Monday, February 20, 2012

Reptilian hypocrisy

“The revolutionary idea contained in the Declaration of Independence is that certain fundamental human rights, including the right to life, are gifts from God and cannot be given nor taken away by government."

You will never guess where I got that.* Wait! Don't click on it. I'll tell you because I don't want to drive traffic toward that particular website. I only put it there because as a journalist, proper attribution is right there with saying please and thank you and breathing as things for which there is no good excuse to voluntarily stop doing.

But first, let's look at that illuminating and provocative quote. Certain fundamental rights are granted to every human — every single one — by God himself. Not by the government; that's why the government can't take these rights away. Some rights, including the right to life but presumably also the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the other rights specifically laid out in the Declaration of Independence, an inspired document that set forth ideals that were revolutionary in their day, including the ideal that all people (it actually says men, but I'm going to go ahead and modernize the words of those patriots who wrote it — some things obviously aren't meant to be taken literally) are equal.

It's interesting because the author of the above quote doesn't believe that certain rights cannot be taken away. He doesn't believe that about the right to life. He believes that if you break a law that the government has deemed to be punishable by death, the government can take away your right to life. He believes that a woman whose life is at stake should not have the right to life if it means her baby would die. He also believes that if you are an enemy to the United States, your life is worth less. His right to life is very, very narrow.

He also doesn't hold that all people should be able to pursue happiness, unless it's in the very specific way he feels happiness should be pursued. For him, that means a free-wheeling life doing whatever he wants and to hell with how it affects other people. For women, that means barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, and I'm going to go ahead and add submissive to that too. (I should note that this does not apply to people who live in Third World and war-torn countries. Only Americans not on welfare are granted the pursuit of happiness.)

As for equality, well, everyone may be equal if you just do what he says — equally miserable. The rich will get fewer and richer, while the poor will inherit what is left of the earth. Birth control will be outlawed, Medicaid would be overrun with all the children born unexpectedly but he will have shut that down. Sure, there will be no death panels; outside of socialized health care it goes by natural selection — except we can't call it that because evolution won't be taught in schools anymore because those who do not truly understand God will never be able to make sense of the relationship between God and science.

This man and others of his ilk point their fingers at their political enemies and say they are destroying the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I would have to disrespectfully disagree.

* It's from Newt Gingrich's campaign website.

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