Wednesday, May 31, 2006

RIGHTS VS PRIVILEGES

To understand the principle of civil, human, individual, or medical rights, one must understand what a right is, and the difference between a right and a privilege. Our founding fathers used philosopher John Locke's vision of natural law as a guide for forging the foundation of our nation. Our Declaration of Independence expresses Locke's vision, declaring, "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."

Government is necessary only to protect our rights, but the only rights we can delegate to government are those we possess. For example, we all have a natural right to defend our property and ourselves. Since we possess this right, we can delegate authority to government to defend us. By contrast, we don't have a natural right to take the life or property of another person; therefore, we cannot legitimately delegate such authority to government.

A right is the sovereignty to act without the permission of others. Rights define what you may do without the permission of other men and it erects a moral and legal barrier across which they may not cross. It is your protection against those who attempt to forcibly take your life’s time, your money or property. The concept of a right carries with it an implicit, unstated footnote: you may exercise your rights as long as you do not violate the same rights of another—within this context, rights are an absolute. We use our collective might to punish and deter those who violate our rights. This is the only appropriate use of the law.

Rights are applied to all men, not just a few. There are no special "rights" unique to women or men, blacks or white, the elderly or the young, homosexuals or heterosexuals, the rich or the poor, doctors or patients or any other group. A special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all or the “rights” reserved exclusively by particular persons or groups are called privileges.

Privileges are granted from the life, liberty, time, and property of one individual, group, or organization to another.

Government can also grant privileges, however, those privileges are the life, liberty, time, and property of an individual or group of individuals. When privileges are given that violate the rights of another, than an act of immorality, or rights violation has taken place.

Simply put; there is only one, fundamental right, the right to life—which is: the sovereignty to follow your own judgment, without anyone’s permission, about the actions in your life. All other rights are applications of this right to specific contexts, such as property, freedom of speech, and the freedom to medicate your own body. If you become ill, you need not seek the permission of the government to seek and obtain treatment.

The principle of a free society, the right to self-ownership; to deny this is to give praise to slavery. It is a perversion of nature to take away from human beings the means to alleviate the symptoms of debilitating diseases, or to use a medicine to prevent blindness. When the government uses its collective might to prevent an individual from improving, enriching, educating, or medicating their selves, it is essentially attacking it's own people by claiming a higher authority on the minds and bodies of it's own citizens.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Walls on the Border will Turn Our Nation into a Prison
Immigration is a hot button issue right now. Most Americans want the government to crack down on illegal immigration. According to a recent poll on PollingReport.com 62% of Americans feel that illegal immigration is a serious problem, and they want congress to do something about it. I have personally heard ideas ranging from building a 20 foot wall with armed guard towers across the border, to arresting all business and charitable organizations that help “illegal” immigrants settle into the American way of life. The outcry to stifle immigration into this country is founded on bigotry and ignorance, and I am going to prove it.

Immigrants are stealing American jobs?
We’ve heard many people on their soapbox stating that immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans, and they believe that we have to cap immigration to secure jobs for Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most Americans do not want the jobs that are filled by immigrants. Those are the lowest level jobs that pay little and require many hours of hard physical labor. If Americans would do those jobs, immigrants wouldn’t have the opportunity to fill them.

When immigrants are employed in low-level positions a market demand for more jobs is created. Once they are here they need food, clothing, and shelter. They need cars to drive back and forth to work. In fact according to the US Labor Department we have had a steady decrease in the jobless rate since the year 2003. This is conclusive evidence that immigrants are not ruining the job market. Immigrants may take jobs off the market in one industry, but they create a demand in other sectors. If you think that immigrants are retarding job growth, just wait until the government keeps businesses from hiring them.

In addition, there is no right to a job in America. If an employee desires to keep their job, they will have to work hard and be competitive. Employees should work hard to improve the skills that will make them more valuable to an employer. Next time you go to a fast food restaurant and get served by a snot-nosed little punk with a horrible attitude, think to yourself (so you don’t get your food spat on) how grateful you are that no one has a right to a job in America.

