leisure.” Once these needs are recognized as rights, they become state-enforceable, legal claims against other, less-valued members of society (“the rich”). Someone who hasn’t had a vacation, or has not reached his career apogee, gets to collect on such claims.

In the case of natural rights—the only founding truths the nation’s fathers could have conceived of, given their classical liberal philosophical framework—the duty is merely a mitts-off duty. My right to life means you must not murder me. My right to liberty means you dare not enslave me. My right to property means you can’t take what’s mine—not 35 percent of it, or 15 percent. Nada. And you have no right to stop me from taking the necessary acquisitive action for my survival, so long as I, in turn, respect the same restrictions.

As an instantiation of a constitutional democracy governed in accordance with state-minted rights, take the new South Africa, where almost everyone knows someone who has been raped, robbed, hijacked, murdered, or all of the above, in violation of natural law.

Not that you’d know it, but the poor South Africans enjoy a constitutional right to live free of all forms of violence, “public” or “private” in origin. Section 12 of their progressive constitution guarantees the “Freedom and Security of the Person.” Clearly “progressive” doesn’t necessarily spell progress, as nowhere does this wordy but worthless document state whether South Africans may actually defend this most precious of rights. If anything, self-defense can be an offense in progressive South Africa. The law dictates that in the course of adjudicating cases of “private defense,” the right to life (the aggressor’s) and the right to property (the non-aggressor’s—whose life, by this “logic,” is not at stake) be properly balanced.

“Before you can act in self-defense,” remonstrates a representative of the indispensable South African Institute for Security Studies, “the attack against you should have commenced, or at least be imminent. For example, if the thief pulls out a firearm and aims in your direction, [only] then you would be justified in using lethal force to protect your life.”

Implicit in the right to life is the right to self-defense. A right that can’t be defended is a right in name only. Alas, in constitutional South Africa, natural rights are merely nominal.

The same document allows a good deal of mischief for the ostensible greater good. It even has a clause devoted to “Limitation of Rights.” Since some citizens are more equal than others under the law of this tormented land, redistributive “justice” in South Africa is a constitutional article of faith. It sanctions the expropriation of land from one citizen in order to give to another, in the name of “social justice.”

Knowing what you now know about the South African Constitution—what is it do you suppose Bader-Ginsburg dislikes about one of the greatest documents of political philosophy?

From all accounts, it is that the US Constitution is principally a charter of negative liberties. Arrived at through reason (or revelation), natural (or negative) liberties are the only authentic rights to which man can lay claim. LIFE, LIBERTY, AND PROPERTY: These are the sole rights of man. Congress doesn’t grant them; they exist irrespective of it.

One’s life, liberty and the products of one’s labor were not meant to be up for grabs by greedy majorities. Rights always give rise to binding obligations. There are no free contraceptives, Mr. Obama. If a woman has the right to contraceptives, someone has to work to supply her with this “right.” If one is constitutionally entitled to an education, somewhere, some poor sod will be roped into funding this manufactured entitlement.

More fundamentally, if in exercising a “right” one transgresses against another’s life, liberty and property—then the exercised right is no right, but a violation thereof. Because my right to acquire property doesn’t diminish your right to do the same, the right of private property constitutes a negative right. Negative rights are real (or natural) liberties, as they don’t conscript or enslave me in the fulfillment of your needs and desires, and vice versa.

Unless undertaken voluntarily, state-manufactured rights violate the individual’s real rights. Positive liberties—as trumpeted by Bader, Obama, and practically the whole DC Sodom and Gomorrah—are rejected outright in the natural law, followed by the Founders.

Now, the occupants of the Bench who compiled the South African, Canadian and European documents would argue that making some—”the rich” in the West, whites in a black-dominated democracy—supply others with work, water, clothes, contraceptives, food, education and medical care will increase overall liberty in society.

THAT WON’T WASH. Liberty is not an aggregate social project. Every individual has rights. And rights give rise to obligations between all decent men, including those in power. That men band in a collective called “government” doesn’t give them license to violate individual rights.

