Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Donald Trump and philosophies on the derivation of rights

When Trump's people filed their paperwork defending the entry ban on people from seven Muslim countries (Muslim redlining, as I prefer to call it), the line that really stuck out at me was this one:

"An alien seeking initial admission to the United States requests a privilege and has no constitutional rights regarding his application."

Interesting, right?

Who has what right, and when?  I'm not going to answer that fuckin' question.  That's for lawyers, and fuck lawyers.  Better yet, don't fuck lawyers.  That just risks creating more lawyers.  Instead, let's do some political philosophy.  Remember this one?

"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..."

Don't whine about the "men" thing.  Focus on the "Creator" thing.  This is a conception of rights based on "natural law."  Rights are given by that "Creator"-dude, to everyone (or at least to all men), so they can't be taken away.  That conception of rights doesn't square with the idea that they are limited to citizens.  They aren't a special privilege for an aristocratic class.  They are for everyone because "Creator"-dude says so.  That's the conception of rights based on natural law, which was how the framers saw things (or at least Thomas Jefferson and a few others).

Of course, you don't need "Creator"-dude to have a similarly expansive conception of rights.  Ayn Rand was a godless heathen, and she had a different view of rights.  Rand was the founder of "objectivism," which begins precisely with the premise that there is no "Creator"-dude.  Therefore there is nobody imposing "Creator"-dude's arbitrary rules.  You are on your own, so there is only individual achievement.  Just don't impose on anyone else.  Pure libertarianism.  That principle, though, is a universal one, so like natural law, it doesn't exist as a special birthright for people who happen to be born on the right patch of dirt or to the right parents.  Oh, and Ayn Rand was a refugee from a country with whom we were... not friendly.

There are more perspectives, obviously, but I'm just throwing these out there because a) they are perspectives to which conservatives should be friendly, and b) they are diametrically opposed in terms of their religious bases.  Lawyers can argue about this shit, but lawyers can tie themselves into knots about whether or not 2+2 is really 4 because lawyers are a bunch of fuckin' jagoffs.  Seriously, kids, don't go to law school.

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