Tuesday, April 1, 2008

assignment: who gave me my rights, p1

i want to reflect on the idea of rights because those ideas are strange. a right, such as the right to free speech, is a legal guarantee. and a legal guarantee is an agreement between two parties. one party makes a promise to another party that some property shall not be removed nor shall its quality be compromised.

we might not give it enough thought but common sense would tell us that there must be a third party to ensure that fairness plays out. that referee must also be detached enough from the situation enough to make an objective and fair judgment. but also, he must be involved enough to make an informed and educated decision. there must be a balance between two conflicting extremes.

when we talk about the first amendment, who is making the promises and to whom are those promises made? the promiser and the promisee. when the bill of rights were drafted, the us government made a promise to the american people.

this is an important distinction to make because legal guarantee is issued, it creates an exclusive relationship between the promisee and the promiser. no third party should ever be held accountable for this promise.

for example, if you purchase a product with a lifetime guarantee, you are buying a promise from the company that manufactured that product. that company has made a promise to you that if that product fails under any circumstances, they will either refund your money or replace the product. under no circumstances would that company go to your neighbor to cover the cost. even if your neighbor was the one who broke it.

likewise, free speech is most effective and least controversial when applied to situations that are exclusive between individual american citizens and the government. it ceases to make sense and is most controversial when applied to situations that do not involve the government and the government is called to act as a third party.

in other words, just as your neighbor did not make the lifetime guarantee on the product, your neighbor never granted you the freedom to speech.

so should the bill of rights be reworded? your freedom of speech does not mean "say whatever you want about whomever you want" but "what whatever you want about me"

further, in what forum are you guaranteed the right to free speech? in the newspapers? in the streets at night? when you are drunk and incoherent?

who upholds these rights? how is a referee selected? is it up to the government to police themselves into following through with these promises, when it is most often in the government's best internist to break those promises?

the bill of rights for example, is a promise between the us government and the american people. how can we select an objective third party, who is neither the us government or the american people and yet qualified enough to reside as the authority and involved enough to care?

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