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THE RIGHTS OF EVE AND PANDORA 12 May 2017 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

THE RIGHTS OF EVE AND PANDORA

12 May 2017

Dear Friends and Patriots,

            You all know the story of Pandora’s Box, don’t you?  At least you’ve heard of it.  For those who really study their Greek mythology you know Pandora was the ancient Greek’s version of the Judeo-Christian Eve, the first-created woman.  Like Eve, Pandora was supposedly flawed by her innate and unbounded curiosity.  Eve had her apple, or some other forbidden fruit, while Pandora had a mystery jar given her by Zeus; a jar that turned out to be full of evil things.  (Note that it was a jar, not a box.  It didn’t become a box until the 16th century when a scholar mistranslated the ancient Greek word for jar to the Latin word for box.)  The essentials of the Eve and Pandora story are much the same.  Innocence was the order of the day until the apple was eaten and the jar was opened, in defiance of the edicts of God and Zeus, respectively.  Those acts, depending on which you prefer to believe in, let evil loose upon the world, and innocence has been mighty hard to come by ever since.

            The metaphor of Pandora’s Box is a bit more pointed than the story of Eve and her forbidden fruit.  The metaphor is somewhat easier to picture.  The point is that once a negative force is allowed into the world it can never again be contained.  Eve couldn’t un-eat that apple, any more than Pandora could capture those escaped evils and stuff them back in the jar.  What was done, was done, and the world was never the same.  We still see the results, don’t we?

            Today the stories of Eve and Pandora are very relevant, if you look at the “rights” movement from the correct perspective.  It’s something to be concerned about.  You see, Pandora’s Box (or jar) never empties, despite the story that the last “spirit” in her box was hope.  New evils continue to escape from it, never to be re-captured and contained.  And, poor Eve only had a half-eaten apple to deal with. What was the chance she’d ever be able to do anything about the forces she let loose by her curiosity and disobedience?

            It may not seem obvious why the “rights” movement might be considered an evil, but it’s simple, really.  It’s all relative to philosophy, and which one you guide your life by. 

            In our nation’s beginning the whole concept of rights of citizens was a great part of the public conversation.  Average people discussed rights.  Our Founding Fathers wrote about and discussed rights on a continual basis.  Rights of citizens was the primary concern of our nation in its formation.  Read the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and you’ll observe the intense focus on rights and how the government should act to protect them.  Even so, one has to understand exactly how our founders considered rights; what was a right, and what was not.

            Our forebears believed in Natural Rights; rights bestowed by man’s creator.  Some of those rights are explicitly stated in our founding documents, while others are inferred.  Some false rights people want to claim are also inferred. For example, you have the right of free speech, but you don’t have the right to libel or slander.  You have the right to own and possess property, but you don’t have the right to take that property from another without his consent.  Natural Rights were the subject of many very sophisticated discussions and treatises in the 17th and 18th centuries, and it behooves us today to understand the breadth and depth of the conversation.

            Far more recently President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a whole new set of rights.  Instead of basing rights on principles of freedom, liberty, self-protection, property ownership, and other Natural Rights, Roosevelt’s seemed geared more toward enabling citizens to claim against their government.  Thank God Roosevelt’s proposals were never codified in law.  Imagine if you will the number of lawsuits that would have been filed if the following new “rights” were appended to the current list of Constitutional amendments:  The right to a useful job; the right to earn a wage sufficient to provide adequate food, clothing and recreation; the right for every farmer to raise and sell at a price that would guarantee his family a decent living; the right of commerce free from unfair competition, the right to a decent home; the right to adequate medical care; the right to protection from economic fear; the right to a good education.  Yes, indeed, those were Roosevelt’s proposals.  And if you understand today’s “rights” movements you know all those proposals aren’t dead.  Congress didn’t pass laws to guarantee any of those “rights” but activist groups still campaign for them today, in one form or another.  In this light, one may accuse Roosevelt of playing Pandora, but in truth he was merely restating some very old wish-list items from the American progressive and European communist movements.

            When you read the words Roosevelt used, the most striking aspect of them was their lack of specificity.  What is a “useful” job?  What are “adequate” food, clothing and recreation?  What standard is used to determine a “decent home” or “adequate” medical care?  How does one discriminate between a bad, “good” or excellent education?  The real problem of all those rights is they have no boundaries at all.  They are law-suit magnets in the way they are worded.  I’m sure Roosevelt thought he was being elegantly lofty and cerebral in the way he proposed.  Lawyers love lofty and cerebral language.  Almost any well-worded complaint regarding those “rights” could prevail in a court suit.

