Christopher, when I travelled through Europe I was, frankly, alarmed by the anti-USA sentiment from north and south and east and west. The first time I went, I was startled, came home and did my homework, and returned several times with a better understanding of their sentiments and why. Most citizens here do not understand that. Even the tourists come back telling stories of how much Europe loves USA. Not where I went. Perhaps the great love of Europeans for USA withered after the WWII and the post war trade agreements they felt were forced on them.
Hell, my mom was in Europe in the seventies, and I remember her telling me how much the French dislike Americans--but then said that, in a restaurant there was another American (not a backpacker but a well-to-do tourist) cussing up a storm and complaining that the menu "wasn't in English" and why can't they speak English, dammit! In a French restaurant in freaking France! When she saw that, she told me, it gave her some perspective on why they might have an a priori dislike of Americans.
Representative Stockman, a Republican from Texas, says that the right to own guns is given by God:
I guess that settles the issue of gun control once and for all.
It's one of several metaphors for valued rights, "inalienable rights" being another.
Stockman is saying "This is a right I will fight for." He's not committing himself to combat; he's stirring others to violence.
The English also used metaphor to describe rights. During the long conflict between the House of Commons and monarchs, the claim in Commons of "our ancient and undoubted rights" had similar meaning. One historian said the term identified a new right. Another historian (in those times before there were written records of the actions of Parliament) said it meant no one alive remembers a time when the right didn't exist.
These kinds of rights have often been designated natural rights, with the intention of specifying rights that exist anterior to government and law, but they have always been controversial with many claiming no such rights can exist. Jeremy Bentham called the notion of natural rights "nonsense on stilts."
Those who do support the concept of natural rights often view them as coming from God, as Jefferson did in the Declaration, although he certainly didn't think it applied to slaves. The problem is to extract clear definitions of rights from scripture—at best unclear and at worst opposed.
Here I thought the Congressman was giving us a sort of Who Would Jesus Shoot charcterization of gun rights and it sounds funny because it's anachronistic.
I thought Jefferson wanted to free the slaves? Okay, I know, he didn't release his own, but that's beside the point--I'm saying I could swear that he made the attempt to write "ending slavery" into the new country's laws and got shot down.
Of course, even later in time, abolitionists didn't always agree with things like de-segregation and such, so even if one disagreed with slavery that didn't mean the person thought black people were really equal or anything, just that it was wrong to enslave them.
Also, I thought Jefferson was more of a Deist and wasn't really entirely talking about "God" in the way the right-wing nutbars in this country now are using the word. More like "nature" or "nature's god" than anything else.
Way back in 1988, President Reagan nominated Federal Judge Robert Bork to the US Supreme Court. One of the many attorneys who attended the televised week-long Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination described it as the best constitutional law course he took. I viewed all but about fifteen minutes of the hearing.
In closing, Committee Chair Senator Joseph Biden described his and Judge Bork's differing views on rights in approximately these words: I believe the people have all the rights except those they give up to live in society. Judge Bork believes the people have only the rights the government gives them.
I agree with then-Senator Biden's view of rights, but in one sense Judge Bork was correct; rights exist only if the government has the resources to enforce them.
Unless Bentham's view was similar to Judge Bork's, his words nonsense on stilts are nonsense.
Bentham, if I understand correctly, did share a view similar to Bork's, but not quite identical to Biden's statement of Bork's view. Bentham thought rights were created by law, that they did not exist prior to codification, but law might come from a monarch as his command or from a legislature through its enactments or perhaps even from the judiciary as an interpretation of existing codes.
He viewed statements of natural rights as wishful thinking, an expression of desired or desirable rights, which might not exist in a particular place and time.
USA is not in a revolution. It is an evolution. Inappropriate comments blaming race, gender, foreigners, and liberals for the present turmoil, using racist, derogatory, threatening treasonous, libelous language does not solve problems or resolve conflict. If we want to get satisfactory results, we have to identify the problem, without blaming or accusing, set some goals, explore options, choose an option with the highest probability of creating a preferred future, and then put the plan into operation. Observe outcomes and if the plan works, continue; if not, select another option and try again. Repeat until the preferred future come into being.
As problems come up in finding options, look for dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors that act as killer phrases and obstacles to progress. They always reveal themselves in hate language. Who is posting hate-mongering signs? Let’s take a look:
I am hoping. I am one of the few liberals who sometimes thinks it might come to armed revolution in one of two ways: either the gun-toting right wingers who have become incensed at having a black president will take over this country by force for their ignorant religious views, or on the other side, our country might be so far gone to moneyed interests that the democratic process is nullified, no matter how we vote our so-called representatives will always do what their paying corporate masters tell them in defiance of our rights or will, and we won't be able to take our country back from the corporations unless we take it back by force--not something I want to happen, but something I fear might come to be the only way to fix things. If voting is the only way to change things and the moneyed interests have nullified its effects (through voter suppression or through gerrymandering, or through simply buying the candidates), then what other tools will we really have? Especially since they want to eliminate the internet for the rest of us. If they could make it illegal for us to even speak a differing point of view they would--and they do anyway, as they allow employers to fire people for their political speech outside of work. We have the freedom to think for ourselves, just so long as we don't open our mouths about it to anyone. How do you fight back when that is happening, and keeps getting worse?
Of course, I just get more and more involved in the political process and in campaigning and everything, in the hopes that we aren't so broken that we can't fix things with peaceful means. But it seems pretty hopeless at times, as our rights are trampled more and more by right-wing conservative "business-friendly" human rights unfriendly policies and as our politicians (choose from one of two flavors: Republican or Republican lite!) continue to obey the 1% to the detriment of the rest of us.