Monday, April 20, 2009

Unalienable rights, attainder, and law.

How often have you heard from a person, “They did (x) so they have no rights?” Have you really thought about this statement much? Have you said it?

Many people do not know what rights are, or what it means for a right to be inalienable. To explore this, we must look at the term itself. Inalienable and unalienable were used interchangeably by the founding fathers, and the root of the term is a contrary (in or un) and 'alienable', or to make foreign. The term 'alienation' was a specific legal term in property law, following the premise from the 1760s that rights themselves were matters of property. Alienation was a transfer of power over property between parties, as one person would 'alienate' the property from themselves, and the other would fully assume control.

If a man has 'unalienable' rights, and under the law cannot transfer, or have transferred by civil court those rights into the hands of another, what does this mean? Men (used as the term denoting all mankind, i.e. Homo Sapiens and all decendents) have specific rights to live, granted not by government fiat, but by the fact that they are alive. If a man cannot transfer those rights, and others cannot thus legally transfer them, then how can they lose those rights?

We live within a constitutional representative republic based in those rights, not a democracy. The purpose was to limit the power of the government against the people, and the power of the people against each other. It was designed to prevent the needs of the few being outweighed by the needs of the many, or the needs of the many being outweighed by the needs of the few. It did not matter if the tyrants were the majority, or the minority, the government or the people, tyranny was tyranny regardless of the form.

If your rights may be alienated and transferred to the government, who is to say if that government, or the people themselves, may be brought to a point where they deny you your right? Are you going to establish your right to protest the government when you are disarmed, and disabled, in a prison cell without the writ of habeas corpus, or even anyone other than the government knowing you are there?

Are you going to establish your innocence when they have the power to torture, and send you off for torture? Are you going to be remembered for your mewling confession under torture? The right to effective resistance is one of the fundamental rights. Society, itself, has means of dealing with the few who choose to commit crime, and harm others. The whole of society when armed in the cause of liberty can stop any force brought to bear against it. An unarmed society, however, when others who are less willing to abide by law maintain arms, is a society of victims; it is equally capable of being victimized from those outside of that society, as by its own government which believes should protect it.

Rights are for all classes. Attainder was the establishment of new classes by 'taint', that had easy identification, and removal of the rights of that class by edict, punishable by the courts of law without trial. Attainder (attaindere) literally means a taint. Should our government, or the people thereof be able to establish classes with 'less' rights than any other citizen outside of the bounds of the penitentiary or punishment by jury trial... what is to prevent them from other classes, including the class of the whole?

If your unalienable rights are alienated by writ.... so is control over your life, your body, and your beliefs. Think about it.

No comments: