Saturday, March 29, 2003

I noticed that other bloggers have recently been receiving hate mail. I'm a bit dissappointed because as of yet I have none to speak of. But I think I've found a way to fix that.

Some observations about commonly circulated misstatements.

1. The military gave us the Right to protest.

Actually God, or Nature or [insert-deity/belief system here] gave us all our Rights, at least the non-political ones. The military didn't give us any Rights.

2. The military protects our Rights.

That's simply not true. The only two times the military in the US fought for the Rights of Americans were the American Revolution & the War between the States (or the War of Nothe'n Aggresion as we say back home).
In every war since America declared its Independance save those two previously mentioned the military has fought for our security & for our national interests. They did so bravely & with great sacrifice & all who serve in our armed forces should be respected & admired. & in some cases they fought for the Rights, security & freedom of the people of other nations. But the truth is they did not fight for our Rights.

The only people responsible for fighting for our Rights since the War between the States have been the people & organizations who have stood up to our own government. That's because at no time has the US been in serious danger of being invaded & occupied. There's been the threat, but not the imminent danger. There are only two ways in which our Rights can be threatened: by occupation of a foreign military & by direct &/or indirect action by our own government.
The Soviet Union never attempted to deny us our Rights. It possibly would have, but it never had the chance. & yes this is due in part to the military being as strong & able as it has been, but also due to the fact that American civilians would have turned any invasion of our soil into the bloodiest military action in history, no thanks to Sarah Brady. Same with Hitler, & the Kaiser, & any other enemy we've had. They would have been a threat to our Rights but they never had the chance.
Our government on the other hand has been, is & always will be a direct threat to our Rights. The military has never to my knowledge told congress it cannot pass a law because it would interfere with the citizens liberties. Now if they were ordered to confiscate all civilian arms & they refused en masse then that would be a valid example of the military fighting for our Rights. But keeping an enemy from being in a position to subvert our Rights is not the same thing as protecting those Rights. It's protecting our security & our national interests which is by no means an unrespectable goal.
The US government has done more to violate Rights than any foreign army or dictator ever has. This is simply because the US government makes the laws, therefore they are the ones who are in the most ready position to be harmful of our Rights. They are the ones who can & have at times ignored their constitutional prohibitions.
So who is responsible for protecting our Rights? To be blunt, we are. No one else, not the military, not congress, not anyone other than the American people are going to attempt a defense of our Rights. The way we do it is by protesting what we think is wrong, by writing our congressmen & senators, by voting, by challenging laws in court, by civil disobedience, by writing letters to the editor & if all else fails, by abolishing this government & setting up one that is more protective of our Rights. (Newsflash: the Second Amendment isn't about duck hunting)
So while we do owe our armed forces personnel every bit of gratitude we can show them for their service, it is because they fight for our security & our national interests, as well as the security & fredom of other nations but not for our Rights. By believing the misstatement that the military gave us or protects our Rights then we do them a disservice & place a dangerous idea in our own minds that since the military is the legitimate Giver & Protector of Rights, then they can also take them away. Thank them for what they do: that'll take much longer than we have in this life by itself. They don't need or want us to ascribe incorrect justifications to our gratitude.

3. Our Right to protest includes acts of civil disobeience including blocking traffic.

Nope. We have the Right to approach government for the Redress of Grievances & that includes protesting untill those grievances are addressed. Civil Disobedience is part of the Right to seek Redress of Grievances. Protesting generally falls in the category of the Right to Free Assembly.
But blocking traffic is not Civil Disobedience unless you are protesting traffic moving too swiftly due to government action. Civil Disobedience is the intentional breaking of a law in order to challenge those laws, or to bring awareness to their unjust nature. If someone can explain to me what blocking a street has to do with stopping the war in Iraq I'd appreciate it.
Further throwing rocks, damaging property, attacking people unprovoked, rioting, looting, stealing, etc, etc do not constitute protected actions let alone Rights of any kind. Article 1 of the Bill of Rights clearly states, "... the Right of the people peaceably to assemble...". Violent & unnecessarily disruptive acts do not fall under its protection even if they are committed in the name of peace. & just for kicks, can someone tell me how throwing rocks & smashing store windows would further the cause of peace?

4. People should not say/do certain things because they are offensive.

While I agree that some things are offensive I realize that my tastes are different from everyone elses. As long as they do not threaten me or my family directly I cannot & should not prevent anyone from saying or doing something just because I take offense to it.
I have seen this on both sides: protestors offending pro war people & pro-war people displaying things that offend anti-war people. Taking offense is no justification for tearing down yellow ribbons or American flags that someone has put up especially on their own property, & proeststing a war or a president or both as long as its done peacefully is no justification for splashing protestors with water or driving a semi onto the sidewalk in order to scare them. You can protest anything you wish on public property as long as its done peaceably & you can display anything you want on private property as long as its not stolen. If its stolen you can still display it but I wouldn't expect NASA to take your application seriously.

5. I have the Right to not be offended.

Yes you do. You exercise it by locking your door, turning off the T.V., radio & computer & kicking everyone out of your house except yourself. Beyond that you're out of luck.
Being offended is one of the hazards of living in a free or semi-free society. The only way to eliminate offense is to eliminate all freedom. Not just some of it, but all of it. God, or Nature, or [insert-deity/belief system here] gave us freedom to comfort as well as to offend. We are in no moral position to alter that arrangement. & even if we were it would demonstrate a serious flaw in logic on our part. So no, you do not have the Right to be free from offense unless you lock yourself away from all contact with humans. If someone breaks into your house & starts ranting on their political views that'd be different, but what we're discussing here is the acts of others in public.

6. The media isn't biased or it is biased towards the right.

The only way to rationally think that is to assume an unbiased position is Hillary Clinton & anything to the right of her is conservative. To keep it brief unbiased journalism is almost impossible although some come closer than others. The fact is most mainstream media is left leaning in the way it presents certain issues. There are some reporters who are more right leaning but they are a minority. There are a number of reasons for this but I won't go into them all here. To sum it up just because a news story does not call Bush 'The Great Pretender" does not mean it's in league with the White House.

There is one notable exception: talk radio. It is predominantly conservative or right wing simply because liberal or left wing talk shows don't command the ratings necessary to compete in the marketplace of radio. Again there are several good reasons for this but I won't get into them here.

Hopefully I have said something in the above paragraphs to inspire some sort of hate mail. Granted, I don't have the readership of some other very popular blogs but I was hoping at least one or two e mails or comments accusing me of being evil would have come in by now. If it weren't for the few I.P. addresses that trace back to federal government computer systems I would feel like i wasn't accomplishing anything at all with this blog & give up. :)

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