Immigrants cost us money by using our welfare and not paying taxes?
This statement enrages me. First of all, immigrants are less likely to be dependent on welfare or other socialist programs than Americans. Even if this is true, what right does our government have to take my money and redistribute it to another? I don’t care if the money goes to an immigrant or American, the forceful confiscation of wealth for a welfare system is unjust and immoral. Most illegal immigrants obtain fake documents to work. They pay taxes just like you and me. When they buy products, they pay taxes, just like you and me. Don’t blame immigrants for taking advantage of a corrupt and barbaric wealth distribution system; blame the system.

Can you imagine buying and apple, orange, or tomato that was picked by an American? They would cost about $5.00 a piece. By filling low-paying positions immigrants reduce the price of goods by billions of dollars a year. We all benefit financially by having immigrants in the workforce. Taxes cost everyone money. Don’t blame people for being smart enough to elude the IRS, blame the IRS for being so greedy that people feel no alternative other than avoiding them. Blame the government for forcefully taking so much of your hard earned money.

Illegal immigrants do not respect our laws; my ancestors came here legally?
If a law is not respected by so many, then it must be a bad law. Many people have no idea as to what kinds of hoops immigrants have to jump through in order to come to this country legally.

First, an employer or legal US resident living in the US must sponsor you. You can avoid sponsorship if you invest at least $1million in a US based business, or ask for asylum (but you have to prove that it is life threatening for you to return to your country.

Second, you must prove that no American can do your job. Ever wonder why so many doctors come from another country?

Finally, file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status, or any other type of application for permanent residency; you must answer a series of questions about your health, finances and good moral character. You must also provide documentation to prove your admissibility. An ICE-approved doctor must examine you, and your family sponsor must complete an affidavit of support to show he or she is able to financially support you. You can get a list of forms here.

Of course I am simplifying these steps, and there is no guarantees that you can come legally. Many “illegal” immigrants come here because they need to feed their families now. They need to work now, and our government has prevented them from coming here to better their lives. The ideas of self-improvement through life, liberty, and property are the principles in which America was founded. Ours’ is a country founded on immigration, and we have no right to keep the many people worldwide who wish to better themselves, from coming here to do so.

When our ancestors came to America, there were fewer obstacles to deter them. They were placed in lines, checked for diseases, and sent on their way. People came here because they wanted to be free, and lift themselves out of poverty. Throughout the history of America there has always been loud groups of xenophobes speaking out against immigration. They want to prevent others from experiencing and taking advantage of the American way of life, in order to preserve their idea of what America should be. Just because there are lines on a map, doesn’t mean that we have the right to keep other human beings from traveling to our country. When walls are built to keep people out, this country will essentially be a locked down prison that keeps Americans in. That isn’t my idea of freedom. The ideology America was based on is said best in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence: “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.”

Immigrants will bring diseases?
This is one of the more laughable reasons to keep immigrants from coming to America. Keep in mind that most anyone from around the country can come here at any time without being checked for diseases. They are tourists, and they are encouraged to come. On the flip side of that, we Americans can travel to almost anywhere in the country and return to America without completing a physical. If there was a threat of contracting diseases that couldn’t be cured, we are surely susceptible to catching them now. Good luck at preventing travelers and tourists from coming into America!

Terrorists could sneak into America?
Many politicians do a lot of chest thumping about terrorists. It seems that fear mongering does a lot to get votes. However, I am going to shatter your world right now. The terrorists are already here in America. They do not need to sneak across the borders. All of the terrorists that struck the World Trade Centers came here legally. Setting all of these obstacles to prevent immigration, or building walls to keep people out, will do nothing to prevent terrorist attacks. If you want to make America safe from terrorist attacks, vote out all of the Republicans and Democrats that have trampled through the world murdering millions of people. Apologize for the years of imperialism and intrusiveness that our government has implicated. Apologize for all of the innocent women and children that our government has murdered. Imprison every member of congress, and every living president who has voted in favor of interventionist wars. Then, maybe we will be safe. Our safety has everything to do with controlling our heavy-handed government, not preventing immigration.