Rights, as our Founding Fathers conceived of them, are not claims to economic goods, but freedoms to act in the procurement of these goods. From the fact that most Americans, Egyptians or Russians want others to fund or subsidize their lives, it does not follow that they have such a right.

The Constitution Ginsburg, Obama and the DC Sodom and Gomorrah trash each and every day was designed to minimize political overreach, not mandate heaven on earth.

Justice Ginsburg Preferred South Africa’s Constitution To The US Constitution
©2012 ILANA MERCER
WND & RT
February 17

NEW COLUMN: Bring In The Feds! Protection Of Natural Rights Trumps Federalism

Constitution, COVID-19, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Donald Trump, Federalism, Individual Rights, Natural Law, Paleolibertarianism, States' Rights

NEW COLUMN IS “Bring In The Feds! Protection Of Natural Rights Trumps Federalism.” It appeared on WND.COM and on the Unz Review. And is currently featured on American Greatness.

An excerpt:

… The police, whose first duty is to uphold the negative rights of the citizens, appear to believe they serve not the citizens but local mob bosses like Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, and her crooked police chief, Carmen Best. The latter, who seems to worry more about the weave on her head and eyelashes than about the working people of the city, commanded her compliant and cowardly police officers to desert their posts and the people they swore to protect.

Another Black Lives Matter stooge—all-round coward and oath-of-office violator—is Paul Pazen, police chief of Denver, Colorado. He stands complicit in standing down so as to enable the violent attack on author and activist Michelle Malkin.

Ms. Malkin, the scrappiest, bravest woman in America, was physically assaulted at a “Back the Blue” rally, in Denver, Colorado, on July 21. Police were present all right. They watched on as a bulldyke with a baton advanced on a little Braveheart of a lady, who screamed her lungs out in fury, not in fear.

But the boys in blue for whom Michelle stood up, stood down.

Inspired by scenes of wanton destruction openly enabled by elected authorities and their private militia—the police—Chris Cuomo of CNN minted a new phrase for the kind of “peaceful protesters,” who physically struck the diminutive Ms. Malkin and are destroying structures across the country: “Inequality riots.”

“Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto”: Another morally corrupt celebrity, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat from New York, has made the Jean Valjean Argument from Bread: Rioters are hungry. Indeed, there are some “heartbreaking videos of starving New Yorkers stealing bread from … a Chanel flagship store on Fifth Avenue.”

The same scenes played out in thousands of cities across the country. Worst of all have been Portland, in Oregon, and Seattle in Washington State.

So, finally, President Trump has sent in the cavalry. The president launched “Operation Legend.” “Announcing a surge of federal law enforcement in American communities plagued by violent crime,” Trump added that he had “no choice but to get involved.”

This paleolibertarian supports the president’s belated defensive actions to launch a counter-terrorism operation with the aim of crushing a violent insurrection against law-abiding America.

It is essential to take back the streets, and to quit misnaming a repulsive specter that is neither democratic nor peaceful.

Upholding rights to life, liberty and property is a government’s primary—some would say only—duty.

Belatedly, and in furtherance of the violation of individual rights, Democrats frequently rediscover American federalism. (In fairness, to promote their political agenda, Republicans are as opportunistic about deferring to the division-of-power bequeathed by the Founders. Rather than mandate facemasks to save people from dying and killing others; Republicans have left local leaders to supervise the killing fields of COVID.)

The reason the president’s domestic counter-terrorism operation is warranted is because the people’s rights to life, liberty and property are being systematically violated.

And natural rights antedate the state apparatus. Federalism is an excellent principle, but it is not a religion. …

... READ THE REST.  NEW COLUMN IS “Bring In The Feds! Protection Of Natural Rights Trumps Federalism.” It appeared on WND.COM and on the Unz Review. And is currently featured on American Greatness.

