Thursday, July 31, 2008

Privilege vs. Right

I noticed within my writings that I tend to have two major undertones (at least up until this point) and that is of our freedoms as Americans being taken from us and about issues that need to be outlawed. However, I have noticed what can be viewed as hypocrisy within my own posts, so I want to go back and explain my positioning and why I still stand behind the words I have written.
The thing I feel we have the RIGHT to is being free. By that, I mean if my actions (or anyone else's actions) are not harmful to OTHERS, then they should not be dictated by the government if I can do them or not. For instance, if I want to eat fast food daily and die of clogged arteries, that is MY business. It may put a "strain" on the health care system (which is another topic altogether) but it shouldn't. The "strain" added to the health care system due to obesity (both directly and indirectly caused by fast food) should be PAID for by THOSE that are obese. I, as a fairly healthy person, should not have my RIGHT to eat fast food taken from me because others cannot control their appetites.
The same thing goes with having a chip added to my driver's license. If someone thinks it is a wonderful idea to have this chip (likely with countless pieces of private information attached to them) then they should be able to have it, but I do not want to be FORCED to have this chip. I value my freedom a little too much. It is like the on-star technology I spoke of - I had the RIGHT to deny the invasion (hopefully having the satellite linked to my vehicle is not being watched anyway) - but when it comes to a chip on all driver's license, I do not have a choice, and I feel that should be spoken out about.
On the flip side, any "right" (perceived right) that can cause damage and harm to others should be outlawed. It is that simple. Driving while texting makes you a nuisance on the road - and you can potentially KILL someone because of it. In my opinion this is when it becomes a necessity for the government to step up to the plate and initiate laws. If your actions could kill me, then I'm not happy about it, and thus I disagree with your views as this being your "right." Rights versus privileges are two very distinctly different things, and far too many people need to wake up and realize the differences.
That is where my argument arises as to what I mean when I say freedoms are being stripped. I don't think stripping our privileges is an abomination, but stripping our rights definitely is. I updated on Fast Choices to included a blurb about how I feel it's wrong that Drug Stores in San Francisco will no longer be allowed to sell cigarettes even though I am a non-smoker. On the same token, earlier this year the state of Illinois instituted (finally) a "no smoking in public places" ban - and I absolutely agree with this bill. So what's the difference? You buying cigarettes will not kill me, but you smoking in my presence (with disregard to my right to fresh air) could potentially do harm to my body by way of second hand smoke - and THAT is the difference between a right and a privilege.
And I hope that provides some clarification as to why I can say "we are being stripped of rights" only to turn around and say "they need to ban . . .," it's because whatever can do harm to OTHERS should be banned, anything that does no harm but takes away civil liberties need not be banned (and I realize fast food can do "harm" but only in excess - as can cigarettes and alcohol, but they aren't banned in this day and age, and they provide the same "stain" on the health care system).
The underlying tone of this blog so far is that the government cannot control every aspect of our lives - or else we cannot be called a free nation - and I hope that is conveyed in my writings. Rights and Privileges are two separate issues, and need to be dealt with accordingly. If your action can kill me (or cause other bodily harm) then it needs to be banned, and that is the absolute truth.

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