Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Human Rights

"The results should have been predictable, since a human being has no natural rights of any nature."

Mr. Dubois had paused. Somebody took the bait. "Sir? How about 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'?"

"Ah, yes, the 'unalienable rights.' Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What 'right' to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What 'right' to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of "right'? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man's 'right' is 'unalienable'? And is it 'right'? As to liberty, the heroes who signed that great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called 'natural human fights' that have ever been invented, liberty is the least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost."

"The third 'right'?--the 'pursuit of happiness'? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can 'pursue happiness' as long as my brain lives--but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it."

From Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein.
I'll post something substantial, of my own, later. I promise.

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