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Friday, October 7, 2011

Libertarian Manifesto: The Bill of Rights, or, Life Is Hard, Wear A Helmet

The first ten Amendments to the US Constitution are commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights. We've gone over this before, but not all of you are paying attention.
  1. Freedom of speech, press, religion and petition: Me and the press can say whatever we want about the government without fear of reprisal; I can pray to whom or whatever I choose and it's none of the government's business; and I can petition to the government because I have a right to ask the government for assistance when the government is making my life miserable without fear of reprisal from that very same government. I am an individual, so I was born with these rights.
  2. Right to keep and bear arms: I have the right to protect myself from the biker gang down the street and the government when it starts to act like a biker gang, or some crazy British monarch.
  3. Conditions for quarters for soldiers: The government can't just stick the 406th Army Field Support Battalion in my backyard unless I tell them it's okay. And keep those Redcoats out of my neighborhood.
  4. Right of regulated search and seizure: To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, you can't come in without a warrant.
  5. Provisions for trial: You have to indict me, you have to try me in front of a jury of my peers and you can't try me twice for the same thing, regardless of what Madam Voldemoort, my first wife, says.
  6. Right to a speedy and fair trial: If you've got the goods on me, get on with it, and I'll tell you what, I (or my attorney at least) want to have a go at all of those witnesses you're lining up against me.
  7. Right to a trial by jury: If you're accusing me of stealing more than $20 (in 1789 dollars) from you, then I want all the peers of mine who can get off work, or twelve of them, to listen while you accuse me and my attorney defends me.
  8. Excessive, cruel or unusual punishment: Now that I've been found guilty of lifting the chickens from your henhouse, you can't fine me $1 million (in 1789 dollars) or make me sleep in the henhouse for a year. Also, executing me or making me stand in front of Chik-Fil-A dressed as a cow is right out.
  9. Rule of construction of Constitution: This is a sticky one for Constitutionalists. Just because the Founding Fathers didn't think of it doesn't mean you don't have a right to it. You don't often hear about the IXth Amendment because it's a little scary.
  10. States Rights: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Dear fear-mongers, race-baiters, people who hate bar-b-que and cole slaw, and morons in general, this does not mean the states can allow slavery if they feel like it. Seriously, we ended that disgusting blemish on our country, and we fixed (almost) the resulting stupidity, but you have to help by working to get over it.
There you have them, the Rights of Man, as the Founding Fathers saw them. You will notice that these rights don't "give" anything to anyone, they keep the government from getting in the way of your "pursuit" of the things you want, like life, liberty and happiness. If you have to be given it, you don't have a right to it, unless you are two and you've dropped your Binky out of your playpen. Well no wait, even then, seriously, you threw the Binky so don't go crying to me because you want it back. Maybe if I refuse to give it to you you'll learn to stop throwing it to get my attention.

Except lately there is a Second Bill of Rights circulating on that place you go to be friends with people who ignored you in high school but for some reason aren't embarrassed to be your friend now: Facebook.

This is offensive right to the very core of my libertarian soul. Not because it is just so utterly childish, but because people who think this way are ruining what was once a very cool country to live in.
  1. A job: Sez who? Why do I have a right to have a job? Frankly, I've been trying to save money all my life so I don't have to have a job. Now I find out I have a right to be employed. Tell that to the company I worked for that went out of business right while I was pursuing happiness. You have the right to pursue that same happiness, and that probably means working, but you have to be an active part of that pursuit.
  2. An adequate wage and a decent living: What the hell are you, a union thug or something? You have the right to be good enough at your job to earn a decent wage, and if you work for a boss who doesn't appreciate you then, well, get another job. And how you live is your business. I can't help you if you refuse to fix that hole in your shoes or your roof.
  3. A decent home: Again, if you want a decent home, stopping whining to me about it, because quite frankly, I'm bored to tears with your inability to fend for yourself. Even if I gave you a decent home you would probably fill up the yard with pickup truck carcasses and old refrigerators anyway, which would make the value of my home plummet more than it already has, so seriously, go somewhere else if you want someone to give you a house. Now, if you want to figure out a way to get your own decent house, by all means, don't let me (or the government, or Fanny Mae) stop you.
  4. Medical care: So, you've been eating McDonald's, smoking Marlboros, and drinking Bud non-stop for thirty years and now I have to take care of your sorry ass? And, no, Obamacare is only going to make you less healthy than you already are. I suppose you feel I should buy you a toothbrush and toilet paper too. If you want to buy insurance and eat better, go for it, I've got my own problems.
  5. Economic protection during sickness, accident, old age or unemployment: What you're really saying is you miss mom and dad and living in your little three-bedroom ranch in the suburbs. But remember? You stuck mom and dad down at the End of the Road Lodge and they're wondering where the hell you've been. Buy insurance, and no Obamacare is only going to make you less-wealthy than you already are plus it's going to make good insurance almost impossible to secure. If you pay into an unemployment fund (which is smart) then you have a right to get that money back when you're out of a job. But seriously, when that fund runs out, get a paper route or something. Bad luck happens, life is hard.
  6. A good education: But what if you're an idiot? Or maybe, you go to school but you just sit there and put Peggy Sue's pigtails in the inkwell all day and then during recess you shake down that geek Caleb for his lunch nickel. You have the right to get up off your ass and do some homework, but after that kiddo, you're on your own. Now, if the local school district where you live sucks because the government has run it into the ground, you have the right to send little Dakota to a private or charter school...oh wait, no you don't, the Democrats and NEA will never let that happen. 
Wow, Jack, you're cranky today, huh? you might be saying right now. You probably think I'm heartless or something. Actually quite the contrary. To me, there is no more demeaning and condescending thing to do to another healthy adult than to convince them they need my help, or the government's help, or a labor union's help. Being a Libertarian means hoping each person gets the chance to find their own greatness - on their own.

We have one short little life that will be over in the blink of an eye. What happens after that is anyone's guess, so the way I look at it, you'd better live to your potential while you're here. The Second Bill of Rights should be repugnant to you if you have any respect for yourself and your short little life. And don't throw that tired escape of Liberals I can take care of myself but I worry about that other guy over there at me. Maybe that other guy over there is okay with things, and if he's not, maybe we should get out of his way and let him pursue his life. He if he chooses to live in a way you don't like...oh well.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You have no right to anything someone has to give you. You only have the right to be left alone so you can pursue your life.

Have a nice weekend.

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