Swickard: The right to have rights

© 2017 Michael Swickard, Ph.D.  “… that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thomas Jefferson
             We have a national conversation going about our “rights” in society. In 1776, the three were life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which in earlier drafts read the pursuit of property. During the time of President Franklin Roosevelt there was a push to increase the rights.
            In 1941 Roosevelt spoke about the four freedoms considered four rights that should be available to all Americans. They are: the freedom of speech, freedom to worship God, the freedom from want and the freedom from fear. The controversy was freedom from want and fear. Is it even possible to be free of wants and fears?
            Later Roosevelt proposed eight additional rights: the right to a useful and remunerative job. The right to earn enough money. The right of farmers to have a decent living.
            Also, the right of businessmen to have freedom from unfair competition. The right of every family to a decent home. The right to adequate medical care along with the right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.
            Finally, there is the right to a good education. Not any education, a good education.
            So, do you have a right to clean water and air? Do you have a right to transportation? Do you have a right to retire when you wish? Do you have a right to entertainment?
            The problem is that some rights come with a price tag. Someone must pay, whom will that be? If each of us has the right to a good education, do we have to pay for it? Is it a right and other Americans must provide this or medical care regardless of if we pay because it’s a right?
            That is a slippery slope when we start taking the productive ability of Americans and without compensation giving their productiveness to other Americans. It is like the notion of a one hundred percent tax on some people. Sounds like government would get lots of money but that is not true because if we were taxed at one hundred percent, taxed such that we received nothing for working, it is likely we would quit.
            It’s a convenient talking point that all Americans have a right to adequate medical care. Do they have that right without compensation to the people providing the care? Do care professionals have a right to be compensated? Where is the line?
            Usually at a traffic accident, each of us is obligated to help, but is it a right for injured people? By getting into an accident do they have the right to compel us to act? Perhaps, or is that an ordinance rather than a right? Different things when we call that a right.
            Years ago, I was working as a school photographer and that day set up at an elementary school in Tucumcari, New Mexico. During the morning, a rough looking hombre walked up to the seat and before sitting down said to me, “I’ve got a Constitutional Right not to smile.”
            I said, “You’ve got it Bud.” He was happy and looked happy as I took the picture. I understood that he didn’t want one of those cheesy pictures. He wanted dignity. I was glad to give it to him but I didn’t think it a Constitutional Right. It was professional.
How do we deal when two people with rights are in conflict? It is like the question: if one endangered species is eating another endangered species what should we do? It is tough to decide since if you do not let the first species eat that species will die. And if you do then the other species becomes more endangered. It is fundamentally the same issue with rights.
            The Income Tax which came about in 1913 takes part of your productivity. It is considered the right of society to take your productivity. How much of a right is there? Can you take most of someone’s wages because of the supposed right of redistribution? Very slippery slope. Maybe we should go back to only three rights.


Reduced attendance for the Death to America parades?

© 2016 Jim Spence - When Iran released fifty-two American embassy hostages on January 20, 1981, the Americans were led through a gauntlet of Iranian students who formed parallel lines and shouted "Death to America," as the hostages walked toward the airplane that would fly them out of Tehran. It would seem that Donald Trump is holding a grudge against Iran and others in the Middle East for the shabby treatment of Americans. Trump issued executive orders late last week to reign in travel and increase vetting from countries known to harbor, fund, and encourage violent terrorism of which Iran is the most flagrant perpetrator.
Did Trump go too far? Or should the change in policy have been extended to many other countries besides Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen that also encourage hatred of America.
The Trump order certainly added a level of uncertainty and inconvenience for people attempting to enter the U.S. from those countries. This is true whether they had or did not have visas or green cards. It seems that a Federal judge has decided it was too much inconvenience, but it is a temporary order.
There is a dilemma here. On the one hand, you have people who made travel plans based on the Obama rules, which were to simply let people pass through U.S. Customs pretty much as they pleased. And on the other hand, the list all of terrorists who traveled out of the U.S. to these nations and others and then came back, before committing mass murders here is getting longer every year.
The question seems to be how does Trump change border security policies that are way too loose and implement policies that involve much stricter vetting of those coming and going from dangerous places, when people are in transit twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year?
The simple answer is you cannot change policies without disrupting the lives of those people in transit.
Another question that never quite gets asked by the propaganda ministries in the U.S. mainstream media, entities that support loose border policies is this: Why are people traveling to Iran from the U.S. or from Iran to the U.S.? Certainly there are a few people with families in both places. Perhaps a little review of U.S. history and view of current events can clarify reality. The reality is there is a cesspool of hatred out there that U.S. Homeland Security officials are dealing with.
Throughout the existence of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the slogan, “Death to America” is described by most observers as a pillar of Iranian values. “Death to America” is regularly chanted each week in Iran at Friday prayers as well as at other public events. This chant is often accompanied by a burning of the American flag. Every November 4th, which is the anniversary of the U.S. embassy seizure, the Iranians celebrate a national holiday, called "Death to America Day." There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of state-sponsored murals all over Iran featuring the slogan, "Death to America."
The bottom line is there is a very deadly problem in nearly every Muslim nation in the Middle East. In most if not all of these countries teachers encourage hatred of the U.S. as part of the general education curriculum. And this brainwashing of children is much more widespread than just the countries of Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. The list of nations where children are taught from birth to hate America goes on and on.

Most people realize in the wake of the attacks on 9-11, the Boston Marathon, San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris, Nice, Brussels, etc. there is a need to change from haphazard border control systems, to an extreme vetting system where safety comes first. This is not as easy said as done……but it would appear that the changes planned by Trump are going to make it more difficult for those who wish to be on site when the Death to America parades and other such “celebrations” begin in Tehran next November.