The Gross National Debt

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Equal rights, just say no

Lemme make this clear from the start. There is a great divide between equal opportunity and equal result. I'm focusing tonight on equal opportunity.

Just say no.

A person much wiser than I said, Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Lemme throw some ideas at you on this "equal opportunity" thing.

My home state, Georgia, is pretty f'danging easy when it comes to getting a state-approved permit to tool down the highway. Admittedly, it's been a while since I had to get mine done. But the only medical issue I can remember is about eyesight. "Canya see the little numbers and letters? Cool. Look here and don't blink and that'll be $35 please." I have a commercial driver's license with some add-on permits, so mine costs more.

So based on this and based on equal rights, can a person, call him Fred, who has several epileptic seizures a day get a driver's license for a private vehicle? Appears so. Of course, a court order can come down taking away Fred's right to hold a driver's license.

Well, f'dang. We're going to take away a right Fred has because of something he has zero control over.

"Baker, Fred is a danger to others on the road if he drives."

Hang on! We're talking about Fred. Don't be draggin' other people into this. Stick to Fred. No. Stick. To. Fred. We're looking at the rights of an individual.

"Well, Fred could have a wreck and kill himself."

So could you.

"But it's more likely Fred will do that."

So, Fred needs to be protected from himself by taking away one of his rights? Where are you gonna draw the line? How many other rights does Fred have to give up because his brain is literally wired a bit wrong in places?

Fred can't get a commercial license, cause there's a medical exam involved. If the sawbones says no, you don't get the license.

In a thread on my FB page, Rebel brought up the issue of his nephew and my son Jesse. He asked, point blank, if I felt Jesse should not have equal rights.


Lemme make this clear - Jesse should not have equal rights, and by that I mean equal opportunity, the same as the rest of us.

Jesse might be able to pass the driver's license test. Someone would have to read the questions to him. This is allowed under Georgia law. Given some time and lots of time behind the wheel, he could probably pass the driver's part of the test.

He does not need to be behind the wheel.

Some other things? M'kay.

He doesn't need to serve on a jury.

He's got no business holding elected office (albeit he might do better than our current crop of elected reprehensibles at that).

He should not be allowed to use an arc or mig welder, an acetylene torch and so forth.

Jesse's cognitive ability is such that he should not be allowed to do a bunch of things, even if it is his right.

Let's put this on physical ability too. He should not be allowed to play contact sports. He has a medical condition with the vertebrae of his neck. Get hit hard enough, broken neck. He knows this, because we've told him often enough, but I wonder if he truly grasps the concept. I doubt it.

BUT! As my Libertarian and libertarian friends (and some liarberals and cantservatives are now stomping their feet in indignation) say, adults should be allowed to engage in risky behavior. Yep. I agree.

IF, and on that tiny word can hang a universe of possibilities, if they do so of their own volition. Even Jesse. Should he suddenly develop the urge to try out for the Semi-Pro football team one town south of here and it is 100 percent his own decision...

But we run right back to his cognitive abilities. Jesse doesn't process the same way people without his disability can. To 'splain, he can be too easily led to do things against his best interest and he won't realize it. Could he be convinced to try out for the football team? I think so. Is it illegal to try to convince him to try out for the football team?

Nope. What we have here is a serious case of gray in a world that demands black & white.

Lemme get hypothetical on you, or as Hawgin' says, "Great, He's fixin' to make something up." Jesse is charged with a criminal offense, the Constitution guarantees the right to trial by a jury of his peers. Yes, the Supreme Court has ruled that people to have to be mentally competent enough to stand trial. So much for equal rights!

Does a person need the ability to understand a right in order to exercise it? If you demand equal rights and equal opportunity, you may not vacillate. Yes or no. No maybes here, no fence sitting. Waffling is something done at the Wapple House (as we call it) out by the Interstate. If you demand absolutes, then absolutes you shall be served.

If the person is not competent, they can be confined, against their will anyway. Bye bye equal rights.

Going back to Jesse, I am as certain as I can be of anything that, given enough time, Jesse could be convinced to commit rather heinous deeds. He wouldn't understand the ramifications. Should he still be held accountable for this? Equality and equal rights says, if he does it, he pays the consequences. You can say that the mentally incompetent do not have to stand trial, but I remind you (again) they can still be effectively incarcerated without trial. I also remind you, this is not equal rights (equal opportunity) in the absolute sense of the word.

It can be argued that this actually protects the rights of such an individual.

Depriving a person of the ability to make his own choices protects his rights? Really? How novel a concept.

"Baker, we're not depriving him of that right."

Really? Could have fooled me. But hey, I have been wrong before and could be wrong here.

Certainly, there is something in this Saturday night post I'm missing. I feel it. Serious, missing something important. I can't figure out what it is and it is annoying me. Not sure if it will cement hat I'm saying here or wreck it. Help me out, please.


  1. Did i mention that the people who run this site desperately need to be brutally killed (very slowly) and laughed at as they die screaming?

    Let's start again. First, sorry i didn't send this comment sooner, but in addition to being compelled to edjamakate my young 'uns as to the subtle nuances of the Mad Max trilogy, after taking them to see Fury Road; i also find myself having to retype in my entry, since, apparently, you need to make your "comment as" selection prior to putting in your comment (good thing they put that selection below the comment box), else the text in the comment block gets erased.
    Anyway, not quite sure what you're getting at here, Ben. Are you saying i have the right to convince a 5 year old to hang on to a lit stick of dynamyte because look how pretty and sparkly the end of the fuse is? Part of the problem is you start talking about "equal opportunity", then segway into "equal rights", but i'm guessin' you are mainly dealing with the issue of equal rights, since that seems to be what the bulk of your commentary is about. But even taking that into account, there's still the question: are you talking about actual (i.e. inalienable) rights or are you talking those rights that the gubmint deigns to allow us to exercise, provided we pay the appropriate fee, and hev the paperwork on our persons? There's nothing to stop someone from barrelin' down the road at 90 mph ('cept maybe that state trooper hunkered down in the median). The license just lets you do it with less trouble from the authorities. But lets pull back bit, 150 years ago, there weren't any cars. Did you need a license to drive a horse? Or to drive cattle (where's the clutch on this thing?)? I can't say for sure, but i'm thinkin' not. So i think you need to figure what you're really writing about: equal opportunity, equal rights, or the rights that law purportedly allow us to exercise. In closing, i'll leave you with what my Uncle Lou used to say after offering his opinion: "That and a token will get you on the subway."


    1. "I'm focusing tonight on equal opportunity." ER and EO are therefore interchangeable in this piece.

      I did say that I'm missing something in this piece and still have not figured it out.

    2. OK, guess you're going with the rights the powers that be deign to allow us to exercise or allow us to have the opportunity to exercise, provided we pay the appropriate fee, and have the paperwork on our persons. Please note the opportunity to exercise said right is therefore already not equal, since you have to have the cash available to pay the fee. Case in point: one of the adult leaders in my sons' scout troop has a Thompson, yeah, a real one (inherited, i believe, one does not ask too many questions of a man with a Thompson in his hands). However, he does not have the excess disposable income to foot the bill for the paperwork for a weapon that is fully automatic (still REALLY fun to shoot, though), therefore this noble device exists in a state of semi-assembly, but for the want of sufficient samolians to afford the owner the opportunity to use it as it was intended.

      So, on the basis of economics alone, there is no equal opportunity to exercise any "rights" or "opportunities" that require fees of any kind.

    3. Strictly on economics, I agree. However, this was not a post strictly about economics. You have given me an idea for another post


Hi. I welcome lively debate. Attack the argument. Go after a person in the thread, your comments will not be posted.