Defend civil liberties but also defend liberty, justice for all

Many, if not most, conservatives like to think of progressives as being blind supporters of “big government”, closet Communists, Soviet Socialists, neo-fascists, etc., but it simply isn’t so. When it comes to such  issues as defending civil liberties, protesting war and protecting the environment, progressives often dissent from official government policy. And though most conservatives are gung-ho for strong “national security” and military might, they want their civil liberties not to be infringed upon as well.  So for the moment where progressives and most conservatives meet and agree is in the need to secure our most fundamental Constitutional rights. But we have other rights as well which we, as a nation of free individuals, should defend.

Broken Liberty: Li-ber-ty, Istanbul Archaeolog...
Broken Liberty: Li-ber-ty, Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Found at Istanbul. (Photo credit: Nevit Dilmen, CC, some rights reserved via Wikipedia. Click photo for copyright info.)

Evidence for the bipartisan cooperation on civil rights can be found at the national level as Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Wisconsin’s Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner have co-sponsored a bill (The USA Freedom Act) that would prevent the mass, indiscriminate collection and use of electronic data on Americans without a warrant while making the process of obtaining a warrant more open to public scrutiny.

And here in Wisconsin a Democrat and a Republican in the Assembly have agreed to work together on a bill to make sure police departments in the state do not misuse cell phone location data.

Progressives don’t want a “Big Brother” government at any level. What we want is a government of brotherly love at all levels that works to rein in both the excesses of government and corporate capitalism: to the extent that government can help, we want it to be democratically helpful. It is an ideal, of course, which our representatives do not always live up to.

Conservatives seem to prefer a nation of every brother and sister for himself/herself while talking a lot about patriotism, “one nation under God”, that sort of thing. (Our so-called “centrists” and “independents” are  generally less ideological, less strident  conservatives.)  A nation “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” is certainly an ideal to pledge allegiance to, an ideal to which we could all agree. And yet our nation ends up spending massively for a  military and wars to defend “liberty” while treating many on our own soil, especially minorities, women and the less rich and powerful– with something far less than democratic justice.

If all Americans deserve civil liberties, don’t we all also deserve civil rights, enough to eat, decent shelter and clothing, good, healthy work to do that pays enough to live and thrive on? As we all  come together to nonviolently defend our civil liberties, so must we come together to defend our shared egalitarian vision, our various natural environments and communities from both the overreaching power of government and the depredations of big businesses.

Some Americans, we could say, are now using only half their brains.

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9 Thoughts

  1. “If all Americans deserve civil liberties, don’t we all also deserve civil rights, enough to eat, decent shelter and clothing, good, healthy work to do that pays enough to live and thrive on?”

    Ummm…No! It’s quite obvious that there are millions of residents within America’s borders who do not deserve such things. That’s because these are privileges that they haven’t earned.

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    1. Thanks for the comment.

      But how does one “earn” civil rights? Or human rights? Or any of the “unalienable rights” endowed by our Creator? Isn’t the preservation of such rights (for all) what democracy means?

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      1. And therein is the core of your and the Left’s problem. Most of those “rights” are merely privileges that must be either earned or begged as charity.

        Simply imagine yourself totally and utterly alone. Whatever you can do then are your unalienable rights that were granted to you by your Creator. Anything else is a privilege because it requires the intercession of others.

        Conversely, in the same situation, whatever cannot be done to you or against you are also indicative of the protective rights that were granted to you by your Creator.

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        1. Are you suggesting then, jonolan, that as some in the right, believe that God demanded “slaves be obedient to your masters”; that God himself is telling Christians to not only ” intercede”, but “own” each other?
          You may be young, you may not have experienced much of full life. You may be surprised to know that most “on the left” would not be offended by the picture of a kneeling soldier on your avatar page, as you suggest there.
          The point here is, we are not alone. Humanity needs humanity. It was designed that way. And as God gave “free will” to chose Him, He also commanded that we be giving to others as the most important commandment of all.
          “Unalienable rights” are a creation of man, in order that one more powerful group not kill off the weaker.These “rights” set forth in human law, go hand in hand with “God’s law”, to replace the ancient survival of the fittest natural law.
          Since you put forth the image of yourself as a Christian, perhaps you could explain what He meant , when Christ said “that which you do unto the least of these, you do unto me”? And, how does that relate to your comments above?

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          1. I past young so long ago I barely remember what it was like. Also, I’m not Christian, not even close and have never put myself forth as such.

            I don’t know where you come up with that God demanded “slaves be obedient to your masters”; that God himself is telling Christians to not only ” intercede”, but “own” each other, as I never even alluded to such a thing. Quite opposite in point of fact since my solitary example included the explicit reference to anything another could do to you as a possibly being prohibited by your inalienable rights.

            As for how, “that which you do unto the least of these, you do unto me” relates to my position – I find that it supports it since there can be goodness attached to an act which is mandated. One is not praised for obeying the law except in those circumstances where breaking it would be the most expected course of action for the normal person to take.

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    2. First of all, you’re quoted remark clearly is concerning legal citizens of the United States of America. Second of all, “rights” are not “privileges”. You confuse the two, and would do well to sharpen your vocabulary.

      Truths have been deemed self evident, and rights were deemed to be endowed by your creator, whomever, or whatever, you may deem that creator to be. Rights are not given by the Constitution, but are protected by that document. Civil Right is the term, therefore, you need to get a new grasp on the definition of its’ meaning. This is not difficult.

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      1. I would suggest, instead, that you sharpen your reading comprehension skills. I referred to most of the “rights” the author mentioned, which far beyond anything that were deemed to be endowed by our Creator(s).

        No offense truly intended but you’re the second one here to seemingly ignore what I actually wrote in favor of your apparent preconceptions and policy positions.

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