December 12, 2012

Is the federal government a protector of rights or a threat to rights?

It's both, obviously, but what if you had to pick?

75% of Democrats say protector, and 75% of Republicans say threat.

I suppose it depends on which rights you were thinking about.

129 comments:

damikesc said...

I guess Democrats missed...all of human history. Powerful governments trample rights.

TosaGuy said...

If you believe that govt grants rights then you think it protects them. If you believe that rights are natural then you believe that govt can and probably will take them away.

Bob Boyd said...

Are people with rights a threat to the government or a protection?
Both obviously, but what if you had to choose?

garage mahal said...

I suppose it depends on which rights you were thinking about.

Exactly. It's pretty clear unions and uteruses are taking the brunt of big government at the moment.

Mitchell the Bat said...

If it's a constitutional right not to be invaded by a foreign power, then I'm going with protector of rights.

Or maybe protractor of right angles.

Whatever.

traditionalguy said...

The Repubs want their private property protected while the Dems want to protect the right to tax and spend OPM. That makes John Roberts a Dem.

MadisonMan said...

Nice anti-symmetry.

Pretty vague poll question however.

mccullough said...

The federal government has almost no respect for economic rights/liberties and the Courts won't enforce them.

The Courts enforce abortion rights, and, for now, gun rights. They are also enforce free speech rights. They are weak on protecting property rights.

It's difficult to say if Republicans or Democrats at the federal level are worse in protecting rights.

Paul said...

"I guess Democrats missed...all of human history. Powerful governments trample rights."

It's not they missed it, it's just that they crave that power and only give lip service to rights to the degree that it enables them to accrue said power

mccullough said...

Garage,

With respect to unions, how is allowing someone the right not to join or pay dues to an organization they don't agree with not protecting a right. The right to association includes the right not to associate.

jr565 said...

It depends on the rights involved, as well as who's in office. My guess is, were Romney to have won, 75% of dems wouldn't be backers of govt. it certainly wasn't the case when bush was in power or Reagan.
In general I think repubs are more sudpicious of give in general, but if it had a hands off approach many repubs would be fine with it.

If you get the govt you want and it performs the way you want it to its a protector of rights. If not, then it's a tyranny.

This poll is completely situational. And I notice that everyone, when talking about rights are talking about different things. Protecting marriage from being defined is as much protecting rights as expanding rights to include gays or harems. The right in question is not even agreed on by many and people assume rights that there is no basis to assume they have.

damikesc said...

Exactly. It's pretty clear unions and uteruses are taking the brunt of big government at the moment.

Telling an individual they aren't legally obligated to join a union is trampling the rights of the union?

You're actually arguing that not violating somebody's Free Association rights is actually a trampling of rights?

edutcher said...

The reason we have Amendments and a Constitution with checks and balances is because people back then envisioned people like
Dictator Zero.

EMD said...

On the protector/threat continuum, there is usually only one way governments trend ...

garage mahal said...

Telling an individual they aren't legally obligated to join a union is trampling the rights of the union?

The federal government already prohibits this, Einstein.

sonicfrog said...

It depends on the rights involved, as well as who's in office. My guess is, were Romney to have won, 75% of dems wouldn't be backers of govt. it certainly wasn't the case when bush was in power or Reagan.
In general I think repubs are more sudpicious of give in general, but if it had a hands off approach many repubs would be fine with it.


What jr said.

Bob Ellison said...

Wow. That's a fantastic wedge.

garage mahal said "The federal government already prohibits this, Einstein."

Einstein is ahead of you this time, gm.

Marshal said...

damikesc said...
Telling an individual they aren't legally obligated to join a union is trampling the rights of the union?

You're actually arguing that not violating somebody's Free Association rights is actually a trampling of rights?


You just have to translate out of garagese. He's talking about what rights the left thinks we should have, not what rights we actually do have. Shockingly the set of rights the left beleives we have is significantly smaller.

bpm4532 said...

Obviously the founders wrote the Bill of Rights because they knew a federal government would be a threat to individual and state rights if not restrained.

Bob Ellison said...

Marshal, that's a good point. Lefties tend not to understand the difference between a "right" and a "want".

It stems from a failure to recognize natural rights. I write this as an agnostic.

Nonapod said...

I assume the "government" in this question refers to our own current government. There are certainly abundant examples throughout human history of governments (be they monarchies, theocracies, autocracies, socialist states, or democracies) that have violated every human right under the sun. I think collectively governments have trampled on far more rights than they have protected.

When it comes to our current government and protecting rights, it probably does more good than harm in general, but it's far from perfect.

phx said...

I demand or expect no "rights" for myself. I take the responsibility for myself in a predatorial universe. I hate seeing people, esp. very weak people, preyed upon however, even if I don't subscribe to the concept of "rights".

