Friday, March 24, 2017

The first principle, again

I suspect that most who read this have heard all about Wednesday's terror attack in London. There are a couple of things which you may not have seen or read about the attack though, particularly if you follow only the major U.S. press.
A woman holds a placard at a vigil in Trafalgar Square on Thursday. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Think about it. You know, or should know, what terrorists do to Muslim women who stand against them. Can you imagine standing in her shoes? Can you? You know that every terrorist now has this image on his or her cell phone. You know it. If this is not a portrait of courage then such a portrait does not exist.

After Wednesday's vigil in Trafalgar Square, Omer El-Hamdoon, deputy secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said:

“It’s good to see that many people have come out today. This is an important message that Londoners need to display which is that terrorism will not divide us and it is not going to stop us and scare us. For any person to attack innocent people is outrageous and despicable and we condemn it unreservedly.”

A peace vigil will be held today in Birmingham to promote unity, after the city’s most prominent mosque issued a statement condemning the Westminster terror attack as “barbaric and heartless."

The city centre vigil has been organised by the Stand Up To Racism group and MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development) and will begin at 5 p.m. in High Street.

Mosque chairman Muhammad Afzal said of Wednesday’s atrocity in London:

“Nothing justifies taking lives of innocent people. Those responsible must be brought to justice."

Urging calm within all communities and offering condolences to those bereaved by the attack, he added:

“The Islamic faith does not allow anyone to take the life of others. No religion justifies the indiscriminate killing of individuals in such a barbaric and heartless way, and such acts only serve to differentiate between the misguided and the just.”

I would not be a bit surprised to receive adverse comments for posting this. Some will say, "those are just words." That's fine. I'll just note that people, including myself, have been asking for years where the peaceful Muslim voices are. And I'll just refer you to the image above. There are many others.

Anyway, America, I'm going to keep quoting the following and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This is the first principle of America. In truth, it's the first principle of civilization.

It means that all men are equally human. None are more human, none are less human. None are better, none are worse. We are all fundamentally human, and our rights come to us from our creator, not from other men. Whether you regard your creator as God or as Nature makes no difference. God and Nature are self-evidently very much greater than humans, therefore the rights we are endowed with cannot be given or taken by men.

Our equality and rights come at a cost, and that cost is responsibility. Only human beings can have natural rights, and only human beings can exercise responsibility.

Highly esteemed people are not more human with more unalienable rights. Lowly esteemed people are not less human with fewer unalienable rights. People who are on the other side of an argument are not less human with fewer rights, just as those on the same side are not more human with more rights.

As a case in point, I am a gun guy. My right to keep and bear arms within the framework of American society is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution and cannot be infringed by the state. There are people who are anti-gun. Their right to keep and bear arms is also protected. Just as importantly, their right to be anti-gun, to speak out against guns, to peacefully gather in protest about guns, and to petition the state regarding their beliefs and positions about guns -- these things are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. As are my rights to do the same in support of guns.

Now as a gun guy, I have the same natural right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as the anti-gun folks. I also have a self-evident right to defend and protect my Life and Liberty and pursuit of Happiness, and this includes the right to use deadly force, with or without a gun, to do so. The anti-gun folks have the same rights, and these rights are recognized in state and federal law all across the land.

My responsibility is to never threaten, abridge or take the unalienable rights of another human who is not directly trying to take my Life or my Liberty or destroy my ability to peacefully pursue Happiness. My responsibility is to treat those who differ with me as I would have them treat me -- as an equal human being whose unalienable rights may not be infringed.

Here is where dishonesty comes in. As soon as an anti-gun person lies, cheats or steals to prevail in the argument, they violate the First Principle by treating me not as an equal human being, but as an object to be used and manipulated. This standard applies to me also.

The same is true for name calling. If I call anti-gun people "bleeding heart libtards" -- even if I only think of them in that fashion and never say the words -- then I am violating the First Principle. Flip the coin and the obverse is identical.

Our nation is in mortal peril, and it's not because the government is doing bad things or because legislative bodies at all levels are corrupt or because the press has become nothing more than the propaganda arm of a certain ideology. These things are only symptoms. They are not the disease.

The disease is one of smashed principles. Most of the people who live in this country -- this America where the First Principle is that all men are created equal -- have become entirely too accustomed to thinking of and treating others as a means to an end, as objects to be ridiculed, called names, lied to, cheated, stolen from. This includes me. I'm no more or less human than any other American, and I live in the same environment with the same exposure to the ongoing rot of moral and ethical degeneration.

Our rights will not -- cannot -- save us. In the land of the Sovereign Citizen, only our responsibility can save us.


  1. Well said Shaun.

    The courage of the lady (and she most assuredly IS a lady) is self-evident.

