Apparently the mayor of Shreveport, La., Cedric Glover, believes that when a police officer stops someone for whatever reason, that citizen's rights are suspended. He said so in a telephone conversation with a concerned citizen.
In normal times, this kind of statement could be dismissed as fodder for a comedy bit on "The Tonight Show." Unhappily, given the rapid pace of the Obama faction's socialist transformation of America, the mayor may simply have articulated the understanding of rights characteristic of societies that have already undergone the transformation. I encountered it years ago in U.N. documents like the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to this understanding, rights are fabricated by government. This means of course that when the existence of a right interferes with some government action, the government's prerogative prevails. The right gives way, or simply disappears.
Given, among other things, the implications of socialism for concepts like property rights, this perversion of the doctrine of rights is essential for the implementation of socialism. Ask the car dealers whose franchises have been hijacked in the course of the government takeover of GM. Before the Obama faction began its work of destruction, however, the G.W. Bush administration had already diverted our liberty down the road of this tyrannical doctrine in the name of national security.
Advertisement - story continues below
But economic engineering and national security are just excuses for applying the doctrine. The root of it lies in the abandonment of the philosophy, articulated in the American Declaration of Independence, whereby rights precede the institution of government and are determined by "Nature and Nature's God," not by government fiat. Because they arise from a higher authority than government, these natural rights represent limits on government action, limits that government must respect to have or retain legitimacy. This means that no matter how laudable or imperative the goal of government action may be, it must proceed by means consistent with respect for the citizen's natural rights, or else its actions should be condemned (and rightly resisted) as unjust and abusive.
This characteristic of rights in a free society was understood to be one of the main reasons they are inherently incompatible with socialist government. Socialism requires the mobilization and control of people and things on a scale incompatible with the limitations that necessarily arise from respect for natural rights. It tacitly relies upon the notion that the ends justify the means, along with the imposition upon the citizens of whatever constraints those means require. In this respect, however humanitarian the goals of socialist policy claim to be, the pursuit of those goals assumes that individual citizens must be molded to conform to the purposes of the state, as merely material things are molded and shaped according for use.
Thus socialism dehumanizes people, taking no account of the subjective qualities and claims that distinguish them from merely physical things. It is no coincidence, therefore, that thoroughgoing socialists are so at ease with policies and dogmas (e.g., abortion rights and evolutionary anthropology) that similarly reduce human being to a merely material activity. It's also no coincidence that socialist politicians like Barack Obama (or the crypto-socialist "moderates" who wear the Republican label) adopt and comfortably practice the cynical "power politics" described and recommended by contemporary political and social pseudo-sciences. Like the Marxist materialism from which it is derived, such socialism has no place for serious considerations of justice or rights as essential constituents of legitimacy. Power establishes justice, and rights have no meaning except as defined in the context of the result the wielders of power aim to achieve.
Advertisement - story continues below
Obviously, with so little regard for individual justice once the juggernaut of power begin to move, it would seem especially critical to make sure that socialist objectives correspond to some understanding of justice before it is mobilized. But where the premise of natural right has been discarded, what transcendent rule of justice remains to inform that understanding? Empty concepts of change, progress and hope may inspire mass support long enough to consolidate power, but they offer neither goals nor a basis for evaluating them. Popular support may be cited to justify sweeping legislation, but when individuals fall prey to abusive popular passions, the whims of the people extend no sanctuary to their goods or their lives.
Though I think few of Obama's supporters realized and intended it, the Obama faction's ambitious socialist transformation requires the abandonment of the basic concepts of rights and of limitations on government abuse that at least allowed individuals the opportunity to make a stand against abusive power. Once the transformation has taken place, all will come to know what it means to be stripped of the safeguards we have been able to take for granted. It will be a harsh awakening, and too late.