Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ex Cathedra in retrograde

Having seen the havoc wrought in the wake of the various "rights" movements, I have become suspicious of any such talk.

Example, a blogger refers to a section from the autobiography of Bernard Lewis, the noted expert on Islam and the Middle East.

He tells of being invited to a conference on the subject of toleration. When it was his turn at the rostrum, he said — I’m paraphrasing — “Toleration is one thing, but we should be speaking of what men and women are due by rights.” The conference organizer quickly and humbly agreed.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Big huge mistake. No.

When toleration morphs into "rights", in a Western society, the minorities will eventually rule and "tolerance" will morph into "mandatory celebration and embrace". The "rights" of tiny groups have shown themselves, in such polities, to be quite capable of unseating and sidelining, even pathologizing, the culture, values and habits of great majorities. The word itself becomes like a trance-inducing drug and a pious cover for power grabs. And all sorts of new "rights" appear and proliferate, because it is only when some desideratum of some group becomes a "right" that it can be assured of achievement. No "right" can be denied, so in order to assure satisfaction, all desires must become "rights."  And these are not the kind of rights referred to by the 10th amendment, which was designed to limit the Federal government's intrusion into any sphere beyond its constitutional bounds, not to make it a "rights" manufacturing and imposition business.

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