Filtering by Tag: NOV2014

Are Individual Rights Equal?

It's Friday night, so it's once again time for a thought to ponder for the weekend.

According to this article, roughly twenty percent of Americans had a "diagnosable mental illness in 2013," with people in the 29-45 age group pushing that up to nearly twenty-two percent.  However, the article also states that "in about three-fourths of mental illness cases, symptoms do not significantly interfere with a person’s life."

Now, with many pushing for "common sense gun control" to include disqualifiers for mental illness diagnoses, that means that somewhere between 16 and 18 percent of Americans who lead otherwise perfectly normal lives would be denied their second amendment protections.

The question to consider is whether individual rights are individual rights - freedoms guaranteed to the individual and reserved against government intrusion, regardless of what that freedom protects. 

Should diagnosis or treatment of "mental illness" be a disqualifier from your freedom of speech or peaceable assembly?  Should it invalidate your choice of religion, including the choice to not follow one?  Should it disqualify you from being able to petition our government for redress of grievances?

Should seeking treatment for depression or post-traumatic stress disorder leave you unprotected against warrantless search and seizure of your property and effects?  Should you be vulnerable to self-incrimination or lose your right to due process? 

For that matter, should an accusation - not an arrest nor a conviction - of domestic violence result in the suspension of your right to vote?

If the answer is no to  any of them, what makes it "okay" to restrict a citizen's Second Amendment rights on the very same grounds?  If it is true that each of our Constitutional rights is the equal of the others, why would a precedent accepted as "reasonable grounds" to limit one not be applied to the rest?

Tread carefully before supporting notions that limit our freedoms, even when those notions sound reasonable or well-intentioned.  Whatever the argument for restriction may be, mentally apply its standards to the other protections we hold dear before passing judgement.

And while you're at it, you may wish to also recall the words of Daniel Webster:

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."