 

UPDATED II (4/30): NEW COLUMN: The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective

Ethics, Healthcare, Individual Rights, libertarianism, Liberty, Logic, Paleolibertarianism, Republicans, WMD

NEW COLUMN IS “The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective.” It is currently on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

This column is an honest examination of some highly complex questions and issues, without resorting to the smug self-satisfied SIN OF ABSTRACTION: “I’m so ideologically pure, look at me.”

As I say, “If I appear to be struggling with the ethics of this emergency—it is because I am. I must. This is vexing stuff.”

But readers do not want an honest struggle and a multi-faceted, nuanced examination of the issues. They want dogma; their own. Actually, the objections one critical reader mouthed are simplistic Republican dogma, sounded by almost all creedal Republicans; BUT NOT necessarily by all libertarians.

When libertarians begin to sound like Republicans all the time, it’s time to “check your premises.”

In any event, here is a short excerpt. Follow the hyperlinks to the website of your choice:

I was running up the mountain the other day. A couple was walking down it. I quickly crossed over, so as not to expirate all over them. To my surprise, they thanked me profusely.

I’m healthy; they looked fit. Distancing may not have been necessary in this case. Yet, in this simple act of conscious distancing, in the epochal age of a terrifying, communicable disease—my neighbors and I had come closer than ever before. Fear gave way to fellow feeling.

Having lived in both the developed and underdeveloped world, I have always associated social distancing with civility and civilization.

Cultures that honor personal boundaries have always seemed better than cultures which don’t—more genteel, refined and respectful.

Ditto people who keep a respectful distance: They have more merit than those who get in your face.

Which is why the wish expressed by so many freedom-loving protesters to violate the personal space of others is vexing.

Which is why comments such as the following are anathema:

“Your ‘health’ does not supersede my right.”

“Give me liberty or give me COVID-19.”

“I am not required to descend into poverty for you.”

In the absence of clinical therapies or a vaccine for coronavirus, the successful return to work rests, very plainly, on the willingness of the citizenry to cover up, keep clean and keep a distance. Why would anyone wish to infringe on another’s personal space, when the stakes are clearly so high?

Insisting on unfettered freedom to come and go as one pleases, sans protection, comes at a grave cost to others—it could constitute aggression against innocent others.

By the same token, the shuttering of private property by the State is an incontrovertible violation of private property rights. …

... READ THE REST. NEW COLUMN, “The Ethics of Social Distancing: A Libertarian Perspective,” is currently on WND.COM and The Unz Review.

UPDATE I (4/24): Some responses to readers. These should give you some idea of the intellectual climate out there:

@der einzige

What do we have here? Pointless, filthy, foaming at the mouth, directed at a writer; foul cuss words and hysterics utterly unmoored from the text “addressed.”

This is what my impartial examination of a “vexing” situation from different angles did to you.

The advice of Humphrey Bogart, playing Rick Blaine in “Casablanca,” should be considered: “I never saw a dame yet that didn’t understand a good slap in the mouth …”

You (male or female) qualify. Settle down. Give yourself that slap in the mouth. I write a column. You stepped into its space. Step out. Bow out. You have nothing reasonable or well-reasoned to add. Never will.

But no, you would rather anything that causes YOU cognitive dissonance be removed.

@Weston Waroda

Glad you admit, at least, that you are “railing,” and that, what you wrote, to quote, “wasn’t so much disagreement with [me] anyway as [your] own personal anguish.”

The unfortunate state of “thought” on this thread is that it demands a certain dogma to cheer on.

To thinking libertarians, the pandemic presents dilemmas. To tinny ideologues it doesn’t. I’m not a tinny ideologue. Too easy, too dishonest.

I could offer up rah-rah dogma to those who feel anguish and anger. I won’t.

In addition, I am not “advocating” any position, as you asserted; I am explaining positions. Distortions of my text are of a piece with the hysterical tone that develops on the threads to my articles.