The US government is a big part of the context in which we exist. I'm grateful it's as benign as it is. We are better off than many people living in much more oppressive states. But I never take anything for granted.

One thing's for sure, I don't feel personally offended because someone's "violating my rights." I'd rather just survive them however I can.

Rusty said...

phx said...
I demand or expect no "rights" for myself. I take the responsibility for myself in a predatorial universe. I hate seeing people, esp. very weak people, preyed upon however, even if I don't subscribe to the concept of "rights".

The US government is a big part of the context in which we exist. I'm grateful it's as benign as it is. We are better off than many people living in much more oppressive states. But I never take anything for granted.

One thing's for sure, I don't feel personally offended because someone's "violating my rights." I'd rather just survive them however I can.

Talk about setting the bar low.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I suppose it depends on which rights you were thinking about.

I think about the right to be left alone.

Government is the biggest threat to that right.

Bob Ellison said...

phx said I demand or expect no "rights" for myself. I take the responsibility for myself in a predatorial universe. I hate seeing people, esp. very weak people, preyed upon however, even if I don't subscribe to the concept of "rights".

That's very direct. Thanks for saying it that way. It's very different from my view, and probably from almost everyone's view on the right.

Rusty said...

" All governments seek to enslave." Ours is no different.

Whatever grants the citizen less regulation and more choice is a good government. Whatever seeks to regulate and limit choices is a bad government.

It is why there is a second amendment.

X said...

the left feels government protects their right to be taken care of. the right feels government threatens their right to be free. they are both right.

EMD said...

Remember, Obama's problem with the Constitution is that is a charter of negative liberties.

Paul said...

If we are talking about the basic Constitutional rights then the government is a protector.

But if we are talking about all these new 'rights' that are NOT enumerated in the Constitutional, then I'd say it's a threat.

And then there is the problem with government surveillance to 'protect' us. That is also a threat.

So overall, yea the government is a threat, something our founding fathers saw and wrote about.

phx said...

Talk about setting the bar low.

It's a very low bar for everyone else. It's a high bar for myself.

Marshal said...

Paul said...
If we are talking about the basic Constitutional rights then the government is a protector.


You have to change "is" to "should be" for this to be true. We've been fighting our government for our rights ever since the constitution was written. In many ways we've become more free over that time. But only because we won, not because the government initiated the freedom.

Hagar said...

Obviously the founders wrote the Bill of Rights because they knew a federal government would be a threat to individual and state rights if not restrained.

"The Founders" did not include a Bill of Rights in the Constitution because they believed they had fashioned a federal constitution that would not work on individuals. Fortunately, the people of the several states saw farther and insisted that a Bill of Rights be included as condition for their assent to ratification.
And very fortunately indeed, James Madison felt that if he had promised, he was duty bound to work to keep the promise.

Robert Cook said...

Someone said:

"Obviously the founders wrote the Bill of Rights because they knew a federal government would be a threat to individual and state rights if not restrained."

This is the key distinction (see bolded). Government is both a protector of and a threat to rights...it's not "either/or."

(You forgot to point out, however, that states can be also a threat to our rights, as can other individuals if not restrained by some means.)

We are our government, in that we select proxies to represent and defend our interests against competing interests. When we do not keep tight watch and short leash on our proxies, they make the mistake of thinking themselves, and acting as, the masters rather than the servants--and we, the masters, who grow indolent and inattentive, and become distracted by trivialities, come also to believe this usurpation and reversal of roles is as it always was and should be.

The powerful among us--strong either by violence or money (often conjoined)--seek to exert persuasive or coercive influence on our selected proxies, and often succeed, such that our proxies become, in act if not in word, the proxies of the powerful few against we, the many.

Someone else said:

"It (something to do with lefties) stems from a failure to recognize natural rights."

There is really no such thing as "natural" rights. We exist in a state of nature, meaningless and purposeless. Our "rights" are the codification of our learned patterns of cooperative behavior as pack animals, and elaborated on with our "wants."

Our "rights" are whatever we as a socieity agree to be our rights as codified into law.

Pogo said...

The current US government protects positive rights by violating negative rights.

AKA socialism.

Rusty said...


There is really no such thing as "natural" rights.

Of course not. You were born with a saddle on your back and you'll die that way.

Palladian said...

There is really no such thing as "natural" rights. We exist in a state of nature, meaningless and purposeless. Our "rights" are the codification of our learned patterns of cooperative behavior as pack animals, and elaborated on with our "wants."

This is why it is imperative that you and your intellectual brethren be utterly defeated and driven from public life.

It may already be too late.

Andy Freeman said...

> They are also enforce free speech rights.

Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't.

For example, they're big on protecting my right to dance naked.

