When Rights Become Political Spoils
The first amendments to the Constitution, contained within a Bill of Rights intended to protect us from the dark side of our rulers' human nature, contain some of our most basic and important freedoms. Without them, we are merely inmates in whatever institution the elected decide to construct around us. At the risk of oversimplification, the Bill of Rights tells the elected that their designs have limits, which we consider sacred as deriving from God and not man.
On their own, those articulated rights are the model of clarity and simplicity. However, because they apply to all, and convey no preference or advantage to classes or sects, they are unacceptable to some. They must be rewritten and ultimately replaced by what is more agreeable to those who resent having their grand designs thwarted by long-dead geniuses. As the left is wont to do, they have set about not to entirely dissolve the protections of the Bill of Rights, but to unilaterally assume the role of arbiter, to constrict the meaning of the language of the Bill of Rights, and to decide to whom those rights will be awarded and from whom they will be taken. To fail to see their belief in the government's ownership of rights, and its entitlement to dispense them only to their faithful adherents, is to entirely miss a significant part of the left's end-game. Rights are prizes for loyal followers.
When the left opines on rights, it is never to preserve those that were specifically to be protected to the benefit of all. They consider those to be defective. Instead, they act to nullify established rights that make all equal, and to impose new ones specifically designed to advance themselves. The left likes and protects only rights that serve the agenda. Similarly, only laws that advance their agenda, or do not actively impede it, are deserving of enforcement. In other words, we are, or will soon be, a nation in which laws only apply against the opposition, or in favor of the faithful. As the left stacks benches and courts with high priests of the faith, what would be called a "Qadi" in Sharia law, the worst is yet to come.
Like a Qadi, the left's judges are thoroughly indoctrinated in the theology of the left. A Catholic can no more be a cleric in Iran than a conservative, or even a purely neutral jurist, can be a federal judge appointed by this president. Those who do not adhere to the tenets of the faith need not apply. By consciously appointing only those who adhere to the radicalism of the ruler, the judicial branch of our government becomes, in effect, merely an extension of the executive branch. It is the enforcement branch of the enforcement branch, where every outcome is guaranteed to contain the necessary leftward bias of the king, who is keeper of the progressive faith. At that point, rights cease being neutral things which benefit all equally, and become goodies to be handed out or snatched from the citizenry, depending on one's politics. When only one outcome advances the agenda, there will be no mystery to the result.
Of course, the left seeks the governmental triumvirate. While they have very effectively neutered the legislative branch by the transformation of the executive into a king, and the courts into his henchmen, they still are taking no chances with Congress, notwithstanding their recent self-inflicted wounds. In order to enable the king and his courts to fully seal the deal, Congressional leftists in both parties, along with their PACs and financiers, partake in a perpetual assault on personal liberties and freedom. The First and Second Amendments are particular targets. The White House has already eradicated the Fourth, courtesy of the NSA. Of course, progressives don't call these efforts "attacks", but "reform."
The taking of rights is always disguised as necessary for a common good. In the name of what we now know to be fraudulent health-care reform, the Democrats willfully violated the First Amendment prohibition on the free exercise of religion. After all, what is religion but a matter of conscience? Because Obamacare criminalizes the exercise of conscience in contradiction to its mandates, it is per se an infringement of the First Amendment. The president believes so strongly in this prohibited infringement that he has forced a case all the way to the Supreme Court, where several Qadi have been waiting. Although the First Amendment, as written, prevents the president from creating new rights as prizes for his followers by divesting others of their right of conscience, he knows that his Qadi will do what he sent them there to do.
Freedom of speech, in the age of new media, is particularly vexatious to this president. Thus, his followers have proposed "media shield" laws that protect only those whom the left defines as acceptable "journalists." That is, only they who are already members of the faith, and who accept the role they are required to play, would receive the king's blessing of free, i.e. non-opposition, speech. All others would be vulnerable to the zeal of the king's enforcers, operating without fear of retribution. Indeed, there already exist other cultures in our modern world within which the state religion and law are fused, where speech against the doctrine is actually punishable by death. Perhaps it is a matter of degree, or maybe just of time.
The right of peaceable assembly, we have seen, is a function of the president's whim and caprice. If he unilaterally decides that those he loathes should not assemble, for instance at the World War II Memorial or in national parks, then they shall not. However, if at the exact same time his beloved followers wish to gather on public land, using public funds, to protest immigration laws that the king and his enforcers find distasteful, they shall be rewarded with rights that have been denied to others.
The right to petition for a redress of grievance has become laughable. Indeed, as the IRS so clearly demonstrated, to hold a differing viewpoint will subject some to mistreatment and damage at the heavy hand of government. However, if the redress sought must be petitioned and obtained from the same people at the root of the grievance, the right is meaningless. Add to that the fact that the decision is likely to be made by a Qadi, and the outcome is assured. Rights are for those who profess and obey the faith.
The holy grail, of course, is the Second Amendment. Of all the amendments after the first, each of which is profoundly important, this one is second for a reason. Without it, the right of the citizens to meaningfully stand against a tyrant and his followers who infringe or falsely rescind the other unalienable rights will disappear. The right of a people to defend itself is the last bulwark of freedom. Thus, to the left it is the most offensive, and the most dangerous of all. As such, that right has been openly under attack for 30 years. If it falls, so do the rest, quickly and without the cover of incrementalism.
Coupled with the realization that our self-appointed king has decided that rights are political gifts, we have recently come to understand that there are military officers whose politics suggest they stand ready to carry out whatever infringement the president may illegally order, particularly as to the Second Amendment. We cannot predict what our nation will look like in three more years, but the risk is that by then we may no longer be able to speak about it, write about it, protest about it, or defend ourselves against those who have much worse in store. The rescission of dissenters' rights is not the end of the process. It is merely the beginning.