            The “right” that’s foremost in people’s conscience today, whether or not they realize it, is one of Roosevelt’s proposals.  It’s the one dealing with medical care.  Only we don’t talk of it as medical care except in an oblique way.  The literal way we discuss it is in terms of health insurance, which is actually a long way from medical care in every conceivable way.  But the progressives will convince their supporters that good medical care is best achieved by good government-mandated health insurance.  It’s what the Average Joe often refers to as “a crock!”

            The federal government has a few legitimate functions defined by the Constitution, and a few others that aren’t.  It has many functions performed today that aren’t truly legitimate, but it’s darned hard to challenge them on that basis.  Try challenging the existence of the Department of Education based on the lack of the word “education” in any founding document.  See what’ll happen.  You’ll discover it’s impossible to find any court at any level that will acknowledge you have proper standing to press the case.  You’re literally stopped in the starting gate.  Much of our government is that way.  There’s no actual constitutional basis for the existence of the EPA or the IRS, yet they exist and no individual or group can do a thing about it.  Only Congress and the Supreme Court can, and they evidently aren’t remotely interested.  This whole subject of health care is another example.  There’s nothing Constitutional about it, but only Congress or the Supreme Court can do anything about it.  Obamacare will exist to some extent or another for the foreseeable future.  The passage of the Affordable Health Care Act was very much an evil released on our land, and it’ll never be stuffed back in its box.  It’s been released, and it might be managed to one extent or another, but it evidently won’t ever be contained or killed.

            The real issue is the notion of health care as a human right.  If you understand those who believe in the concept you understand they put no boundaries on that right.  Any individual should be able to avail themselves of any needed health care for any malady at any time regardless of their ability to ever pay.  That’s what is meant when health care as a human right is being discussed.  Those who buy into this will tell you it’s inhumane to withhold any form of medical care from anyone in need for any reason at all.  The ill have a right to expect, and if those expectations are not met, to demand.

            The problem with all those “new rights” are all reflected in the current debates over medical care.  It come down to a simple, two-word question:  Who pays?  But, though the two words are simple, the entirety of the meaning is far deeper. 

What’s not often articulated is fundamental to understanding the concept of Natural Rights and where some of the “new rights” can intrude upon them.  The subject of “who pays” is a great way to understand it.  The “who” is us.  “Us” is everyone who pays taxes.  It’s not the poor person whose earnings put them below the income tax thresholds.  It’s the “us” who earn above those levels and the “us” who own property.  What is really at heart involves the Natural Rights notion that your money is your property, just as is your home and your land, assuming you have those.  Whenever a claim of a “new right” has the effect of taking your money or your other property completely without your say-so or ability to control, your own right to own property has been violated.  Isn’t it enough that the government takes from us to operate its legitimate functions?   When it takes further to give to another in furtherance of their “new right” the government has done us provable harm.  In this case the “new right” of a sick person somewhere in the country prevails over your Natural and Constitutional Right to your property.  The government confiscates your property in the form of taxes and give it in one form or another to another citizen.  They don’t ask you; they just do it.  That’s what government-run or government-specified health care is actually about. 

Take the example of the previous paragraph and apply it to housing, education, income, jobs, or any number of undertakings our government involves itself in and you begin to see that, as citizens, our Natural Rights, those that are affirmed within the Constitution, take a back seat to the “new rights” claimed by those who are made eligible to do so.  Your right to own anything is now subject to a governmental definition of need.  If the government defines any need of another as superior to yours, they will take from you, and you have virtually zero recourse. 

What is amazing today is how close our nation is to absolute tyranny.  All the legal mechanisms and statutes exist today to support that level of tyranny.  It almost makes one wonder what they’re waiting on.  What is it that keeps those wolves in Washington at bay?  Could it be us?  Could it be those in power in Washington still fear the people and our power?  Could it be they are playing the “long game” on us?  In this case the “long game” is the incremental diminution of our Constitutional and Natural Rights through step-wise legislative action.  I propose that’s exactly what has been going on for over 100 years.

As proof I offer only one thing for your consideration.   Before the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act did any of you consider it likely that pre-existing health conditions would be coverable by government-subsidized insurance company policies?  I’m not talking about the ethical questions regarding the subject, but just the very idea.  When the AHCA was passed the biggest watchword in the country was “REPEAL!” but that’s been supplanted by “REPLACE!”  What survives from the AHCA is proof of the incremental diminution of citizen rights.  The “evil” of a “new right” that intrudes on the Natural Rights of others is very akin to the evils set loose by Pandora.  It’s just another small piece of Eve’s apple.  Once let loose in the land, it can never again be contained.

When the price of progress is freedom, all citizens lose. When our leaders are no longer capable of understanding freedom, we are guaranteed the progress they promote, and equally guaranteed it will be our freedom that will pay for it.

In Liberty,
Steve