They're not as reliable when it comes to protecting my political speech. Yes, they're good on "F**K th e draft" t-shirts but "Don't re-elect Pelosi" can be a bit of a stretch and don't even think about wearing a US flag shirt to a public school.

tim in vermont said...

I didn't know there was such a thing as a logical Crazy Ivan until I just saw garage pull one.

EMD said...

This is why it is imperative that you and your intellectual brethren be utterly defeated and driven from public life.

That was awesome.

Robert Cook said...

"You were born with a saddle on your back and you'll die that way."

I was not born with a saddle on my back or with a "natural" guarantee that I would never be fitted with one.

Whether we or some among us will be saddled or saddle-free is what we, as a society, determine.

Robert Cook said...

"This is why it is imperative that you and your intellectual brethren be utterly defeated and driven from public life."

So you long for the saddle, then.

phx said...

"This is why it is imperative that you and your intellectual brethren be utterly defeated and driven from public life."

Can we still keep our shopper's club privileges?

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook, the founders of this great nation disagreed emphatically with your philosophy. See the Declaration of Independence RE: "inalienable rights" and "endowed by their creator", and see the Constitution RE: things like "the right of the people".

Your philosophy of government and individual liberty is in opposition to that of the USA. If you want your view to prevail, go found your own damn country, and leave ours alone.

Pogo said...

"There is really no such thing as "natural" rights. We exist in a state of nature, meaningless and purposeless. ...Our "rights" are whatever we as a society agree..."

This sort of thinking permitted Russia, Germany, China, and Cambodia to murder 200 million of its own citizens in the 20th century.

Despicable.

garage mahal said...

Shockingly the set of rights the left beleives we have is significantly smaller.

Belonging to a union is not a right. But conservatives feel it is a right to benefit from a union without paying into it. Nation of freeloaders indeed.

Joe Schmoe said...

Telling an individual they aren't legally obligated to join a union is trampling the rights of the union?

The federal government already prohibits this, Einstein.


You don't have to join the union, but union dues are still compulsory whether you join or not. Your paycheck is still garnished, Asimov.

Pogo said...

"...benefit from a union"

Is that what they call bankruptcy and factory closures these days?

Joe Schmoe said...

Union leaders think they're entitled to extort money from workers and first, give themselves cushy salaries and perks, and second, give the rest to Democrat politicians. Freeloading personified right there.

garage mahal said...

You don't have to join the union, but union dues are still compulsory whether you join or not

It's like the YMCA, don't expect to be able to use the pool or gym if you don't want to pay the dues.

Why should a worker be able to freeload off other workers who do pay dues?

phx said...

Is that what they call bankruptcy and factory closures these days?

No, that's called mismanagment.

Bob Ellison said...

garage mahal said "Belonging to a union is not a right."

Yes, it is. First amendment.

"But conservatives feel it is a right to benefit from a union without paying into it."

No, that's leftist statutes working. Nice try. Next time you want to extort money, first beat up the chump.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"You were born with a saddle on your back and you'll die that way."

I was not born with a saddle on my back or with a "natural" guarantee that I would never be fitted with one.

Whether we or some among us will be saddled or saddle-free is what we, as a society, determine.

So any inalienable rights are solely derived from our government?

Hyphenated American said...

"Telling an individual they aren't legally obligated to join a union is trampling the rights of the union?

The federal government already prohibits this, Einstein."

So, why ar ethe unions so upset - the Michigan new law simply affirms that no one has to belong to the union or be forced to support it.

Joe Schmoe said...

Freeloading is someone making the same wage as other people doing twice the work.

Freeloading is being able to get high and drunk at work and not get fired.

Freeloading is getting paid by the Post Office to sit in a room for 8 hours because the work contract requires so many people be kept on staff, yet there isn't enough work for them. This is a place that loses billions of dollars a year.

Hyphenated American said...

"But conservatives feel it is a right to benefit from a union without paying into it."

The union is allowed to prove to workers that they actually benefit from it - and then they get paid for the benefits. For example, I don't feel like I benefit from garage's intellectual input to this blog, so I don't send him any money. I am sure a lot of people feel same way. And no garage, we are not freeloaders...

Pogo said...

"No, that's called mismanagment."

That's a great schtick you got.


"If you can't make a profit using our bloated and overpriced labor, that's your problem."

This way you never get any blame.

of course, that does little good to those thousands of Hostess workers that got laid off, but at least you feel good about it.

garage mahal said...

Freeloading is someone making the same wage as other people doing twice the work.

So can I get a membership at the YMCA without paying for it? I assume you will say no. So, why not?

Bob Ellison said...

Hyphenated American said "So, why are the unions so upset - the Michigan new law simply affirms that no one has to belong to the union or be forced to support it."

