Pedestrians who cross the street sometimes step in front of a moving vehicle, just because they have the right of way. As if they were thinking "I have the right of way, it gives me the right to step in front of your car, and make you wait 15 seconds while I take my sweet time ambling across the road". Never mind that they expect your car to defy the laws of physics and stop in time; never mind that the laws of physics trump human laws every time.
New York City tried to install coin-operated toilets on the sidewalks to address the odor you often smell around the city. However, a disabled-group activist sued the city to force them to use large, wheelchair accessible toilets. You see, the "physically challenged", have the "right" to be "treated like normal people". NYC ran a trial, using both types of toilets. They found that the regular toilets were heavily used, while the wheelchair friendly toilets were barely used; they were much more expensive, would be out of the City's budget, as they could not charge a fee to help it pay for itself. In court, the city tried to make their case. In the end, neither the court nor the wheelchair activist budged, and the city then decided not to install any toilets at all. I don't see the score as "disabled people 1, regular people 0", rather, it's "0-0" Would it really be a "point against the disabled", if he had let the city install regular toilets? toilets? Why does he think that life is a zero sum game? That if the "other side gets ahead" it means "I lost"?
The wheelchair activist felt he exercised his group's rights. I will turn it around and ask.. "What about the 'right' of normal people to have a city that doesn't smell of urine? What about the 'right' of normal people to have toilets around"?
This horror story, and many more, are chronicled in the book "The Death of Common Sense". Author Philip K. Howard discusses how Group Rights came about:
The last section of Howard's book explores the "rights revolution," where government has become "like your rich uncle under your personal control" and everyone now gets to be a part of a legally-mandated, discriminated-against minority. As rights weaken the lines of authority in our society, the walls of responsibility - such as how a teacher manages a classroom - have begun to crumble. We want government to solve social ills, but distrust it to do so. Congress has resolved this dilemma by using rights to transfer governmental powers to special interest groups. The result has not been bringing excluded groups into society, but rather has become the means of getting ahead in society. Howard makes the distinction that, "The rights that are the foundation of this country are rights against law. In James Madison's words, the Constitution provides for 'protection of individual rights against all government encroachments, particularly by the legislature.' Rights - freedom of speech, property rights, freedom of association - were to be the antidote against any new law that impinged on those freedoms."
In this way, Howard finds that we have confused power with freedom. These new legislative rights aren't rights at all, no matter how righteous they sound. "They are blunt powers masquerading under the name of rights." He says we need to consider how these new rights impinge on what others consider to be their own freedoms. The flip side of the coinage of the new rights regime is called coercion.
In the paper recently, I read about a Black comedian who came up with a comedy routine along the lines of "What it means to be Black". This was a result of some other Black celebrity or writer accusing him of "not being a real Black", because the comedian had said in an interview that he didn't like rap music nor "large SUV's with chrome rims".
Like the comedian, I find the accusation laughable. It however, is a symptom of a society that likes to label or box people.
Am I [insert race here], or a [insert profession here], or [insert sexual orientation here], or [Liberal/Conservative], or [Republican/Democrat] ? I find the question "Are you a Republican or a Democrat" the most absurd of all.
I personally like to make friends, and identify with, people that share the same interests and hobbies as me, and have the same mindset and attitude.
Ayn Rand has said that the smallest minority is the individual. The Constitution guarantees the individual's rights to "Life, Liberty". Nothing about conferring additional, or new rights, to groups or subgroups.
Ron Paul has said, http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul381.html
"Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist."
"All initiation of force is a violation of someone else's rights, whether initiated by an individual or the state, for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals, even if it's supposed to be for the benefit of another individual or group of individuals."
The Constitution protects the individual's rights to "Life, liberty", and "the pursuit of happiness". The latter, as long as it doesn't impinge on others' rights to life and liberty. And arguably, the right to enjoy the fruits of one's labor (e.g. wages with no taxation). It does NOT give the individual the right to a job, a home, a car, health care, nor a toilet if one is "physically challenged".