Re: Useful Fictions

Michael S. Lorrey (
Mon, 24 May 1999 01:07:25 -0400 wrote:
> This is primarily directed to Michael -
> I think we agree on this issue. But I'll need clarification from you to see if we differ in any way. Like you, I happen to like property rights. I also happen to like all of the rights listed under the 'Bill of Rights'. Yet one must ask, do I need a 'right' granted to me by some document or govermental agency? The use of the word "right" seems to imply that it's a privalege which can be revoked. I see my capacity for free thought and speech, not so much as right granted to me, but as an intrinsic part of my existence. My understanding of your argument is that you see property rights in the same context? Is this correct? My point is that my intrinsic capacity for freedom is as real as one can get. If we insist on calling it a fiction, then we might as well call everything fiction - and any distinction between the two becomes meaningless.
> To conclude, the feeling in my bones is real. The 'right' to feel it granted by a government is a fiction. That being said, I would say any 'right' is a fiction. My 'right' to free speech is a fiction, and so are property 'rights'. I don't need some 'right' written down by goverments and/or power elites telling me what I already feel in my bones.
> I look forward to your response.

The Bill of Rights is not meant to be a grant from the government, but a statement by the people recognizing that they feel 'it in their bones', and that any government which pledges allegiance to the Constitution must acknowledge its subservience to this will of the people. Because of this, the Bill of Rights is a hedge against government, and not a grant to the people by government. This is the essential difference between the US style of government and most other supposedly 'democratic' governments. Most governments that claim to be democratic are more accurately described as elected dictatorships (any parliamentary system), and they all reseve original sovereign power to the government rather than too the people as we do.

This is why the US Constitution is a Natural Rights document. Its existence merely ensures that all loyal citizens be duty bound to protect the natural rights of all individuals, to back up the principles of Natural Rights with force when faced with opposition from those who only recognise the Force Doctrine.

Mike Lorrey