You seem to be viewing it from a libertarian perspective. From that view (which I share), a destruction of rights would be offensive on its face.

But lefties don't see it that way. This is just a political fight. They're angry and fired up and all that, but it's not a religious thing or anything like that.

To a lefty, this was a battle lost, not a right trampled. They use terms like "rights" and "justice", but not in the way righties understand them. They're just political, rhetorical devices.

damikesc said...

The federal government already prohibits this, Einstein.

Woosh~!

Right over your head. As usual.

But conservatives feel it is a right to benefit from a union without paying into it.

Unions aren't obligated to negotiate for non-members.

So...who asked them to do so?

And, again, an Obama voter calling anybody a "freeloader"...irony overload.

It's like the YMCA, don't expect to be able to use the pool or gym if you don't want to pay the dues.

Are there 26 states where one is legally obligated to join the YMCA to have a job?

If not, then why are you bringing up such an idiotic analogy?

Why should a worker be able to freeload off other workers who do pay dues?

Why should the rich have to be taxed higher to pay for moochers?

As said earlier, unions don't have to negotiate for non-members. Nobody ASKED them to do so. If they spent the tiny percentage of their money they steal in doing so, that was their idiotic decision.

Bob Ellison said...

garage mahal said "So can I get a membership at the YMCA without paying for it?"

You're smarter than that. I see potential in you. You can up your game. Don't play like an Arizona Cardinal.

damikesc said...

So can I get a membership at the YMCA without paying for it? I assume you will say no. So, why not?

Would you be specifically barred from working in a field in 26 states if you refuse to join the union? Will your dues be removed by your check by force by the government?

If not, again, why use such an idiotic analogy?

damikesc said...

You're smarter than that.

Bob, that is a claim that seems in opposition of evidence presented.

Joe Schmoe said...

It's like the YMCA, don't expect to be able to use the pool or gym if you don't want to pay the dues.

Don't worry; union people have pissed enough into their own pools. Not interested.

I'm perfectly willing and able to negotiate my compensation directly with my employer, thank you. I don't need anyone mispeaking on my behalf.

Robert Cook said...

"So any inalienable rights are solely derived from our government?"

From collective (or coerced) agreement among any given community of persons or their chosen (or otherwise appointed) "tribal elders," as it were.

So, in short, yes.

But you seem to see government as separate from the people by definition, whereas in some forms of government, including ours, (ideally but imperfectly), the government is the people, acting collectively.

hombre said...

"This is just a political fight. They're angry and fired up and all that, but it's not a religious thing or anything like that."

To lefties all political fights are religious things.

garage mahal said...

I'm perfectly willing and able to negotiate my compensation directly with my employer, thank you

There ya go. But if union members make more than you, don't go crying to the union about it.

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook, you are ignorant of the American political system. Start with Montesquieu, and then read some of the founding documents. As I say, found your own damn government if you don't believe in ours.

Joe Schmoe said...

So can I get a membership at the YMCA without paying for it? I assume you will say no. So, why not?

Your analogy is inapt and inept. Try again?

hombre said...

Bob to garage: "You're smarter than that. I see potential in you. You can up your game. Don't play like an Arizona Cardinal."

You are seriously mistaken, Bob. There are rocks playing at a higher level than garage, not to mention Cardinals.

Bob Ellison said...

Oh, and RC, read The Federalist Papers. Pay special attention to the notion of "tyranny of the majority". You don't understand the concept.

I know I sound like a school marm. That's my porpoise here.

Marshal said...

garage mahal said...
I'm perfectly willing and able to negotiate my compensation directly with my employer, thank you

There ya go. But if union members make more than you, don't go crying to the union about it.


When the unions bankrupt their companies should we tell them not to cry to the government about it? What a coincidence that Garage believes the appropriate limits of freedom exactly match the needs of left-voters.

phx said...

There are rocks playing at a higher level than garage, not to mention Cardinals.

You just type out these clichés because you have different politics. But if you can't give your opponents even grudging respect, you need to pick opponents who are more worthy or recognize that you're personally lacking in class.

Hagar said...

"A republic, madam - if you can keep it."

garage mahal said...

Your analogy is inapt and inept. Try again?

RTW laws impose restrictions on bargaining between unions and businesses that violate freedom of contract and association. You favor, I don't. Guess we'll just have to leave it at that. I'm always a little surprised just how libertarian conservatives aren't.

Rusty said...

But you seem to see government as separate from the people by definition

No. I see natural rights as separate from the any government. Our government exists at the pleasure of its citizens not the other way around.

Seeing Red said...

One may be able to get a free membership from the YMCA depending on if you're low income.

Seeing Red said...

Well, Cookie, until the rabble decides to get rid of their tribal elders and try something different or leave and form their own community.

Rusty said...

