Saturday, July 9, 2011

Speaking of Freedom: Right vs Rights

The Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,...

Greetings Patriots,
Our next meeting will be on July 16th, 10-2 at The Church of The Open Door in Macon . Our topic will be "Medical Emergency Preparedness". Rumor has it there will be an EMT on hand to share some invaluable knowledge with us. As usual, we will share a meal and the great fellowship we so look forward to at each meeting. Bring a dish and join us.

Also, there will be a legislative workshop in Jefferson City on July 23rd at which participants will be able to learn how the legislative process works and interact with legislators and others with an eye toward getting involved. It is free and open to the public and will be held in the Capitol Rotunda from 10:30 AM until noon, 1 hr for lunch and then from 1 PM-4 PM that afternoon. More details will follow but I hope you will plan on attending and that you will encourage your friends, family and neighbors to do so as well.

Having gotten the announcements out of the way, I am going to address something in the rest of this post that some may find controversial. But I believe very strongly in what I am sharing here so I feel compelled to write this. Of course no one is under any compulsion to agree with what I write, but I would appreciate it if, whether you do or do not, you would let me know what you think.

"This Constitution is intended for a moral and religious people and is wholly inadequate for the governance of any other."

America was predicated on the idea that "We the People" could and would do what is right because it is right, as John Adams so succinctly stated in the above quote. Today most people seem to have bought into the notion that America is all about "rights". Some might suggest that to make such a distinction amounts to splitting hairs. That it is a distinction without a difference. I believe it is the distinction that makes all the difference.

Today in America it is almost impossible to pass a day without hearing of someone who is suing someone else claiming their "rights" have been violated. Question: Can one "demand" their rights and do what is right? Sometimes. And, if so, great. But I would suggest that most often it is not possible to do so. Example: If you spill hot coffee on yourself, is it right to make someone else pay you a million dollars?

Ads for attorneys who will get for you what you "deserve" and "have a right to" make it all sound so good and noble. This can be a very seductive argument. Ironically, most of the time, when an appeal is made to "rights", it is not really a right at all. Not the kind the Founders were talking about in the Declaration. Not the inherent, unalienable kind that our Constitution was designed to protect. Like life and liberty. Those are granted by God and all people are endowed with them, regardless.

I am not saying we should do away with the ability to seek remuneration for damages. I am saying we should use it judiciously, wisely and rightly, understanding that a big settlement is not the proverbial pot of gold it is cracked up to be. The sad part is that even if one does "hit the jackpot" it does not provide the "happiness" expected, as so many lottery winners can attest.

In contrast, doing what is right because it is right is the avenue by which true riches come. It is it's own reward. Not only is this fulfilling on a personal and temporal level, it also benefits all of society in the now and is the way one lays up treasure for eternity in heaven, the kind which cannot be stolen or destroyed. Riches don't change one's heart or attitude. They reveal them for what they are. It is far better in my view to accept your lot in life as from God, like Job did, than to try to punish someone else for our "misfortunes".

In the end there is only one way to guarantee peoples rights and that is for people to do what is right, i.e., follow The Golden Rule. America's demise is the direct result of our having lost sight of this truth. Our beloved country is on the brink of utter collapse by self-destruction and you and I, We the People, not government, are the only ones who have the power to set things right.

This is the essence of true patriotism: "One citizen at a time, doing what is right because it is right, day by day." It is at once both that simple and that difficult. I thank God that we are not alone in this struggle . We have each other and the One who will, in His time and timing, set all things right. See you in the trenches!

Richard Cochran, President
Macon County Patriots
July 4, 2011

PS: I ran across this quote from Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the US Senate from 1947-1949, as I was about to publish this post and am including it here.
The choice before us is plain: Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration. I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American citizens. The time has come-it is now-when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship. America's future depends upon her accepting and demonstrating God's government.

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