The Shameful Self-serving Myth of American Exceptionalism

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“I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. We have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional…. I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we can’t solve these problems alone.”

- Obama, 2009, overseas trip

” I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.”

- Putin, NYT Op-Ed, September 11, 2013

“America is an exceptional nation – that is, one like no other, not just now but in history – because it is dedicated to the universal principle of human liberty. This is grounded in the truth that all men – not just Americans – are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights by their Creator.”

- Jim DeMint, Heritage Foundation President

DeMint’s “interpretation” (which is a rather strange way of putting it) only shows he’s either ignorant of history or he hopes his fellow citizens are. And it’s not in any way “valid” because it isn’t the truth. Not that politicians would have any truck with that curiously strange thing called the “truth,” you know. It seems the main thing the USA is “exceptional” is self-delusion. Oh, and toppling other countries who won’t do what we want.”

- Darryl Thomas, blogger

Why all the hubbub over such a seemingly inconsequential and dusty term which hardly anyone outside the halls of academia has ever heard? Well, because the news agencies and the political wonks need something to talk about. First, Obama referenced it in his national speech about the possible military involvement into Iraq’s neighbor, Syria. Then Russian President Putin fired an op-ed in the New York Times cautioning the US about being too quick to assume an “exceptional” national identity. Then Texas congressman Jim DeMint chimed in defending the term with all the empty-headed enthusiasm of a Texas 8th grade  civics book. I had heard the term before, but it wasn’t a subject I ever thought I’d devote a blog towards, but here it is. Hope you like it.

Alright. American Exceptionalism. The term was first coined in print back in the Ben Franklin days of American History by the travel writer Alexis de Tocqueville. He used the term in a very narrow sense; America was exceptional in that it was totally different from any other place the well-travelled Tocqueville had visited. [1] For one, Tocqueville considered America to be far more religious than any country in Europe. It also had far more slaves than any country in Europe but that’s another story for another blog.

The idea has been bandied about and evolved over the past 260 years or so. The term was taken up again by the American Communists during the Jazz Age in the 1920′s. [2] It was used by the American Communists to describe their belief that the reason the socialist movement in America was failing to materialize and advance itself as much as it did in Europe was due to the economy of the times which were so favorable to the Capitalist state, and so it would take longer for the prophesied collapse to occur. In recent times, post-1960′s – the term was used among critical theorists and social scientists that either agreed or disagreed with the premise that America was somehow “qualitatively different from the rest of the nations in the world. Neoconservative and neoliberal politicians have latched on to it to assert America’s global hegemonic rights and powers, which the USA reserves for itself while denying it from other nations.

Now we are caught up. American Exceptionalism can be thought of as a politically religious or metaphysical concept that imbues one with a glowing nationalistic pride. That pride is undeserving because of the titanic mountain of evidence that rises up to meet it.

There are about five core ideas that make up the belief why America is so special. We Americans have been taught these things in various ways and through various means. They can be reduced to these:

LIBERTY

EGALITARIANISM

POPULISM

INDIVIDUALISM

CAPITALISM

None of these concepts have really been practiced on any sort of mass scale – at least not on any scale that didn’t involve requiring money. LIBERTY? Welcome to the nation with the largest disposable populace in the world. America has more people in jails and prisons than anywhere else in the world. Legal rights are being taken away and turned into “privileges” and subject to being overridden by “secret courts” that exist outside the normal boundaries of the law.

EGALITARIANISM? Well, it sure sounds nice. The different classes may not be openly enslaving people in sweatshops and having children making garments in factories (that’s what Asia is for), but since everything revolves around buying  and selling your survival to the next guy, equality is more like a faint outline of a nearly forgotten dream. Equality? People either fear it or don’t know what it means or care if it actually exists as long as they can get through the day without being hassled. That’s what the 21st Century has become.

POPULISM. Please. Half of the elected officials are millionaires working for billionaires. The American voter is typically uninformed and largely controlled through the media that pushes a narrow, slanted virtual reality that shapes a narrow, slanted world view which then the voter forms a narrow, slanted opinion which she will invariably confuse with factual evidence, yet nonetheless convince herself that she’s rational and only interested in reality. She hasn’t any idea that her responses have been programmed into her to become nothing more than a predictably passive consumer.