Under your interpretation our first amendment rights are collective rights and don't apply to the individual.

Bob Ellison said...

RTW laws impose restrictions on bargaining between unions and businesses that violate freedom of contract and association.

True. RTW laws restrict monopoly power. Don't you lefties usually like that kind of thing? If you don't like, we could abolish the SEC.

You should brush up on this argument. No, wait; you don't actually need to do that. Beating up people in Lansing does the trick. Stupid is as stupid does and all that.

I Callahan said...

Don't play like an Arizona Cardinal.

Oy. They play my Lions this weekend. Don't know whether to laugh or cry at this statement...

Seeing Red said...

24 states have RTW - what happens when it becomes 26?

CWJ said...

Garage is a cartoon. Admittedly, a different cartoon than say Shiloh, but a cartoon nonetheless. Why any of you engage him continues to be a mystery to me. I'd rather read threads with fewer posts, than have to wade through this much mouthwash.

Side note, well said palladian. I appreciate your passion when you choose to post.

ampersand said...

Using the facilities at a YMCA is between the YMCA and me, not some thug on the street demanding a dollar to let me get in the door.

Hyphenated American said...

Okay, this is getting weird...

On one side, garage claims that no one can be forced to join the union. On the other, he believes that not paying union dues is same as being a member of YMCA and not paying its dues.

But the Michigan legislation (which he opposes) simply allows non-union members not to pay union dues. Sounds quire reasonable.


Hyphenated American said...

"RTW laws impose restrictions on bargaining between unions and businesses that violate freedom of contract and association. You favor, I don't."

No, not really. RTW allows non-union members not be compelled to pay union dues. And if you really believe in freedom of contract and association, then you would support the elimination of most labor laws. Do you?

Hagar said...

All dictatorships of the 20th century - at least in the 1st and 2nd worlds - have come about by first electing the wrong people into positions of state power.
And most of them had made no bones about what they intended to do once they got into office.

Say what you will about Adolf Hitler; deceptive he was not!

edutcher said...

Seeing Red said...

24 states have RTW - what happens when it becomes 26?

Dictator Zero calls out his Civilian Defense Corpse and we all end up in the gulag.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Tubby Mahal says:

There ya go. But if union members make more than you, don't go crying to the union about it

That is exactly what duly elected government of Michigan used to democratic process achieve for the workers within it's jurisdiction.

Let's see just how many of the people the union claims are so passionate to give them money continue to do so once they no longer have money removed forcibly by the government and handed over.

And, you are still fat.

Robert Cook said...

"...RC, read The Federalist Papers. Pay special attention to the notion of 'tyranny of the majority'. You don't understand the concept."

Of course I understand the concept. This is why our Constitution has protections built in to try to mitigate pure "majority rules" outcomes.

My point is, the only rights we have are those we define for ourselves and negotiate or fight for or otherwise agree upon.

In short, our rights are self-determined and do not exist outside or prior to our existence.

Robert Cook said...

"Well, Cookie, until the rabble decides to get rid of their tribal elders and try something different or leave and form their own community."

Such is the history of humankind.

Robert Cook said...

"Under your interpretation our first amendment rights are collective rights and don't apply to the individual."

I don't understand the point you're making. Can you clarify?

Our first amendment rights are collective rights...they apply to all of us and each of us. I don't see a conflict or mutual exclusivity between collective and individual rights.

There's certainly nothing in what I'm saying that precludes our self-established rights from applying to every individual in the collective "we."

damikesc said...

But if union members make more than you, don't go crying to the union about it.

Can you provide actual evidence of that ever happening?

RTW laws impose restrictions on bargaining between unions and businesses that violate freedom of contract and association.

Patently false.

They do not prevent ANY bargaining.

They just say nobody has to join the union. If they did the great job you claim, people would die to join.

I'm always a little surprised just how libertarian conservatives aren't.

Because forced unionization is a libertarian ideal, no doubt.

Rusty said...


Our first amendment rights are collective rights...they apply to all of us and each of us.

Yes they do along with the second and fourth, for example.
But they allow us as individuals to speak, defend, and be secure.
We need not have the governments permission to exercise these rights,or our neighbors permission.


Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook, you don't understand the concept. What is a "right"? You say it's a thing granted by the government. Most people disagree. Even most leftists disagree! Rights to jobs and health care and all that. Get with it, man! What's a right?

Steve Koch said...

Great point by CWJ.

Robert Cook said...

"We need not have the governments permission to exercise these rights,or our neighbors permission."

If we lived in a country that prohibited this freedom we would exercise it at our peril.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook, you don't understand the concept. What is a 'right'? You say it's a thing granted by the government."

I say it's what we as humans define and agree upon within our respective communities, (tribe, clan, village, city, state, country).

