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Old 09-10-2019, 02:24 PM
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wolfpup is offline
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Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Do you think there is such a thing as "human rights"? Something such that a country like, North Korea, could violate?

Everyone starts with certain unalienable rights. The right to not be killed for example. Just because someone kills another person, doesn't mean they didn't possess that right, it means that someone violated their rights. That a right is violated does not mean that it never existed, though depending on circumstances one may not have the ability to enforce those rights.

In your view, people are subjects of the government. In the context of the US, the government is subject to the people.
Bolding mine. In point of fact, both of the two last sentences are true, and political philosophies differ largely in the extent to which they value the role of government or, alternatively, seek to minimize it. The whole gun debate in essence revolves around that issue -- whether it's government's role to promote a society that is relatively free of guns so that the right not to be killed by a random lunatic is part of the social contract, or whether possession of such weaponry is an individual right regardless of the societal consequences.

The idea that "the government is subject to the people" is an oft-cited trope in American history, as if true democracies did not exist elsewhere. But in fact they do, and often in a more robust form, free of plutocratic rule, and relatively free of the corrupting influence of money in politics and relatively free of gun violence wrought by an extreme devotion to individualism. To quote a current conservative hero, Neil Gorsuch, making my point albeit no doubt unintentionally:
For Gorsuch, the structure of government is his lodestar even more fundamentally so than the Bill of Rights.

"North Korea has an excellent Bill of Rights," he offers.

"They promise all the rights we have, and a bunch more. Right to free medical care, right to free education, and my favorite, a right to relaxation."

"Now, ask political prisoners how is that working out?" he queries.

For Gorsuch, those promises "aren't worth the paper they're written on" because there aren't structures to keep the power "from flowing into one set of hands."
Thus even the libertarian Cato Institute ranks the US #17 in the world on the Human Freedom Index [PDF], behind New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Taiwan, Germany, Estonia, Luxembourg, and Austria. And according to, the US comes out much worse, way down at #53 on the index of personal freedom. So obviously the principle of government -- or societal structures in general -- being subservient to the people in America isn't working out quite as intended.