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What is All this Fuss about Rights?

What is All this Fuss about Rights?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

People seem to think that anyone who complains about their “rights” is some sort of crybaby ninny. I hear comments all the time like, “Rights? You already don’t have any rights, why are you so upset about losing any more?” Or quite the opposite, “You don’t know what losing rights is all about, try living a week in North Korea!”

Neither one of these responses shows much intelligence or understanding of our current situation.

The first one is a particularly good example in this regard. Rights are being lost so quickly. When and if we finally wake up to that fact we will realize how much we indeed have already lost.

That still is not a good reason to ignore what is going on.

The second response shows that whoever is saying this doesn’t understand that North Korea is exactly where we are headed. It too is no reason not to be hyper-observant about what is currently happening.

History has clearly shown that if you don’t nip such things in the bud, totalitarianism or any of its oppressive derivatives is bound to eventually creep its way into the culture. We, as a free society, must constantly be aware of the possibility and see the early signs of it.

It is so interesting to me that people in general will slap on the label “paranoid” or better yet, “conspiracy theorist” if a person shows any concern for the abuse of power and possible corruption, no matter how significant, or insignificant, the concern may be. As Jordan Peterson once said:

Systems go terribly out of control when people don’t stop them when they are going mildly out of control.”

Making this stranger yet, we know that people, and lots of them, are still capable of acknowledging and acting against what they perceive as government corruption. This capability was made clearly evident during Donald Trump’s term as US President.

Whether Trump’s entire negative persona as president was fabricated by the press or not (I certainly doubt if all of it was) those on the left still responded as if it was a formidable problem, and of course still do.

As much as I was taken in by media hype at the time, I am still astounded how viciously adamant people were and are that Trump, and the Republican Party that supported him, are the only reason the country is in a tailspin. It all seems rather clear to me that Trump, and all that came with him, was at least in part, an insidious decoy.

So why is this? If the populace can see corruption in one circumstance (the alleged corruption of Trump’s administration and party), why can’t they see it in another (the government corruption we are experiencing now)—and in one that the evidence shows is indeed corrupt? Is this perception entirely caused by the media?—in my humble opinion, very likely so.

I believe that the cliché is true—the press really does control public opinion and public stance.

The press may be one of the roots of the massive weed that got us into this mess, but the press used to be only as powerful as their insistence on reporting the truth.

Now, obviously, it doesn’t matter to them at all if they are reporting the truth. So why is that?

The taproot is not the press, but the people consuming the media’s vomit of “information.” They typically do not know how to scrutinize truth from untruth. In fact, it seems that the distinction between fact and fiction doesn’t even matter.

I have seen situations with friends and family where a very clear evidential truth is finally presented (as is happening quite often now) and they STILL will not cry uncle, “I don’t care if it is true, I am sticking with what I believe.” It is a no-win situation.


I don’t think there is one answer to that question. But surely one of them is the power of past indoctrination. With regard to the freedom question, I truly believe many people simply do not want to be free.

For one thing, they don’t really know what freedom means, and as simple and facetious as it sounds, as long as they don’t have their video games, pot, porn, and other instant gratifiers taken away, they are as free as they care to be.

Think Brave New World and the prominent drug Soma as Huxley presented it in his joyous dystopia. Soma can take many forms today, and it replaces anything of any true value. It is a drug, just as the drugs we encounter today such as pot and alcohol, but also things we don’t think of as drugs like cell phones, computers, video games, pornography, new cars, fancy shoes and clothes, big houses, partying, sex, affairs, and so on.

Of course I am describing an extreme of the spectrum, but I think you get my point.

So my view is that many people do not care about the sort of freedom you and I would fight to the death to protect. Take freedom of speech. I am an old hippie (well, not exactly, but that is another story). Let’s just say I come from an era when freedom of speech, and the restrictions around it, was all a really big deal.

Free speech was the pillar of American democracy, and even a tiny seemingly insignificant oppression of it was tantamount to plunging a sword into the gut of everything the United States stood for. I still feel this way.

I got into one of these typical skirmishes on Facebook with a few very long-time friends. Some of them people who are my age as well and should have the same sentiments regarding freedom of speech as I do.

I played dumb for the most part, and responded to someone who was suggesting that people now boycott Twitter because the “free thinking” Elon Musk was taking over. I asked, “is that because you don’t like Elon Musk, or because you don’t like freedom of speech?”

Someone else then proceeded to give me a primer on Constitutional Law and said something like, “To paraphrase the constitution, ‘Congress shall make no law to restrict the freedom of speech.’ Last time I looked, Twitter was not Congress.” Implying that Twitter was not violating any law that they had to abide by, that only the government of the United States needed to be concerned about the illegality of limiting speech, a private company had nothing to worry about.

Now, I am not going to get into a discussion about any of this, i.e., whether Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al have the right to restrict speech, censor information, or what not. I do think there is an argument here, obviously, but that’s for another time.

What I AM going to comment on is the attitude of my compatriots taking the position of defending Twitter, or whomever, of their current practice to censor, restrict, and otherwise oppress the free exchange of information and opinions. What the hell?

The other oddity is that half a dozen people suddenly pounced on me for suggesting that Twitter had no right to manage their members who had all “signed” agreements of submission to Twitter’s “rules of engagement,” when that isn’t even what I was questioning.

People overall seem very sensitive about this. They are quite happy that these “information sources” are protecting their delicate ears from misinformation.

I hear this sort of thing all of the time—a blatant defense of privately owned companies to do whatever they damn well please… “a restaurant is not taking your rights away if they won’t let you in if you are not vaccinated, it is their right to bar service to anyone who does not meet their standards: ‘no shirt: no service, no vax: no service!!’”

OK, maybe that is true, maybe there are many cases where these companies have full right to do their form of vaccine discrimination, but why are these people defending that? Why aren’t they in an outrage? That, to me, is like defending someone’s right to bar people of color from entering a restaurant.

No one would stand for that, even if the people discriminating were on the right side of the law. It seems unconscionable to me that ANYONE would be on the side of someone, or a private company, who wishes to restrict speech. But that is where we are.

People honestly do not want to be free. They find comfort in being controlled, and having information controlled. With freedom comes responsibility, and today it seems no one is willing to take on any responsibility.


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