A right is not a thing, it's a concept that exists only because we conceive of it. There are many today who oppose the idea that same sex couples should have the same right to marry as do different sex couples. How is the right to marry determined? From whence does it come?

Once the right for same sex couples to marry has been established in our society for a generation or so, the idea that once upon a time it was prohibited will seem absurd and unthinkably primitive, and the right for homosexuals to marry will seem as natural and predetermined and inevitable as any of the other of these "natural" rights we take for granted.

Bob Ellison said...

Robert Cook said "I say it's what we as humans define and agree upon within our respective communities, (tribe, clan, village, city, state, country)."

This is like shooting fish in a barrel. I don't want to go all Godwin here. Do you, Robert Cook, think that if our respective communities, humans, etc., agree that, say, people with freckles deserve to be killed, that that would be OK?

Didn't you learn this in grade school?

Robert Cook said...

Bob Ellison,

It's not a matter of what is "ok," but what is.

Hyphenated American said...

"A right is not a thing, it's a concept that exists only because we conceive of it. "

The Founding Fathers as well as classical liberals believed that rights are "God Given" or "Natural", and our goal is to discover them. In other words, they exist irrespective of whether Robert Cook knows about them, let alone supports them. Of course, Robert Cook may ignore them, or trample them, and vote against them, but they still are there.

For example, washing hands is a good method to prevent people from getting sick, and it's a truth, irrespective of whether Robert Cook knows about it. He can, of course, not wash his hands, he can make washing hands a capital offense, but it will continue being a good method of prevention from disease.

kcom said...

"So can I get a membership at the YMCA without paying for it? I assume you will say no. So, why not?"

Your analogy is just about the worst analogy in the entire history of analogies. Your comparisons are direct opposites.

It's the difference between buying and selling.

In the case of the YMCA, I'm asking them to provide me a service (i.e. labor) and therefore expect that I will have to pay for it. They give me something I want, and I give them compensation. The amount is something that we mutually agree on (if I think they are charging too much, I go elsewhere for my gym needs).

In the case of my employment, I'm doing the opposite. I'm providing a service, not purchasing one. The roles are reversed. The company is asking to purchase my labor, and I will certainly expect compensation in return. If we agree on a price, that's all that's necessary. The union is irrelevant and I'm getting nothing free from them because in this transaction I'm not buying, I'm selling.

I could, like an actor, hire an agent to negotiate my salary if I thought it was in my best interest. But it's my call, since I'm the seller and I decide what's in my best interest. If I were an actor, an agent would have no right to force me into a contract with him and charge me money to "represent" me if I had no interest in his services and didn't think he would properly represent my interests.

Robert Cook said...

And I am person with freckles, so I am not being glib.

In the world today we have many countries with varied social and cultural customs and different ideas of what is right and wrong and what "rights" should accrue to persons in their respective societies.

In some countries the males believe it is their "right" to kill female members of their own families who have "shamed" the family. I see this as abominable, but the persons in these societies who believe these things are as convinced that it is as much their inviolable right as any rights we claim for ourselves here.

Rights exist because we create them; they don't exist before us, the poesy of the Founding Fathers' rhetoric notwithstanding.

Hyphenated American said...

"In the world today we have many countries with varied social and cultural customs and different ideas of what is right and wrong and what "rights" should accrue to persons in their respective societies. "

And there are still cultures that don't understand why you need to wash your hands about going to the bathroom.

" but the persons in these societies who believe these things are as convinced that it is as much their inviolable right as any rights we claim for ourselves here."

And people were convinced that the Earth was flat a few centuries ago. Just as you are convinced that the Earth is round. And yet, you are right, and they are wrong, irrespective of how convinced they are.

"Rights exist because we create them; they don't exist before us, the poesy of the Founding Fathers' rhetoric notwithstanding."

That's not true, rights exist irrespective of whether you discovered them or not. That's why they are called "Natural Rights".





Robert Cook said...

Hyphenated American, have you ever heard of "circular reasoning?"

You present a wonderful example of it.

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"We need not have the governments permission to exercise these rights,or our neighbors permission."

If we lived in a country that prohibited this freedom we would exercise it at our peril.

But we don't. We live in a country where first our natural rights were guaranteed and only then was a government formed.
They are ours by the simple virtue of being alive.it is not that people in other countries don't have these rights.They do. They are being prevented from exercising them.

Hyphenated American said...

Robert, and you are sure you were not the one who used the circular arguments? Cause I am for discussion on the topic if indeed the rights are "natural", that indeed there are "optimal" laws for society if it wants to flourish, and our task is to discover these ways. You see, plenty of folks discussed exactly that topic, and I apologize for assuming you at least familiar with this point of view.

