After having established that we have Second Amendment rights and that there is nothing that President Obama is doing that will affect those rights, but that there are certain categories of people who we decide are not entitled to those rights – the mentally ill, felons – at about the 30s mark in the video (h/t Breitbart TV), Attorney General Eric Holder advises us that President Obama has asked him to look at the list of those not entitled to Second Amendment rights and to see if that list needs to be expanded.
Thus, we all have Second Amendment rights, except for those categories of people which President Obama and Eric Holder determine are not entitled to such rights.
You see, I trust, the logical problem: if one becomes entitled to rights by the decision of a ruling authority, they are no longer rights in any meaningful sense of the term; they are, instead, privileges granted to the recipients by that authority.
I am particularly interested in hearing from our legalistic MI (or, for that matter, our lawyer Wired Sisters) on this logical collision, and I personally am more interested in hearing from MI in a particular manner: more than any clerical collection of legal citations, I would like his own reasoned opinion of how this collision comes to be accepted as logical within the legal mind. I don’t dispute that we do live in a situation where ostensible rights can nonetheless be administratively apportioned, I am more curious as to how those who deal in this contradictory logic as nevertheless accomplished law have come to accept it as logical and meaningful.
It is also no leap to the obvious: this peculiarity can equally be applied to any rights and determinations of entitlement to them at all: the right not to be a chattel, the right to reproduce, and so forth.
Others are of course welcome to address this collision of meanings as well.
Update: Allow me to broaden the contextual field a bit to facilitate perception and discussion.
It is logically impossible for rights qua rights to be bestowed externally or incrementally; that is the definition of a privilege, not a right.
However, it is logically possible to remove a citizen, physically or otherwise, wholesale from the social universe in which rights remain as rights for all; in this case, rights themselves have not been denatured into privilege, it is the unfortunate individual alone who has been denatured into a creature for whom, for however long, rights no longer obtain – but this would also imply a wholesale, not a selective, removal of the individual from the realm of rights.
It is also possible for a society to speak boldly and idealistically of rights wholesale and then as a matter of less taxing behavior immediate settle wholesale more comfortably into a lesser, more attenuated condition. One can, for example, easily imagine a society in which everyone nobly claims that a woman has an absolute right to say “No” to sex she does not want and then promptly shrugs off all but the more egregious transgressions. This is the social hypocrisy of societies whose idealistic reach exceeds their grasp, but it does not necessarily have to obtain universally from inception.
Instead, it is possible for there to be societies where rights originally really do exist as rights universally but where repeated, tiny, discrete incremental compromises in law year after year in collective sum allow the concept of rights to mutate degeneratively into the concept of privilege, no differently than successive micro incremental gene changes allow the transformation of one organism into an entirely different one. In the end, the citizens still point proudly to their attenuated privileges and call them rights, and they are happy with them; for them, they are rights.
Thus, we can find ourselves in our times feeling quite naturally that our contemporary concept of rights as privilege is perfectly natural, more progressively evolved, and that by comparison a society which actually believed in rights qua rights and strictly ordered itself accordingly must appear to us by contrast not to be an unmutated state of original health but rather a rough, brutish, atavistic, primitive precursor to civilization.
To my mind, this is what the evolution/devolution of an 18th Century political democratic republic into a 21st Century apolitical mass society would resemble.
Can a 300 million person mass of humans even be a democratic republic? Or must it necessarily become a different thing entirely?
Again, your thoughts, within this context more broadly cast beyond just Eric Holder and the Second Amendment.
Update 2: I’m sorry, that fucking autoplay advertisement leading the Breitbart video was driving me nuts and had to go. Follow the link this time.
H. M. Stuart