Rights – in the most general meaning/sense – are claims of entitlement which an entity possesses by virtue of being a particular type of entity (note that businesses, organizations, and nations may possess rights…).
What is particular about the type of entity which may possess rights? That the entity is constituted in such a manner that he/she/it may claim – potentially – those said rights to which they are entitled.
An inalienable right is a moral claim of entitlement, made by a rational agent/being, to which they are entitled due to their nature as rational; note that “rational” is essentially equivalent in meaning with “moral.” Jefferson claims in the Declaration of Independence:
“…and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
We make several observations, to wit;
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1.) Jefferson reads classical metaphysics (i.e., the metaphysics of Saint Thomas Aquinas, in particular; inalienable Rights could not be derived from Aristotle…) into the Declaration of Independence.
2.) Self-evident truths, because they are self-evident, require no proof; they are axioms from whence all other rights are derived…
3.) Jefferson asserts men are “equal” in some capacity/capacities by virtue of having been created; those qualities in which humans are “equals” include: each human is “created,” each is mortal (each of us are fragile, dependent beings, destined to age and die…), and each is a moral being (i.e., each of us may develop characters which act to conduct our affairs in accordance with law – both natural and positive law – or we may live in accordance with the demands of our appetites…). And that we are created beings each of us is rendered subject to the natural law… The natural law is the complement (i.e., the final cause i.e., end/goal i.e., fulfillment of human essence which is in potency) of our form i.e., our rational essence… And to those so disposed as to seek the truth – rather than immediate satisfaction, and/or self-justification – the natural law will direct them towards what ought to be done/sought, and what ought to be avoided…
4.) Inalienable Rights are moral dogmas* rather than legal i.e., they are not provided, or conferred by Government, they precede all Government and accompany our rational essence, but these Rights – as with their possessors – are not secure; thus Jefferson justifies Government as he asserts: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
* The philological meaning of dogma is: “A philosophical tenet.” Moderns (ideologues) have taken to use the term as a pejorative – as something of an equivalent to fideism – but it the modern/ideologue that is closed to reason… Note that the “scientific method” is a dogmatic system…
5.) That Governments are established to secure these Rights – there is a tacit agreement made between individuals and Government – through the “social contract” – that in return for acquiring certain protections i.e., security, individuals agree to certain restrictions in exchange for secured/protected rights; Government is tasked with punishing violations of the law, and individuals – as part of the social contract – agree to what punishment Government may levy for violations of the law…
6.) Inalienable Rights are hierarchical; thus Liberty is a contingency of Life, and Pursuit of Happiness presupposes both Life and Liberty. Because the Right to Life is inalienable and fundamental Government may not violate this Right, but through a due process of Law – if an individual’s actions make him/her subject to the law and the violation of the law is sufficiently severe to warrant forfeiture of this Right, such forfeiture may be justified. Thus, only an individual – acting in violation of the social contract – may logically be in peril of losing their inalienable Right to Life by making themselves subject to due process.
7.) Abortion – the termination of an innocent intrauterine human – contradicts the concept of inalienable Rights, and the concept of contingent hierarchy Inalienable Rights (the inalienable Right to life of the baby is subordinated to that of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness of the mother) and the social contract…Thus, the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision – and the practice of abortion – abrogates the inalienable Rights by subordinating Life to the contingent rights of Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness, thus nullifying American jurisprudence…
8.) One may establish abortion as opposed to dispassionate (a priori) moral reasoning by submitting abortion to the Kantian Categorical Imperative, viz: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can one and the same will that it should become a universal law.” Abortion imposed and compelled upon all humans, past, present and future i.e., as an ‘established maxim of universal law,’ eliminates (aborts) humans beings i.e., the entire human race… And though the act of abortion does not actually eliminate all humans, when the act is universalized, as an intellectual test, we see that not only that abortion is immoral – for as an established maxim it would eliminate all dependent (mortal) rational beings – that abortion is opposed to reason; laws opposed to reason are self-invalidating… As a consequence, abortion reduces any such enabling jurisprudence capriciously irrational e.g., the United States Constitution understood as a “living” document.
9.) As we have already pointed out that the inalienable Rights of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness rest upon the inalienable Right to Life, our test – inverts, collapses and reduces the concept of inalienable Rights to a chimera. American jurisprudence i.e., the Constitution of the United States of America – presupposes these inalienable Rights, as it presupposes moral agents/beings – which in turn presuppose rational existence and a creative intelligent ordering principle a.k.a. God. Thus, those which advocate abortion are enemies of reason, enemies of the U.S. Constitution, enemies of the United States of America and enemies of Mankind!
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.