INDIVIDUALISM. Probably the biggest conceptual scam since reality TV. I have always found it odd that individualism is strangely accorded metaphysical status. It is a central tenet of the European and American Liberal tradition, so it’s had a long run and thus, has embedded itself into the national subconsciousness of the nations of the world. This tenet exists simply to provide a justifiable stance for predatory capitalism to exist and reach into every pocket, ironically. Individualism does not exist unless it exists within the system, to which one has no choice but to submit.

CAPITALISM. Or its 21st Century version, casino capitalism, which is a kindest word ever given to slavery. The chains are not made of iron, but of metaphysical zeros and ones spinning in existential data servers across the globe. There’s no liberty outside of capitalism, only a certain liberty within the system. Which isn’t a liberty at all, but more a submission to the soft cryptoauthoritarianism that destroys lives the world over.

Right. I could go into how taken together, these planks that make up the conceptual platform of American Exceptionalism can be shown to not be all that “exceptional” and downright self-deceptive. And dangerous, if politicians become too enamored of its cache and use it to justify American dominance across the world. Besides, this myth is used to cover a multitudes of lies.

I believe it is the tropes of the US standing for the “principle of equality” and “the principle of human liberty,”as DeMint’s letter puts it, are two clearly defined statements that can be easily rebutted because of that new thing the kids call history. You know, when you add in all that slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and second-class status for anyone who wasn’t a white male landowner – not to mention various genocides and invasions and assassinations of other citizens and democratically elected leaders in other countries that were no threat to America, one has to be self-deluded, grossly ignorant or simply dishonest not to own up to the facts. The shameful legacy of human slavery alone stands as a valid rebuttal to the stated virtues of the “liberty” and “equality” that America allegedly stands for, no matter how much true believers would like to dismiss it.

How does that Biblical verse go… Let’s see… “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” And if that doesn’t work, try this on for size: “Actions speak louder than words.” Oh, and “Pride goeth before a fall?”

American exceptionalism is a self-serving myth.

As long as there exist “secret courts” that operate outside of the bounds of the Constitution (a document our politicians are likely to uphold as a shining example of “liberty and equality”) and so empties standing law of all meaning,  as long as you have the NSA that secretly spies – err.. “collects data” on its own Citizens and then sends that information to Israel, as long as we have the exceptional USA conducting surveillance on its own journalists, its own civil society, and its own ordinary citizens and refer to them as “adversaries” we are not all that exceptional. I know it’s unfair because it’s so easy to argue against American exceptionalism by emphasizing the catalog of evil that’s the legacy of this country. If one examines the example of U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua that killed some 30,000 Nicaraguans, one wouldn’t feel all that great about America’s exceptional role in the world.

NOTES

[1] American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. Seymour Martin Lipset. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc. 1996

[2]  Albert Fried, Communism in America: A History in Documents(1997), p. 7.

8/11/2013. The Big Man

That’s what I called Bernard. “The Big Man.” I liked to tell Andrea, “Can’t hang out with ya, hun. Gotta go into town with the Big Man.” It was due to the fact that when I first time I ever laid eyes on him I was surprised how large he looked. It was evening time, September 29, 2008. After being picked up at the airport I arrived in the darkness of night to the farm and strode through the front door of the main building. I had been invited to the farm by Bernard. I had only contacted him via email and chats on the Internet. On a whim, I decided to take him up on his offer. In an email to me he said, “You won’t want to leave.” I didn’t even know what the man looked like. It was strange that I was even on another continent placing my safety into the hands of a stranger.

Bald and stout, Bernard meets me inside the door. We embrace and then he takes me into the kitchen where he suggests that I would like some coffee. We exchange the polite, customary pleasantries. Bernard pulls out a cigarette and says, to no one in particular, “How long will Darryl continue to wait?” Bernard often asked questions that tended to freeze you in your tracks. I had a wonderful time there at the farm. I extended my stay.  By the time I left, which was months later than the 4 weeks I originally planned, the Big Man was not only my firm friend, he had also become an unbelievable example of unshakable integrity. He was right. I didn’t want to leave, but I felt it was time for me to go. And the night before I left he said, “When things get tough, don’t forget to breathe.”