There has been no advocacy for tyranny here and there is no applause for the State; only an honest examination of some complex questions and issues, without resorting to the smug self-satisfied SIN OF ABSTRACTION: “I’m so ideologically pure, look at me.”

Actually, what the reader mouths is the simplistic Republican dogma, sounded by almost all creedal Republicans; BUT NOT necessarily by all libertarians.

See: https://apnews.com/cfcdd563167c5ba60aa0e9011f4446cd

When libertarians begin to sound like Republicans, it’s time to “check your premises.”

It’s odd that an honestly conflicted look at the COVID-19 issues from all sides elicits such outrage. Is this the “Closing of the American Mind,” or what?

I recommend hearing from this New Yorker, who is in the thick of it. Warning: nuanced, closely reasoned thinking:

https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002826.html
https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002814.html
https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002811.html

https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002800.html

https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra/notablog/archives/002806.html

all the best,
ilana

@Exile

Thanks for the polite comment, in general, and this sharp observation, in particular:

The reason I as an ex-Objectivist still read Ilana Mercer is that she is one of the few libertarians who know [sic] the difference between anarchy and a functioning government that still prioritizes libertarian freedoms.

Your observation comports with my consistent attempts to avoid “that sin of abstraction.” Reality is the ultimate adjudicator of truth, in my thinking.

I presume, then, that you’ve read “Libertarian Anarchism’s Justice Problem” (2015):

http://www.ilanamercer.com/2015/04/libertarian-anarchisms-justice-problem/

Thanks for your thoughtful feedback.
ilana

• Replies: @Exile

 

Exile says:

@ILANA Mercer

That’s another good piece on the “is-ought” dilemma of libertarianism.

I like your citations above re: Republicans as well. The GOP has co-opted many libertarian concepts in the “tactical” fashion I mentioned to WW above, to the discredit of serious thinkers and the concepts themselves.

It’s in the common interest of all anti-establishment thinkers from libertarians to sincere Leftists to nationalist-populists to discredit and ultimately marginalize both major U.S. parties. The GOP is the lowest-hanging fruit. GOP delenda est, then on to the Democrats.

UPDATED II (4/30): If you dare honor the dead …

Aztec Princess Ana Navarro Has No Christian Mercy For Roger Stone, Only Irrational Vengeance

Classical Liberalism, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Individual Rights, Justice, Law, Morality

A man can be robbed of his liberty for life for lying to professional liars: to politicians. Politicians, in turn, may lie—and do lie—to citizens whenever they open their gobs, but are not legally liable for their lies. This is what occurs in a system in which those in power set the rules for themselves.

But the blood-thirsty Ana Navarro, every bit the Aztec princess, doesn’t care about mercy and justice. She brings to the United States an all-consuming, utterly un-Christian and un-American, lust for the blood of her political opponents, and proportional punishment, namely justice, be dammed.

How Second World. Ms. Navarro-Cárdenas is from Nicaragua. She is a Republican.

Via Mediate:

The CNN commentator … told the network she was rejoicing in Donald Trump confidante Roger Stone’s conviction, saying she hopes Stone “rots in jail and then in hell.”

“I have to tell you, the Sacred Heart nuns told me not to rejoice over another person’s grief and distress, but I can’t be happier that this guy got convicted on all seven counts,” The View co-host told CNN Newsroom anchor Fredricka Whitfield Sunday afternoon.

“Why’s that?” Whitfield asked.

“Because he has been incredibly misogynistic,” Navarro responded. “He’s been racist, he’s been a jerk. He’s attacked people like me, he’s attacked Donna Brazile, he’s attacked Don Lemon, he’s attacked Roland Martin, he’s attacked so many friends of mine in the vilest of forms and guess what … we are all people of color. He is a racist and misogynist… and frankly I hope he rots in jail and then in hell.”

In the First World we are not supposed to imprison a man for life for being a “jerk,” a “racist,” and having neem mean to Ana.

What a bad, bad person is Ana Navarro-Cárdenas