    However, in your next to last paragraph you imply that this "thinking of and treating others as a means to an end," is something new. Well, it's been around since the country was founded. I think the real problem is that too many citizens are ignoring their duties as citizens.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

    Too many at this stage in our history are indeed, doing nothing.

    1. You're precisely correct Sarge. Unfortunately a great many people use "it's nothing new" as an excuse, and hurry to justify their idle irresponsibility by appending, "an' besides, this one time at band camp..." It's an excuse as old as mankind. Wasn't valid then, isn't valid now.

    2. In this era, Evil has a much easier time organizing itself. They use arguments that sound so persuasive, but if carried to the ends that it would lead to, will destroy the civilization that we have built. We must not harm those who are innocent, that is not the Conservative way, as we are the only ones now who play by the rules we set up to live by, in 1787. That is the biggest difference the outlook of Conservatives, and the Statists. Conservatives basically want to be left alone, to get on with their lives, while Statists want all power in the hands of the State, whether a Sharia state, or a Socialist state.

      We, as Conservatives, need to point out the evil that is being fostered by the Statists, as we must convince people that the rule of law, as set out in the Constitution, is far superior to the rule of man, which is run on emotions, and leads to destruction. You are doing your part, Shaun, and Chris, subtly, which is the best way, as subtle gets past knee jerk resistance.

    3. And here's where I despise labels. By definition conservatives want to maintain the status quo. So how did republicans become conservative? The status quo was slavery, and the republicans smashed slavery.

      But how did the democrats become progressives? They wanted to protect the common man who just wants to get on with his life against an oppressive state.

      There aren't two sides in this country. There are 300 million and change sides. It's fine to group together for elections and such, but without the thoughtful exercise individual sovereignty the groups become tribes hell bent on domination. And that smashes the First Principle.

      I was talking to a youngster (25 or so) yesterday about house and senate passing bills to repeal a law which required communications providers to gain the user's permission before selling their personal data (browsing history, etc.). That's what the republiboobs did, on a straight party line vote. They got rid of that simple, sensible requirement that providers must treat customers as sovereign citizens, rather than as objects to be used. I told the kid that I trust demoncrats a lot more than I trust republiboobs, because you can trust demoncrats to be honest in their lies.

      People who lie, cheat and steal infest both of these parties. In this era the one thing both parties have in common is the lust to exercise power and control over other people. This smashes the First Principle.

      Doesn't mean that all proud party members are bad, just that people with demonstratively bad behavior are in power in each party.

      On a positive note, I take solace in the fact that Obama and the demoncrats were unable to destroy the republic. I hope this will be the case for trump and the republiboobs. But we are still in mortal peril. What we don't need is for a republiboob government to take charge and fix everything. What we do need is for Americans, especially those who are utterly convinced of their righteousness, to step back and honestly and objectively assess whether they believe in the First Principle. And then behave accordingly.

      Somebody (John G Hemry, USN RET) told me a long time ago that most people think of the government as a giant mind controlling many hands. But what it really is is many minds trying to control a giant hand. If the 300 million plus minds get too far removed from the First Principle the giant hand begins to flail about, indiscriminately smashing people, places and things.

      So I say, #FiretruckLabels #FiretruckSides #FirstPrinciple #MakeAmericaAmericaAgain

  2. I do not put Republicans and Conservatives in the same category. The Republicans bear a huge load of guilt in not doing anything to stop what has been going on. To me, a Conservative is someone who wants to run the countries affairs in a manner aligned with the Constitution. This no longer applies to the vast majority of Republicans at the leadership level. To want the status quo is not conservatism, it is entropy.

    The people who first came together as progressives were not Democrats, they were Republicans like TR, and Wisconsin's Bob La Follette. The current Progressives have only the name in common with the originals.

    I myself am neither Republican, nor Democrat, and I say a curse upon both houses.

    1. StB:

      I am with you in not being either Republican nor Democrat. Thank you for a cogent comment.

      Paul L. Quandt

    2. Doesn't really matter what label is used; conservative, liberal, progressive. They're all open to interpretation (300 million plus interpretations) and so say nothing. Just noise. Er. Um. Ahem. The results are people talking past each other, which further serves to divide.

      When I talk to individuals about principles and ideas we're often strongly in accord. There are people who really do want your stuff and to have you punished or confined or gassed, but they are exceptions.

      I might be weak minded or something but I can't make any sense out of assigning individual sovereign citizens to one of two or five or a dozen labeled groups. I know how it happens because I've done it time and time again and will almost certainly do so many times in the future. But it still doesn't make sense.

  3. You have an outstanding way of presenting issues. To me, it seems as though you reach through to the heart of an issue and then present clear and concise thoughts. Thank you for another superb post.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Thanks Paul but I'm just riffing on the fundamental work done by countless forebears. Shouting from the shoulders of giants, as it were.

    2. Yes, but you do some darn fine riffing, thinks I.