Well, what do you know. Things got really tough when I returned Stateside.  Three days after staying with my best friends I was kicked me out onto the street in the dead of winter. I was afraid my truck would be impounded because my insurance lapsed. I spent the night in sub-freezing weather wondering how I would get through this ordeal, wondering what I had done to “deserve this.” I kept breathing. I survived. I was offered a place to stay until I could get back on my feet. I just had to move to North Carolina. Luckily, I had just enough cash to make the journey. But that episode did not fare too well, either, and I found myself back in Bernard’s living room once again. When he saw my haggard face (I’d been through a lot), he just grinned and offered me a cigarette.

The last time I saw Bernard was when dropped me off at the King Shaka airport,  August 4, 2010. Esteni was also there and we all embraced warmly as he said to me, “You will be back here in 5 years to stay.” And he smiled. It sounded like one of his ironclad promises. I turned and headed into the airport, fully expecting to see him again. But I heard the news today. Such a reunion is now impossible. Bernard’s gone. I heard this morning that it was a fatal heart attack.

I feel strangely quiet inside writing this, but it has been an awfully long day. Maybe I’m still in a bit of shock, maybe I’m just being calm.  Maybe it will hit me later. I’m sure there are many hugs and tears to go around. But life goes on. The Desteni Group lives on, and this Group will not wimp out or fragment or disappear. Sorry, haters, but the shit just got real.

Over the years, there has been many blogs that I have written that were pretty hard to write. While this isn’t one of those instances, I must confess that there’s an existential void Bernard left that is destined to be filled with our focus, determination, fearless purpose and integrity of the Desteni Group. Meeting, knowing  and living among so many Destonians makes this day a lot easier to walk through. To everyone on the farm; Esteni, Sunette, Andrea, Cerise, Leslie-John and all the others – I love you all. And I am grateful to have lived, worked, sweated and wondered on the land that existed under Bernard’s feet.

(From the Diary. There are so many stories about hanging out with Bernard that I could relate, and I may write about them later, but If there is one event from my time spent with the Big Man that encapsulates how my life was forever transformed, this would be as good as any).

October 7, 2008

LJ asked if I could help with the planting. I booted up and put on my Indiana Jones hat and made my way to the patch where the guys had plowed the day before. I’m given instructions by Fidelis on where and how to plant the seeds into one of the two plots that had been plowed. Okay, so this will be cool. I’m planting seeds into the dark earth. Watermelon, corn, squash, tomato. Rain had been falling over the past few days (it’s the raining season here in South Africa). But today was a good, warm day. The flying ants were out and the entire valley was buzzing with millions of the things. We planted into the afternoon and took a break to re-hydrate. Gian and Jesper jumped into the pool while I was playing with the dogs,  and I said to myself, “Yeah. Good idea.” The water was cold, but felt okay after a while.

Leslie-John called us back to the field and we planted more seeds into the earth.

After we were done, I returned to the house and sat in the lounge to cool off. I was feeling very frustrated for some unknown reason. Very frustrated. Slowly I came to see that I was frustrated with myself. I was so happy being in such a place where support and understandings were coming left and right. But it felt I wasn’t moving fast enough. What was it? I was still shaking. It had been with me all day. Bernard pointed it out first thing in the morning. “Shaking,” he said. All day out in the field planting seeds, I felt it. A miasm that was showing me that I am slowly dying. Here I am in this beautiful, life-affirming place where I am being supported, fed, housed, given understandings that I never had before. And each tremor reveals that I’m slowly dying. Nothing’s changed. I am still the same loser that I have been my entire life that nobody cares about. I’m still the same old ridiculous fool, everybody’s favorite punching bag. To come this far in my life where I could finally see myself being of some use to myself and the world only to be one the losing end of the stick once again, this was just too much to bear.

I am useless.

I felt I was ready to walk. I was tired of doubting and wanting and waiting. I saw that nothing in this world was of any use and I was ready to be counted on.

Was this some kind of joke? Is this where self-honesty has led me? With cosmic egg on my face? How did I allow myself to be used and allow myself to waste my life – to have it turned to shit? To accept living in the teeth of a nightmare?

Because I allowed it. The blackness of that moment of realization was heartbreaking.

Bernard pointed to one eye and said to me, “Darryl. See.”

And I saw.

I saw that nothing will ever change for me because I still carried who I am that has existed from the past. I still claimed this self-image that I had painted on the canvas of my life. And that painting was finished. It would last for eternity.

And then I saw something else. I saw that I do not have to carry that painting any longer. I could release it and paint another self and walk as that!

