Here Thar Be Monsters!

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The Fine Columbian

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, strange week it's been.

Hitler's birthday passed relatively quiet.  In years past, there have been an inordinate number of big events around this particular date, including significant space events, Waco, Columbine, the BP Gulf of Mexico slaughter, and many others.

I was watching for some kind of marker, since They seem to be obsessed with celebrating this day.  At first, I though it was going to be one of the off-years, but then it happened...

Think about the archetypes involved here: the SS was caught in a scandal in South America involving Bolivian marching powder and little brown honeys.  SS?  South America?  Oh, that was just too rich!  They've gotten much more subtle now.  And it's hard to deny the tie between the two SSs.  Hitler's SS wore black uniforms and part of their job was to be his personal guard.  The Obama's SS wear black suits and part of their job is to do the same.

The delicious irony, too.  In the same week as the SS scandal, they were busily interrogating Ted Nugent about some of his comments regarding Obama's imminent re-election.  As if those black suits have any credibility left...  Next thing you know, they'll write off the scandal as an undercover investigation of drug and prostitution rings in Cartagena.  Bet me.

Another interesting event was the media getting caught with their propaganda pants down.  Looking at how media phrase things.  North Korea launched a missile that could "hit the US".  Iran's missiles are always talked about in terms of their ability to "hit Israel".  Then, India shows up with a missile that can "hit Beijing".

They never just give a range, or mention that any missile that can reach Earth orbit can hit anything anywhere on the planet.  They always give specific targets, though there are thousands of possible targets within the missiles range.  Of course, if the particular country being discussed is the US itself or a close ally, then the missiles just have a range, or can be used to launch satellites, both relatively benign statistics.  You never hear, "The US tested a missile today that can level Moscow from Kansas.

It's all in the wording, and most people aren't critical of such things.  It's like those computer-generated photos in which the picture elements themselves are other pictures.  In other words, it's not the message, but how the message is composed that is the message.  One of those fun ponders for an afternoon of primo and scotch, eh?

Here's another good ponder for you.  What is aperson?  Dorights really exist?  And why is it so important to take God out of the public sphere?

Talk about a brain bomb.

The easiest part to dispose of, ironically, is God.  Everyone runs around talking about their "God-given rights."  Most of the thinking in the Enlightenment period was about Natural Rights and where they come from and who backs them up.  It always came down to appeal to a higher power in order to enforce rights  Every human has natural rights, because they are 'endowded by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.'  By the way, the root of 'unalienable' is 'lien', not 'alien'.  You can't put a lien on the rights or sign them away.

At any rate, if you take God out of the picture, then the author of the rights disappears and the conversation then turns to, "What rights?"  As George Carlin said very well, there are no rights.  No such thing.  Completely made up.  If there were Natural Rights, there would be no need to defend them.  The rights would be self-defending and apparent, like having ten fingers and ten toes.

This is why the Framers of the US Constitution backed up their assertion of Natural Rights with the right to keep and bear arms.  When it comes down to it, the only rights you or I have are those which we are willing to defend with lethal force.  Obviously, those who want to take away our rights are willing to use lethal force to do so, so it stands to reason that an equal response is called for here.

In other words, free speech is limited by folks willing to shoot you to shut you up, so you must be willing to shoot them to maintain your 'right'.  Ergo, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, which backs up all those pretty 'rights' with the 'legal' ability to shoot anyone who would take them away.  Of course, it says 'keep and bear arms', not buy and stockpile ammunition, so your rights end when the ammo supply runs out.

The final ponder is 'person'.  What is a 'person'?  Most Western law defines 'person' as EITHER an individual, or a collective acting in concert as if an individual.  This seemingly simple concept is the reason why corporations are treated as 'persons' having 'rights' under the law.  It is the origin of the 'corporate veil', in which only the collective can be punished, not the individuals behind it.

Since you can't throw a corporation in jail, the only other way to punish a concept is financial sanction.  Therefore, the worst thing you can do to a collective is to take away its profit, or some part thereof.

But how did all this come about?  After all, in our common speech, a person is just an individual human being using a non-gendered, non-specific term.

Interestingly, the origin of this concept of 'person' comes from the medieval Roman church.  Theologians took a close look at two New Testament concepts: the Church itself and the line, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there too am I."  In other words, a group of people in common purpose constitutes a 'church', which is a singular entity supposedly more than the sum of its parts.

And here is how we got to the term 'person'.  It originally came from the Greek phersu, which was the mask worn by actors on stage...the classic image of comedy and tragedy.  In Latin, it became persona, meaning human being, on so on.  

In philosophy, a person represented the irreducible being that couldn't be defined by its parts, because the whole was more than a set of functions.  A human being could not be defined as the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, and lymphatic systems, nor could the human being be defined by the collection of mental and physical processes within an individual.  Even though we all have the same basic parts and functions, we are completely unique individuals, therefore we are more than the sum of our parts, therefore we are 'persons'.  Even persons are described as individuals...'unable to divide' any further without destroying the whole.

The Church was seen as being more than the sum of the beings who joined to create it.  A pope could die and another get elected, but the whole continued uninterrupted.  In this way, the collective was seen to be a macro version of the individual human being.  It existed on a plane above the collection of parts that constituted it.

By extension, something like McDonald's cannot be defined by the individuals who make up the corporate entity.  The CEO can retire or die, and another steps in, but the collective continues without interruption.  If you swap out the PhD flipping burgers with a high school drop-out doing the same job, it makes no difference to the 'person' of McDonald's.

Just like when one of your skin cells dies and is replaced by another.  You don't feel different,  You don't behave different.  You simply continue on as if nothing had happened.  In the same way, if you cut off an arm, the 'person' that is you does not change because of it.  'You' are more than the sum of your parts and functions.  You are a 'person'.

With all that said, where does that leave us?

Basically, we looked at Nature and saw that we humans were complete Universes within ourselves.  We were indivisible and individual.  Therefore, we were in the same image as God, who was also indivisible and individual.  We came to see ourselves as part of the creative process in this way.  If a group of us got together to perform a function, then that collective became a 'person' that we created by virtue of our joining in common cause.  Furthermore, we ascribed 'rights' to 'persons'.  

As images of God, we were endowed with 'rights' that were previously only given to kings in their function as the 'person' of the State.  If we are all 'persons' who are co-creators and perfect images of God, then we all have the same 'rights' as the king.  Thus, we are all kings (the sovereign individual movement).

In the end, however grand our reasoning and philosophies, we have no basic Natural Rights.  You claim to right to property, but I can steal it just as easily.  You claim the right to speak, but I can silence you in a dozen different ways.  You claim the right to privacy, but that's only a good as no one else listening.  Ultimately, the only rights you and I have are the ones for which we are willing to kill.  Anything short of that is not a right.  It is a civil privilege that lasts only as long as the majority respects the laws on which the privileges are founded.

In the final analysis, all that we hold dear is founded on a single, savage act.  As proof, I offer the sum total of human history, in which millions have died to secure or take away various rights.  If these rights were in fact God-given, there would be no need to kill to protect them, and in fact, there would be no need to kill to determine whose God is more powerful.

When we strip away all the centuries of rhetoric, there is only a human being who is a 'person', individual and indivisible.  Just like Dick Cheney.  You can swap out hearts, and even give him mechanical organs, and he's still the same mean, bitter old fool who shoots his friends in the face.

So, what does it all mean?  It means it's time from more primo and scotch!

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