Should six-year-olds be allowed to purchase handguns? Should criminals be incarcerated? Should illegal immigrants have the right to vote? Are these people not among men, all of whom were "created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights"?
I hear a lot of talk about private and individual rights these days. It seems silly to demand public recognition of one's private rights unless one first assents that the public's approval of his rights is essential. This is because we know intuitively that rights are always and only granted and withheld within the context of a community.
You see, individual rights are granted only as far as the governing body dictates that they do not conflict with the corporate rights of the community. Action was taken in the conception of our government in order to form a more perfect union. The purpose of government is actually to create healthy community: NOT to ensure the private rights of those residing therein. In fact, the goals of the constitution as set forth in its preamble are domestic, common, and general, NOT private, individual, or specific. Individual rights within the union are only of value if they do not corrupt or undermine the integrity of the union. (On the flip side, as long as those private rights do not affect the public sphere, shouldn't they be free from legislation, period?)
My goal here is not to judge which individual rights should be forcefully forfeited in the name of the common domestic good in general (although I do have my opinions), but rather to urge readers in the name of reason to give up all this extreme civil liberties nonsense. Even the word "civil" denotes the public and not the private. I am also interested to know to what extent granting some people more or less rights than others for the good of the community is possible given that humans tend toward the despotic when given the upper hand.
America is a tricky idea...