20 Nov 2014

School Handout Says Where Rights Come From, And It’s Not From Our Creator

In the Declaration of Independence the source of our rights–where they come from–is spelled out as being from God. We are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
According to a new school handout, that isn’t entirely accurate. 
The author of the handout, Phyllis Naegeli, writes educational (used loosely) materials for elementary school-aged children. Her lesson Being a Good Citizen, found on EdHelper.com, states the following:
When you are a citizen you have rights. Rights are special privileges the government gives you. In our country, you have free speech. You are also given the right to choose a religion.


Because the government gives us rights, we have the duty to be good citizens.
Naegeli defended herself later by issuing an apology and stating that her wording was poor and not at all what she actually believes.
From what I have discovered an article I wrote for edhelper.com because [sic] quite a point of controversy on your forum the other day. I am being accused of spreading left-wing propaganda, being a Pelosi relative, and other such incorrect titles. I am a Christian and I own up to mistakes that I make. I made a mistake in these articles by saying the government gives us rights. The government is to protect the rights we are given by God. For that I apologize and ask for forgiveness. I am far from being left wing. I chose the incorrect words to try to simply describe what being a citizen is. I never intended for anyone to be offended by this or to spread some incorrect information to children. I home educated all of my children and have been very careful about what they were taught. I have taught them to be loyal citizens of our wonderful country.
Hopefully what Naegeli says is true and she doesn’t actually believe our rights come from the government because that is a very dangerous line of thinking.

19 comments:

  1. Who wrote the Bible? Men not God. By the way, which Creator is being referred too in Bill of Rights? Legit question, as there are more then one Religion! As such there is more then One "Creator"! So which one "gave" Us OUR rights?

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  2. The whole of the history of mankind is the experiment, and since we are both the subject of the experiment and the observer of the results I know which side I fall on (and as far as I'm concerned my fundamental rights aren't given to be my any person, group of people, etc, they are inherent in my makeup and therefore "granted" by whatever being or process created us.)

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  3. The bill of rights is clearly referring to the ACTUAL creator, whatever or whoever that may be (though, in their minds, it probably was or resembled the Christian idea of "God", though the didn't limit it to that in the declaration itself.)

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  4. Unless of course, there is no "whatever being or process" but simply an abundance of life throughout the universe(s) as recently confirmed by finding the building blocks of life on a comet.

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  5. Except we do know that there is a process that created the comet, the dust cloud, the solar system, whatever. We may not know everything about it, but we know there is one.

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  6. People have said the same about lightning, thunder, wind, snow and what have you, until science showed them these phenomena were not caused by gods or goddesses.

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  7. I didn't say that there was a consciousness, 'God', or 'Goddess', just a process. I don't think that any scientist today would try to argue that lightning, thunder, wind, or snow did NOT come from a process. These phenomena are, as are we, the result of natural processes, and these natural processes endowed us with inalienable rights, by our very nature.

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  8. Of course it's a process, it's called evolution. All it needs are favorable circumstances to have DNA do its things. It goes on forever, the end of the current universe will merely start the whole process over again.

    "inalienable rights"?

    Please name a few. do you reckon there are also 'inalienable duties' ?

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  9. PS Everything imaginable is a process in one way or the other.

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  10. Inalienable right is pretty much freedom,

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  11. That's right. I'm open minded about the process.

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  12. I guess it's a never ending cycle.

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  13. Freedom to do what? I fear you've been drinking too much US made kool-aid. If "freedom" ever existed, it went out the window when, or even long before, nation states were formed and people needed passports to cross man made borders, licenses to participate in traffic, etc. etc. "Freedom" is an empty word.

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  14. Freedom is the natural state of human beings, the state the vast majority of humans have found themselves in for the vast majority of human history, it is also the state that other wild animals generally find themselves in. Even upon forming a legitimate government the people retain the ultimate root sovereignty (and theoretically the government answers to them...) There is no 'U.S.' Kool Aide about it, but it's a sad state of affairs when so many other people of the world live under regimes that deny the basic state of human beings.

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  15. There's always the few that spoil it [freedom] for the rest. That's why it's inevitable that governments continuously try to 'plug the holes' even at a cost for the majority. In any case, I fail to see why the freedom that you describe is (or ever was) a "birth right". The human race does differ from nature as it has completely disconnected itself from natural occurrences as the right of the strongest and survival of the fittest.

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  16. Such an apparent "disconnect" is only viewed when you look too closely. In the vastness of time the selective pressures of evolution continue to exert their effects (and while the actual realization of the results can be deferred, perhaps for many decades, or even centuries, such postponement of natural selection cannot be put off forever and nature will inevitably reassert itself.) We cannot in any true sense consider ourselves "disconnected" or apart from nature.

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  17. Modern man has more 'freedoms' than any of its forefathers who didn't have a pot to piss in, no passports, and no protection against abuse (slavery) Freedom comes with a price tag, mainly thanks to those who wildly abuse their freedoms and that of others. Pedophiles for instance will cause that the population demands protection against those miscreants, even if they have to pay some of that protection with their own freedom. Just look what recently happened with the Ebola scare. The US population went nuts and demanded that the government would protect them. I fear the opposite of your philosophy is true, never before governments had so many instruments (thanks to the computer era) to observe and monitor the population and their cellphones, their social security numbers, their registration plates on their motor vehicles etc. "Rightful freedom" is an illusion.

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  18. More "freedom" in the modern era, at least in the western world, is definitely not the case (unless you consider "the freedom to be fed, get free healthcare, free shelter, and no choices or power" to be "freedom" (I consider it the opposite...) We are sliding in the wrong direction there (but only at ~100 year timescales.)


    I too am upset at the gradual "domestication" of human beings in recent decades... Given enough time it's theoretically possible that the human genome itself can be suppressed, manipulated, and twisted for so long that we no longer yearn for the freedom our DNA expects us to have, but we aren't even close to that yet.


    Nobody ever had the "freedom" to molest or rape children, because that interferes with the "freedom" of the child to be free from being raped and molested. Maybe they could get away with it. Maybe in some cultures they just don't give a crap about the rights of their kids, but, from our point of view, and the only point of view of any ethical system worth a damn, the child's rights were always there.


    I also don't necessarily believe people have the "freedom" to be unobserved in public places. I don't really care if I'm caught on public cameras in public places. It's almost a non-issue (though, for public policy reasons, I support limiting expenditure of government resources doing it.)


    People demanding "protection" by their government is perhaps the most severe threat to freedom we as a species face. Ultimately governments are just tools for groups of people to bully other groups of people into doing what they want, so we damned sure better make sure that the authority to use violence that we delegate derives from a protectable right that we have any business using force to protect in the first place.

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  19. In prehistoric times, people formed groups and chose leaders to protect themselves (and their freedom, literally) against other groups. That's how nation states eventually evolved. States set rules to protect the majority against a non law abiding minority. This is often paid by limiting freedoms for everyone. Can't have your cookie and eat it.

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