Of course, I should have known better, since it was your argument that since someone believed deeply in something (human rights), then it cannot be false. It was also you who assumed that because different people had different views on human rights, then inherently, human rights must be human invention.

Hyphenated American said...

Robert, let me put it differently. If you believe in the existence of God, then you do believe that there may be ibjective right and wrong set by Him. In this case, Human Rights are objective, not subjective - and it does not matter how many stupid people believe they have the right to enslave people.

Or put it differently, do you believe that murder, a deliberate murder of a child for one's entertainment is OBJECTIVELY wrong, or you believe it depends on the point of view?

Eric said...

Exactly. It's pretty clear unions and uteruses are taking the brunt of big government at the moment.

I didn't realize uteruses had a right to part of my paycheck. Learn something new every day, I guess.

Eric said...

RTW laws impose restrictions on bargaining between unions and businesses that violate freedom of contract and association.

In the same way consumer protection laws impose restrictions on bundling to prevent companies from using a dominant market position to force retailers refrain from selling competitors' products.

That's what we're talking about here. The union trying to force the employer not to hire you unless you pay money to the union. Because they control most of the employer's labor supply.

Bob Ellison said...

Bob Ellison said Do you, Robert Cook, think that if our respective communities, humans, etc., agree that, say, people with freckles deserve to be killed, that that would be OK?

Robert Cook replied, It's not a matter of what is "ok," but what is.

Is that leftism? Do we have it defined? Or is it just RobertCookism? Is Robert Cook an adult? If this person is only a pre-teen, I don't want to judge. This is sometimes difficult reasoning. Maybe Robert Cook is just a fool.

And I am person with freckles, so I am not being glib.

I've got freckles, too. I'm being glib here.

hombre said...

phx wrote defending garage: You just type out these clichés [about garage] because you have different politics. But if you can't give your opponents even grudging respect, you need to pick opponents who are more worthy or recognize that you're personally lacking in class.

Actually, no. Here is a sampling of garage's partisan blather:

"It's pretty clear unions and uteruses are taking the brunt of big government at the moment."

"... conservatives feel it is a right to benefit from a union without paying into it. Nation of freeloaders indeed."

"It's like the YMCA, don't expect to be able to use the pool or gym if you don't want to pay the dues."

"RTW laws impose restrictions on bargaining between unions and businesses that violate freedom of contract and association."

It's not as though reasonable men can differ about these things. This stuff is pure drivel, phx. If you can't see that you are also dumb as a rock.

Btw, your suggestion, quoted above, is illogical.

Amartel said...

Democrats only think the federal government is a threat to rights when there's a Republican president. Republicans (or at least the conservative ones) always think the federal government is a threat to rights.

hombre said...

Or is it just RobertCookism? Is Robert Cook an adult?

I think Cook deserves some credit for offering what appear to be unabashed Marxism and meta-ethical moral relativism.

At least he is offering an alternative point of view, not just blathering Democrat partisan pap.

cubanbob said...

Garage who knew that you support liberty of contract?
Perhaps our esteemed hostess can lecture us on Lochner.

RC sincerely believes that the dog and the flea should have the same opinion.

Steve Koch said...

"Is the federal government a protector of rights or a threat to rights? It's both, obviously, but what if you had to pick?"

On balance, the fed gov is a net threat to our rights and freedom. The original constitution was brilliantly designed to create a fed gov based on balance of power between the branches of the fed gov and balance of power between the states and the fed gov. Over the years the lefties have destroyed this balance of power so now we are in a perilous situation.

The fed gov is huge, far too powerful and continues to grow like a cancer. This cancer is destroying our liberty and our prosperity.

In the hands of the left, the fed gov is particularly dangerous because they use the fed gov to buy votes, an approach guaranteed to rapidly destroy our democracy. Certainly the size and power of the fed gov needs to be reduced tremendously so that most governmental decisions are made at the state level. Currently we are on the path to dictatorship and it will be very difficult to turn this vast ponderous ship around in time, particularly with such a small portion of the electorate putting a higher value on liberty than goodies from the fed gov.

This is not theoretical, through recent history we have many examples of too powerful lefty governments abusing their people. Power is a zero sum game, when almost all power is held by the fed gov, it is guaranteed that the fed gov will abuse that power. The hubris and stupidity and lack of wisdom of our the left is ruining this country and the problem is that you can't fix stupid.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert, let me put it differently. If you believe in the existence of God...."

I don't.

Robert Cook said...

"Or put it differently, do you believe that murder, a deliberate murder of a child for one's entertainment is...wrong...."

I do think so, but I excised your word "objectively" because I don't think we can discuss human activity of any kind with complete objectivity. There could be a society somewhere in future or past history where such an act will be seen as acceptable, or even necessary, (as human sacrifice to the gods in past cultures was seen as necessary to insure the continued blessings of the gods or to allay their anger).