One that was effective, self-directive. One that stood one and equal with the entirety of existence and did not doubt or waste his life in senseless, useless time loops. One who trusted himself. One who would never ever, ever quit. A self that would stand the test of time.

Could it be that simple?

Could it be that instead of waiting for change to be thrust upon you, or given to you from somewhere outside yourself, you could change yourself in one moment? In one breath? Just by releasing the past? Just by literally seeing yourself integrate all that is, equal and one? Just by seeing that what passes for ‘life’ in this existence has no honor and here, it stops. I took a breath.

I noticed that the shaking stopped. Tears filled my eyes. Bernard, with cigarette in his hand, asked, “Do you get it?”

Yes, I got it.

I could walk.

Darryl and Bernard

Brief Consideration on the George Zimmerman Verdict

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I’ve given this media story a bit of fleeting consideration. Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman forever linked to a tragic incident that is no different from any other tragic incident. The “tragedy” being of course that an unhappy result of a calamity all but guarantees further suffering awaits all parties involved.

Leaving skin color aside, I believe we should focus on the fact that what we have are human beings killing other human beings due to an interesting human failure: out of reactions of fear, suspicion and/or sheer hatred. What happened in this case can be retold in many, many thousands of incidents EVERY DAY, callous, sinister acts of that span the unimaginable depths of human cruelty. You know, like intentionally dropping depleted uranium on foreign soil or dumping nuclear waste in the oceans or human trafficking or using child soldiers. If one looks at the big picture, one begins to see a larger pattern that  emerges. That pattern suggests that human beings are not intrinsically “good at heart” and that it is a constant struggle to give reality, value and meaning to our humanity.

The United States Supreme Court has Granted the FDA with Scientific Infallibility!

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From Whiteout Press online news service:

“In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body [1]. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.

The story gets to the takeaway line with this fascinating nugget to digest:

“In short, the Court ruled that the FDA has ultimate authority over pharmaceuticals in the US. And if the FDA says a drug is safe, that takes precedent over actual facts, real victims and any and all adverse reactions.”

Yes folks, if the Food and Drug Administration says a drug is safe, the subject is no longer open for questioning. The key to understanding this seemingly ridiculous ruling is a little something in American Jurisprudence called “the Supremacy Clause,” which states in effect that where  a State law and a Federal law are found to contradict each other, the State law is rendered invalid. The drug in question is a generic version of a “name brand,” which the FDA has approved. Thus if a State court awards damages to a plaintiff that successfully showed to be harmed by a generic drug, there can be no standing in Federal court because of the “impossibility” of a company following both Federal and State laws at the same time. The corporations realize this and only have to drag the matter before the Supreme Court who will dutifully overturn an otherwise correct judgment. They understand that all they have to do is sell any drug under a generic name and be free of any liability or consequence! But if one investigates just a bit further, what will be discovered? If one is allowed to ask three simple questions, what will we be forced to consider?

Question 1: If the Food Drug Administration is (allegedly)  an “agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services” that is (allegedly) ” is responsible for (allegedly) protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines, bio-pharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), and veterinary products, then why have so many drugs it  has approved of been shown to later be unsafe? One such FDA-approved med that wreaked havoc was Vioxx, which caused fatal heart problems and deaths in the thousands!  If Vioxx had managed to be sold as a generic, then any corporation could do so without much consequence. The question that begs a sensible answer is this: what interests are being served by the Supreme Court and the FDA? The commonwealth of the American Citizens, or the pocket books of Big Pharma Corporations?

Question 2: Scientific Infallibility is (allegedly) impossible. A well-known scientific principle in trying to understand something is direct observation. In a similar case brought before the Supreme Court in 2009 (Wyeth v. Levine) [2], the SCOTUS ruled,

“We conclude that it is not impossible for Wyeth to comply with its state and federal law obligations and that Levine’s common-law claims do not stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment of Congress’ purposes in the FDCA. Accordingly, the judgment of the Vermont Supreme Court is affirmed.”

Justice John Paul Stevens:

“…the intent of Congress in passing the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was to implement a system of minimum standards for assessing when a drug is safe and effective enough to reach the market. It did not mean to pre-empt states from finding that additional steps are appropriate to protect their citizens. The Court agreed with Ms. Levine that although the FDA has technical expertise, it lacks the resources to continuously oversee all of the thousands of drugs on the market. Congress intended that state tort law serve as a supplement to its oversight.”

