It seems to me that there are great contradictions within the great traditional hero-worship of America’s Founding Fathers. With the recent hearings for the new Supreme Court Justice, debates of what said Fathers have written and what they mean have taken on renewed interest. I contend that what was set forth by the Founding Fathers is ridiculous and espouses egotism.
Key to this is the Great American belief in entitlement. Each individual, so the bicentennial wisemen state, has the right to Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. It is also held by them that such rights are self-evident and unalienable. I hold that it is far from evident what they even mean by the three words, much less how they are evident of themselves or how they cannot be violated. I will start with Life.
Life is the center of most controversy in all of human history. Mostly with its removal. But never is it clear what Life truly is. We all feel we know what life is, but when pressed on the point, our understanding dissipates and we can only resort to analogies. Life, the Buddhists say, is like a flame. This I think is not unacceptable. Life to me is a process, much like a flame. A flame consumes resources, and outputs energy, leaving behind smoke and carbon dioxide. Life consumes resources, and outputs lethargy, leaving behind dung and carbon dioxide. Already the similarities are striking.
However, if Life is to be a process, it must be a special one because we do not harbor such concepts as “Right to Fire.” What then, is so special about Life that it must be protected at the expense of all else? Probably the difficulty in its continued existence. A fire provides the same functions as any other fire, but one life does not do the same as another. Telling a parent who has lost a child “It’s okay you can have another one” just doesn’t quite have the same effect. But given its special nature, the right to life ought to reside in the life itself. Yet the same proponents who cry the unborn deserve life refuse the right to life of one choosing death.
If there were such a thing as Right to Life, then there must also exist such a thing as Right to Death. After all, death is the natural conclusion to life. Yet somehow, individuals are granted one but not the other, probably for purposes of continued taxation. If Life were really an inalienable right, then how can Nature, State, and Man take it away at a whim? Obviously there is no such right, or if there was then it is alienable by everyone. And to entitle a living person with the right to live is a state-issued intellectual slap-in-the-face, akin to giving water the right to be wet.
Life is not a right, life is a privilege: a privilege bestowed upon the bundles of chemicals doing nasty things to each other that we call a person; one that is loaned to us to take advantage of, and if we were any bit grateful, we would pay back the debt. All that the wig and stockings sporting men of the 18th century have put forth then is an ideal, far removed from reality…
Postscript: Lack of Right to Life does not imply granting the Right to Death to everybody and anybody, Government least of all.