On Sep 17, 11:30 am, "Bob Myers" wrote:
>> Yeah, but that "God-given" rationale behind your rights really makes
>> mince-meat of that notion, in my opinion. It is so central. With it,
>> you can't reasonably get from where you are to where a country like
>> China is. When the rights of humans as expressed are so important,
>> the foundation upon which the case for them is built cannot be
>> dismissed as somehow unnecessary.
> Except that the notion of "God-given" rights is NOT the
> basis for U.S. law; the Declaration of Independence was basically
> a statement to the world as to why the colonies were declaring
> themselves separate from the mother country, NOT a document
> which in any way actually established a form of government.
> The U.S. Constitution, on the other hand, IS such a document,
> but according to the preamble it is pretty clear that under this
> Constitution power derives from the people themselves.
Hey, I can see how you're arriving at the position you do, Bob. It's
just my opinion that, in order to support it, you have to ignore
Yes, as you say, the power derives from the people (NOT really a
Christian teaching at all I'll add - even though everyone appears so
keen to characterize everything I say as simply a defense of
Christianity). But the only that power of the people finds its
defense in the existence of a *higher* being - one that is above even
the most powerful men on earth and who grants rights to *men* in the
first place (not governments). Try to understand that, without this
principle, the concept is not a given. Except for it, there is no
compelling reason those more powerful should subjigate themselves to
the less powerful.
You and I both know what that last sentence is in every speech given
by every Presidential candidate, right? Peoples' freedom to non-
belief in God does not hinge on this silly notion that your
Constitution cannot not be built on an argument that requires a higher
> And in practice, that's the way it is. The notion of "inherent"
> rights makes for great-sounding rhetoric, but is practically
> meaningless. "Rights" exist, in any meaningul sense, ONLY
> to the extent that a given society or government is willing to
> defend them on behalf of that society's individual members.
>> Christian churches believe the same thing.
> Well, SOME do, in our modern era; there are plenty of
> examples where a given "Christian" church used the sword
> as a tool for "conversion," and clearly people did NOT
> have the right to believe or not believe whatever they chose.
>> That is basically an appeal to a power even higher the
>> government - something crucial to protection of freedom
>> (and the absence of which is the reason Communism has
>> always slid into totalitarianism).
> If by "communism" you mean Marxism specifically, you might have
> a case - but I would suggest that there are other much stronger
> candidates for the reason such governments tend to be
> totalitarian. (Like, for instance, the observation that's already been
> made here numerous times - ANY group that gains the sort of
> power, whether said group is "religious" or "secular," tends to
> do whatever it takes to hold on to that power.) But we should
> also note that there have been "communist" communities which
> did not become "totalitarian" - it's just never ever succeeded
> on a national scale, and probably can't.
Actually, I don't think it's even succeeded long term on a small
scale. In the end, even the Israeli Kibbutzes (sp) discarded the