Did you notice that this earlier ruling contradicts the latest ruling on the same crucial point of responsibility? Who is today’s Supreme Court more sympathetic towards? The American Citizen or the Big Pharma Corporations?

Question 3: Now that pharmaceutical corporations have been given the green light to abuse their position and kill and maim its customers with impunity, who will you turn to when something like this happens to you or your family? You better have deep, deep pockets because there are two things for sure, the FDA and the Supreme Court are not going to help you under the current system and you are definitely going to pay. Common sense has been sold along with your “privilege” of citizenship (which isn’t worth doodley-squat). Proof that there needs to be a new system installed that will benefit everyone equally and not only for those who can buy chief justices just like any common street-walker.

NOTES

[1] According to the court documents, the victim is reported to be “severely disfigured, has physical disabilities, and is nearly blind.” - Mut. Pharm. Co. v. Bartlett, No. 12-142, 2013 BL 166063 (U.S. June 24, 2013)

[2] Wyeth v. Levine

6.9.13: Human Right #3. Safety and Security for every Child

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3. An Equal Right of Safety and Security for every Child, so that a life free of fear, insecurity and trauma is assured, a life in which parental guidance is balanced with freedom of expression and lived within an environment of creativity and joy so that every Child grows into his or her utmost potential as a unique expression of Life Itself.

It is a commonly held belief, that “all men are created equal.” There is also a counter-argument that cuts against the former: people have differing strengths and weaknesses, talents and deficiencies, thus any talk about “equality” must be utter foolishness. There is, however, one point of equality that cannot be denied. All human beings come into this world with a legacy of dependence. Babies cannot care for themselves, and are completely helpless beings immediately after ending our world. Doesn’t matter if you are a dumpster-diving commoner or a blue-blooded aristocrat, infants depend on others to keep it alive.

It is in this state of innocence and dependency that most parents can appreciate. However, not all parents can offer their children the protection and support they need to grow into effective beings free from fear, sickness or abuse. These unfortunate babes are destined to never reach or discover their potential in this world. They have been cut off. Truly, their births were in vain, wasted and dishonored simply because of the black hearts of too many adults are filled with too much hate to ever get along with others. So wars are fought with child soldiers. Mass starvation on a criminal scale decimating poor countries because of investor greed, trickery and fraud. Intentional maiming and disfiguring of a population’s gene pool  with depleted uranium to keep certain nations weak and unable to stand up for themselves. It appears that adults, who know how to take care of themselves, are forever attempting to destroy other beings who can’t fend for themselves. In the pages of history one can read about the extensive use of child sacrifice as a religious sacrament and ritual in ancient cultures. In more recent news, it seems that reports of child sacrifice are increasing.

Human Right #3 demands that it should be obvious that the safety and security of each child is right, proper and just. Since children are innocent and weak, they become targets of the strong and cruelest of beings. Not recognizing that the right of children to be sheltered and protected from those that would love to destroy them means that these beings are enjoying the right to destroy everyone in their way. Has it really come down to this? It is the 21st Century. We no longer have to act like superstitious barbarians who sacrifice the innocent for our sins. The time to stop allowing the potential of children to be erased from existence is now. The Equal Life Foundation has been convened to end this assault on the innocents.

 

6.7.13. Human Right #2: Right to Physical and Mental Health

2. An Equal Health Right that provides all essentials to building strong physical embodiments, insuring vitality and well-being along with clarity of intellect, emotional balance and physical stability.

