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The Civil Rights of Man

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mark at South Puget Sound Libertarian has an excellent post concerning the recently past bill, House Bill 2661, which attempt to secure equal footing for "minority groups" in Washington State. Marks point is that, by this bill, individuals loose their right to engage in transactions as they see fit. They are compelled by force and monetary penalty to conform to the State's preconceived notion of civil justice for all in the market place. The underlying argument in all of this is, "Does your right to consume my product trump by right to sell it to you?" Below is my response to his post...

 Sec. 3. RCW 49.60.030 and 1997 c 271 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

(1) The right to be free from discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a disabled person is recognized as and declared to be a civil right.

As I understand it, people have Rights and Powers (see the 9th and 10th Amendments, U.S. Constitution, for further clarification). Occasionally, we feel the need to protect and secure or Rights, lives, liberties, property, etc. so we create “government” to do this for us. By it’s creation, individuals vest in government certain Powers that are naturally inherent in them. Government then has vested Powers, but no Rights. This describes exactly what individuals did when they created both the state and national governments. Neither body has Rights, and neither body has the Power to create Rights for anyone.

Having said that let me ask a question: How can government create/extend civil rights if government has not been vested with Rights itself? It would seem more accurate to say that government is actually creating/extending a “privilege” to certain people. As a matter of fact, if you search for “What is a civil right?” on Google, you will see the term privilege used synonymously with the term civil right. Can a government grant privileges? Sure. Can government granted privileges trump natural Rights? Is the created greater than the creator? The answer to both is “No". Is it a civil right for you and I to be free from discrimination in our society? Is it also a civil right for you and I to be able discriminate against those we choose to associate with (on an individual basis) in society? Both are tough questions to answer.

"…Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others. Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to the enjoyment of which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection…"
~ Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man


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