Immigrants want to take over America?
I know many immigrants and none of them have wanted to take control of America. Many of them want to come to this country because it offers life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, something that their county does not ensure. I understand that there are a few immigrants who are racist. I refuse to condemn all immigrants for the racist ramblings of a few, just as I expect others not to condemn me for the words and actions of the KKK.

There is no excuse to prevent immigration that isn’t based in bigotry, xenophobia, misinformation, or fear mongering. However, the reasons to open borders are just, moral and based strictly on evidence.

As we have learned time and time again, prohibition of wanted services such as prostitution, gambling, alcohol, and drugs, will send those services into the black market where rules of society do not apply. Foreigners will desire to come to America, and will so as long as we offer a society that is better than their own. It works in the opposite as well; if you want to keep immigrants from coming here you have to make this country look less desirable than theirs. Do you really want to keep immigrants out bad enough to turn America into a third world country?
Until we open borders, the mafia and other black market profiteers will exploit immigrants to earn a quick dollar. This is called the “new slavery”, and it happens all over the world (2million world wide): “As many as 50,000 people are illicitly trafficked into the United States annually, according to a 1999 CIA study. Once here, they're forced to work as prostitutes, sweatshop laborers, farmhands, and servants in private homes. Victims-- mostly women-- are often desperate to escape poverty and abuse in countries wracked by economic turmoil.

Besides selling immigrants into slavery, the unnecessary regulations, forms, and rules, cost tax payers numerous amounts of tax money. I do not want to hinder immigration, is it justified to take my money to do so? I want to hire immigrants, and not allow anyone to take control of my business. If you want to keep away from immigrants, buy a huge lot of land and keep to yourself. I don’t want to give anyone a hand out, so stop taking my money and crying when it goes to an immigrant. If you want to keep immigrants from being hired, make sure that ideology stays with your business.

Crime increases when we enforce a system that is anything less than open borders. Immigrants, who come here but can’t follow all of the red tape, cannot report a crime when it happens. Even wonder why people are afraid to talk to the police in a poor neighborhood? They aren’t afraid of the criminals as much as they are afraid that the police will send them back home.

Our red tape for immigrants prevents families from staying together. In the slim chance that a man gets a work Visa, his family will either have to come here illegally or stay in an oppressive, impoverished nation without their traditional male protector. In some instances part of the family may be able to immigrate, but inevitably some will be left behind. Our rules tear families apart, and if you have ever been unlucky enough to witness this, it is absolute heartbreak.

Finally, the idea that the government can fix the problems of immigration it has caused, shows the ignorance of the majority of Americans. You cannot fix the social problems caused by government rules and regulations by adding more rules and regulation. The Americans that want stronger immigration laws, or stricter enforcement of current immigration laws, are the same Americans who strongly feel Congress is corrupt and that Congress should do something about the corruption in Congress! I can no longer excuse the mindless ramblings of an America that knows more “American Idol” judges and “Simpsons” characters then the rights enshrined in the 1st Amendment. The only legitimate government is one that will protect your individual rights, without violating the rights of another. Neither the Constitution, nor the United States of America gives us our rights; we have them because we live. We cannot violate the rights of other human beings because we feel imaginary lines on a map and the location of our birth gives us some sort of power to prevent travel.

The American tradition calls for us to be a beacon of freedom for the world. We should open our arms to everyone who wants to come to our beautiful home. I’m as embarrassed as anyone at the mess Republicans and Democrats have made of our country, but I won't justify building a huge wall to hide it. Let’s revel in what is inscribed upon the statue of liberty: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Thursday, May 11, 2006


The FDA Violates Medical Rights

This is an excerpt of the FDA’s mission statement, pulled from the FDA's website.
In a free society, why should the government have the power to forbid people to take medicine that could save their lives? In addition, why should the government have the power to forbid anything that doesn’t infringe on the rights of another human being? Forbidding a person’s right to make choices, even bad choices, isn’t the proper function of the government in a just and free society.