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Anti-Abortion activists often refer themselves as members of the “Right-To-Life” campaign. It’s a bit of a misnomer, since they really should be called the party of the “Right-to-be-Born.” I don’t have a problem with considering the right of a fetus to allowed to be born, IF the world they are going to be born into the jaws of a nightmare that we laughingly call “civilization.” The fact is that the “right-to-life” movement cares way too much what happens to the fetus before birth than to what happens to it after it’s born. For most fetuses that will be born into this world, birth  is probably the worst thing that can happen to an incipient life-form. Most infants – many millions of them – will be born into an impoverished hell that they will never be able to recover from. Many will have nothing but pain, starvation, war, a wrecked environment and insane human beings to deal with before they die an undignified death, never knowing a single comfort that we in the First World take for granted every day. The “Right-To-Lifers” really couldn’t care less; many have told me that it isn’t God’s Will that so many suffer, but that it’s due to Satanic influences and Mankind’s “fallen nature” that so much suffering exists for these little ones. If that is the case (and I’m kind of in agreement with the “fallen nature” aspect – humanity has forever been a pretty brutal and vicious piece of work on this planet), if such suffering and pain is awaiting so many new beings coming into this world and you realize how fucked up things are, why would you campaign for the “right” of these future persons to be born on such a world?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to be all about standing up for the unborn if the world was first a proper place to begin a life? Has anyone ever interviewed a fetus before it was born and asked if it’s okay being born in a dirty hovel in a Darfur refugee camp where it can expect of life filled with no education to speak of, no access to healthcare, nothing but violence, water and food shortages, abuse and exploitation to look forward to? Put yourself in those shoes. Does that sound like an entrée  you’d want to order from the Menu of Life? Does that sound like the kind of fate you would want for your child? People who wring their hands about the shame and desolation of abortion (which may very well be a mercy considering what is in store for most children coming into this world) are so involved with their own minds and inner conflicts that they fail to see what they are really advocating. It is unfortunate for them that they never considered what would be in the best interests of newborn beings would align with the best interests of everybody else. That means providing a decent place for children to be born into – a place where they can grow in strength and honor, within a potential just waiting to burst forth onto this plane of existence, freed from crippling psychological issues that maim and destroys their character before they even have a chance in this world. What greater sin could there be to be given the gift of life and have that gift of a newborn turned to such a shameful thing just because we refused to rise above our disgraceful, paranoid natures, where the “right-to-life” is merely a “right-to-wrong” the truly innocent. Human Right #2 would be so easy to give to all of us, and it would finally bring forth a world that would be an honored destination for any newborn.

6.6.13. Human Right #1: Right to a Healthy and Fulfilling Life

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1. An Equal Economic Right that insures that all financial needs are accessible and available to ensure that the fundamental requirements of a healthy and fulfilling life can be realized and manifested.

There has been countless words devoted to Human Rights over the centuries. Some writers have even taken seriously the concept of  a human right as something that belongs  justifiably to every person. Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense which gathered Yankee support for the war against the Crown before the Revolutionary War, wrote another book that was nearly as influential for its defense of the French Revolution called, Rights of Man. In Rights of Man, Paine takes 31 points in outlining the justification for revolution against the government when the government fails to safeguards the “natural rights” of its citizens. Among other points under consideration, Paine claims that “rights” cannot be conferred through the political process for a reason:

It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect — that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few… They… consequently are instruments of injustice … The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a contract with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.

In our view, and with the benefit of hindsight, there are a few problems with this type of analysis.

Laws are created all the time that makes the populace more dependent on government and more dependent on making money to survive. Rights are not so much “given and taken away” as much as they are “bought and sold.” Yes, even in Paine’s day was the recognition of economic and political power concentrated in the hands of the elite, be it the newer and developing merchant class or the old aristocracy. What Paine fails to understand, or maybe didn’t notice, is that governments are not formed by people entering into voluntary contracts with each other. This is a Classical Liberal Romanticist fantasy meant to legitimize all kinds of political and economical deceptions that always seem to end up justifying the status quo for “Individuals” who are doing quite swell, thank you. And it doesn’t even begin to discuss the most glaring and intractable problem defenders of “liberty” never seem to ask themselves: how can a “right” exist when it can be overridden and invalidated so easily by another? Countries have always been formed, managed and maintained through deadly force. I need only to give the example of the United States of America to back up my assertion, born and nurtured under war, holocaust and slavery as it was. All the Liberal Political Scientists at  the time of America’s dawning era were paid to spread beguiling stories and narratives about “We the People,” and “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Yes, they meant every single word of it… if you were a landowning White Male.

The Bill of Rights by the Equal Life Foundation represents the reality of what Human Rights can and ought to be… for EVERYONE, not just the few who believe that since they have access to wealth, only they have access to life. Since Governments have proven that they can create money and wealth using computers, paper and printing presses, our first Bill or Humans sees no reason everyone should not be entitled to what a few has allowed only themselves to enjoy. What we propose calls for a different social contract, and a different perspective, but it is not unintelligible or incoherent. Since money has become the lynchpin for gaining and possessing value in the system, let all in the system be valued. Thus we call for enactment and recognition of the basic Human Right for all persons to have their basic financial, educational and health needs met, equally and without delay.