As humans, we agree that killing a child for entertainment is not just bad, but one of the most abominable acts of evil imaginable...but this is from our perspective. (I'd add this is probably baked into us deep down, as the survival of the species demands we protect our young until they can survive on their own.)

Any animal who is not a companion animal to humans (i.e., pets) who witnessed such behavior would not even make sense of it, much less view it as a terrible act.

Hyphenated American said...

Robert, so, to summarize your point of view. You do NOT think that killing children for entertainment is OBJECTIVELY wrong - you only believe that it is wrong because of someone (parents, society) told you so. In your heart of hearts, you think it's purely subjective opinion that killing children for entertainment is wrong. Kind of like what kind of food we choose to eat - purely subjective.

Is my summary correct?

hombre said...

Hyphenated wrote: Robert, so, to summarize your point of view. You do NOT think that killing children for entertainment is OBJECTIVELY wrong ....

Let me repeat: "I think Cook deserves some credit for offering ... meta-ethical moral relativism."

He is the necessary product of an evolutionary worldview offered honestly.

Disgusting isn't it?

Sorry to intervene. Carry on.

Kirk Parker said...

"Don't play like an Arizona Cardinal. "

Ohhhh, a new proverb is born.

I Callahan,

"Oy. They play my Lions this weekend. Don't know whether to laugh or cry at this statement... "

Don't worry; from what I saw, Arizona doesn't really play.

Robert Cook said...

"Is my summary correct?"

No.

Hyphenated American said...

Robert, explain how my summary of your posts is wrong. If you can, of course. What's the difference between what you said, and what I summarized?

Robert Cook said...

I don't know if you're 12 years old or if you're arguing dishonestly, and I can't help but think I'm wasting my time, but my point, I think, is obvious:

Any judgement we make about human behavior is subjective, by definition. You can say killing a child for entertainment is monstrous, and I do not and cannot disagree.

But there is NO "objectivity" about human behavior from the human perspective. There can only be objectivity about human behavior from a non-human perspective. If you want to get really meta, from the point of view of the universe, nothing we do matters at all. If we destroyed out entire species in a nuclear holocaust, it would mean nothing to the universe, or even to any life that would come after us on this planet, or to any nonhuman life that survived the holocaust, (cockroaches among that life, no doubt).

So...to get back to the original point, there are no "rights" absent human agency. We establish rights for ourselves, they do not exist without us or before us. To suppose this is to suppose an external, supernatural purposeful creator...and I don't suppose there is such an entity.

This does not mean I don't think there is "good" and "bad," I do. But we define what is good and bad.

So...there you are.

Leora said...

Which rights were you thinking the Federal government protects? Free Speech - no. Freedom of Religion - no. Freedom to bear arms - no. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure - no. Freedom to assemble - only if you're assembling in a government approved way. Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness - arguable only if you think having other folks pay for your stuff is a right.

Leora said...

Which rights were you thinking the Federal government protects? Free Speech - no. Freedom of Religion - no. Freedom to bear arms - no. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure - no. Freedom to assemble - only if you're assembling in a government approved way. Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness - arguable only if you think having other folks pay for your stuff is a right.

Rusty said...


So...to get back to the original point, there are no "rights" absent human agency. We establish rights for ourselves, they do not exist without us or before us.

OK.Just as long as we agree that they exist ex government.

Robert Cook said...

"OK.Just as long as we agree that they exist ex government."

They arise from the organization of any community of humans, as I've said: family, clan, tribe, commune, village, town, city, state, country...or whatever other arrangements may exist where two or more human beings must exist in close proximity and/or cooperative endeavor or in peaceful/non-belligerent co-existence.

In most cases, this is some form of formal, organized government, in the remainder of cases ad hoc cooperative self-governance.

In short, our "rights" are our agreed upon (or consented to or acquiesced to) rules we live by.

No matter how thin you try to slice it the idea that rights are something "eternal" and "natural" that exist external to and absent human social groupings is still...baloney.

Jeez, Rusty...your aversion to acknowledging "government" as a natural and necessary function and extension of human social groupings and behavior is so pronounced as to be kind of...nutty.

Rusty said...


Jeez, Rusty...your aversion to acknowledging "government" as a natural and necessary function and extension of human social groupings and behavior is so pronounced as to be kind of...nutty


Jeez Bob you're refusal to acknowledge that without government these rights would still exist is kinda weird.
You may want to reread the Federalist Papers and the antifederalists to completely grasp the concept of " Governments Instituted Among Men" and why we have a constitution in the first place.
You know. The document that spells out what our government can and cannot do.
I'll leave nutty to you.

Robert Cook said...

Rusty, you're a hopeless romantic.