"Tiny Bubbles" crooner Don Ho could not undergo a procedure that used his own stem cells to strengthen his heart muscle in America; he had to travel to Thailand. The FDA has yet to approve the procedure, and Ho would have died before government bureaucrats could do so. This is a classic example of how the FDA’s red tape is counterproductive to their own mission statement; "The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs."

Whom does the FDA intend to protect, when they would prevent beneficial and cheap medicines from hitting the marketplace in America? How many people have to die while waiting for a drug to be approved? How many sick and dying people will loose their battles for life because they can’t afford the price of drugs that have to recoup the expense of FDA approval? Does the end justify the means? The FDA and supportive government officials say, "No, you'll just have to die. We won't let you take this stuff, because it could kill you."

Currently, the FDA is using its unchecked power to ban propellant-based inhalers, like Primatene Mist. This affects millions of asthma patients, who must now pay more money (and go through greater inconvenience) to get prescription inhalers. Doctors and large pharmaceutical companies, of course, love the extra business.

On April 20th of this year, under pressure from Drug War zealots like Indiana Representative Mark Souder, the FDA released an unfavorable view of marijuana for medical purposes, despite the contradicting data of dozens of credible medical organizations. The FDA must have forgot that they have already approved synthetic variations of cannabanoids (chemicals found naturally in marijuana) for medical use. These synthetic forms of cannabanoids are very expensive and have horrible potential side effects. They simply do not work as well for some people. When presented with this evidence one must question whom the FDA works for; is it the American citizens or the large pharmaceutical companies?

In a free society, it is morally reprehensible to prevent personal choice, especially when dealing with personal issues of medication. If we loose the right to manage the health of our own bodies, nothing else will matter. In response to that statement many individuals unwilling to take personal responsibility will say, "Without the FDA people will die, drugs will be dangerous, we can’t take the risk."

Today, we know that many will die while waiting for drugs still going through the FDA’s approval process. The consumption of medicines that can fight cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses is forbidden unless otherwise approved by the FDA. Thousands suffer from chronic pain and depression that can be suppressed, for little or no money, with use of the "miracle weed" known as marijuana. Health information, such as how tea can help prevent heart disease, is repressed as it awaits approval from the FDA. This isn’t in the interest of public health and safety!

Drugs such as Vioxx and Oxycontin have shown to be very dangerous and highly addictive despite review by the FDA. It’s great that the FDA saw that the benefits outweighed the harm, but there is still harm.

In a society without the FDA people will be able to make personal choices. Regulation will still exist, much as private organizations such as the Underwriters Laboratory regulate electronic devices. Most electronic manufacturers submit their merchandise to the UL (look for the symbol on your electronic devices). The UL doesn’t prevent merchandise from hitting the market, but they will not put their seal of approval on the device unless it passes their meticulous tests. Most electronic distributors will not sell a device without the UL seal of approval. This isn’t because of force; it is because they know that if their customers are purchasing unsafe products from their store, they may suffer some fiscal responsibility. The liability could come from lawsuits or loss of consumer base. The FDA does not have the same kind of liability the UL has. If the UL approves unsafe products, they will loose credibility and profits. On the other hand, if the FDA approves unsafe products, they will obtain more funding, with or without your consent, to rectify the problem. The only protections the FDA provides is protection to the pharmaceutical companies, and to the FDA’s own illegitimate existence. If anything is worth doing it will be done in the private sector with voluntary participants.

Humans are fallible, and will always make bad decisions especially in reference to medical choices. Medical expertise isn’t the underlying issue; it’s whether or not people in a free society have the right to choose, even if they make bad choices. I want to be safe, and I want everyone else to be safe. I can’t justify safety by taking away personal choices. If we loose our right to self-ownership, we loose the ability to be free. We become enslaved by our want to be safe. One may choose to enslave themselves, but should never choose to enslave another, especially in the name of public health and safety. It is an undeniable right to medicate yourself the way you feel is best. The government must protect this right, even for those who would exercise it irresponsibly.