Thursday, June 24, 2010

Stand up for your enemy's rights to protect your own

Stand up for your enemy's rights to protect your own

A person can not "lose" his rights as long as he is alive. Not by becoming an attacker nor through any other action. A privilege can be lost; a right is part of the fundamental makeup of a human being. You can no more lose a right than you can become a ostrich.

This is something that didn't occur to me for a very long time, but once I realized it (just in the past couple of years), I wondered why it was so difficult to see. Perhaps because it is inconvenient. It is so much easier to excuse certain abuses if you can pretend that by his wrong actions a person has lost certain rights. But this is dishonest and leads to destructive "laws" and faulty justifications.

In the case of an aggressor- he has no right to attack the innocent, but both he and his victim have a right to defend themselves from the other. In more personal terms: a person attacking me has an absolute human right to defend his own life from my self-defense. In fact, although I hope he fails, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that outcome, I have no respect for thugs who simply submit rather than fight back.

Obviously, I would prefer that all aggressors lose the battle every time. However, it is not possible to claim that I have the right to judge whether another person has "lost" his rights without handing that same authority over my own rights to someone else. Just handle the attack.

If the person who attacked is the survivor he is subject to restitution, shunning, and whatever else sovereign individuals in a free society might do, but his choice to defend himself shouldn't be part of the equation. This is why I think "criminals" have an obligation to resist arrest and to attempt to escape from custody, and why I despise the dishonest practice of adding that natural response to their list of offenses.

This is also one reason why I oppose "laws" that prohibit "criminals" from possessing guns. The other part of that reason is that I see who is allowed to define "criminal", and I don't agree with their agenda nor do I recognize their authority, even in the case of "my enemy". There is no way to violate some other person's rights without damaging your own. I need no nanny.

In Albuquerque news- A young cyclist who was riding cross-country to raise money for breast cancer (research, I'm hoping, although the story doesn't actually say that) died after being hit by a car. This is a tragic end to a proper response to a problem. Charity, not government subsidies. Voluntarily is always better than coerced.

Another very disturbing thing to me is how many commenters on that story are calling for the car's driver to be punished. Not every tragedy or accident "needs" to be criminalized. Yet, the facts are not even public and people are out for blood. That is wrong and sad.