Wednesday, October 04, 2006

You Can Feel Whatever You Wanna Feel

Yeah a lot of my post titles today (and yesterday too come to think of it) are lifted from the song I happen to be listening to at the time I post.

At Comic Book Resources they run a column by Steven Grant called Permanent Damage - the column is generally quite good, but today he makes some good points on the military tribunals bill passed last week.
The philosophically interesting thing is how we've disintegrated from a people who believe rights were innate to a people who've come to tacitly accept that rights are negotiable gifts from the governing body. Either rights are innate or they aren't, or Americans are a specially privileged people who stand alone as deserving rights. And that gets you onto really shaky ground, philosophically. It says, basically, that only the mighty deserve rights... but what happens if someone else becomes the mighty? (I know we're not supposed to discuss possibilities like that, but if history teaches us anything it's that eventually all empires fall.) The concept of innate rights protects us, but if they don't apply to everyone everywhere they're not innate, and if they're not innate there's not even an argument for protection. Sure, we consider convicted criminals to have abrogated their rights, but the key word there is convicted. The Military Commissions Act doesn't require conviction, only accusation, and not even public accusation.
That's a good question. Do Americans believe in inalienable rights for every one or just for Americans (and even then, not all Americans)? Something to think about certainly.

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