We Need EQUAL Rights, Not SPECIAL Rights

By Bradley Harrington

“The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be the defenders of minorities.” — Ayn Rand, “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business,” 1961 —

wte3-column-17-illustration-equal-rights-not-special-rightsIf you’ve ever wondered just what it is that has happened to your rights in today’s political morass of the triumph of the herd over the individual, you need look no further than this:

“Several dozen supporters of a proposed anti-discrimination resolution for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents made their support known — visually if not yet verbally — at Monday’s [Oct. 10] City Council meeting.” (“Supporters turn out for intro of anti-discrimination resolution,” WTE, Oct. 11.)

There are several misconceptions present in that one little innocent-sounding sentence, but the one that’s of paramount importance to us all is: The notion of the superiority of “group” rights over individual rights.

What are the implications of that idea? Wouldn’t that mean, if it means anything, that, in any dispute between an LGBT group and an individual outside of that group, the first trumps the second?

Logically, it would certainly seem so, and that is the reality practically as well: For what happens to the right of an individual to peacefully use his property as he sees fit, if he/she decides not to hold an LGBT rally on their front lawn?

And if that example is not to be considered as valid — i.e., if the property rights of the owner of that lawn are considered as superior to the demands of the LGBT group seeking to have that rally in that location — then what makes a decision on the part of that same individual to not hire an LGBT person at the business they might own any different? Or, for that matter, to not rent such an LGBT person an apartment at the complex they might own, either?

And, just that quickly, we arrive at the contradictions inherent in the very idea of “group” rights: That in order for them to have any teeth, they must supersede the property rights of other, non-group individuals first.

How did we arrive at this juncture? The political history is as follows: The Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1875, 1957 and 1964.

In the Act of 1866, as a result of the Civil War, black citizens were given the same civil rights to contracts, property, etc., as those “enjoyed by white citizens” — which was the proper legal and political response to the former racist policies of the Democrat-controlled states in the South.

But by the Act of 1875, the focus had shifted away from granting equal rights under the law to special rights instead, i.e., the “right” to enforce “discrimination” policies on private property, otherwise known as “public accommodations.” (This law was later rejected as unconstitutional for that reason by the Supreme Court in its Civil Rights Cases in 1883.)

Unfortunately — as should have been expected when some people try to force other people on how to peacefully use their own property — the passage of the Act of 1875 led to a host of “Jim Crow” state law enactments on the part of angry Southern Democrats, and it wasn’t until the Act of 1957 (relating mainly to voting laws) that most of this nonsense was wiped off the books as well.

The Act of 1964, however (while also containing valid provisions for enforcing equality under the law) further employed the same tactics of private property control and “anti-discrimination” as the Act of 1875 (which the Act of 1964 was modeled after) — and, this time, nary a peep about property rights was heard from the Supreme Court.

Consequently, it’s now emblazoned into law that property owners may no longer use their property peacefully as they see fit — and the entire LGBT brouhaha is nothing more than a logical extension of this approach: Grab a government gun and force people to do what you want.

But, logically, doesn’t it follow that it’s now time for every other collective on the planet to step up and start demanding their special rights? Will next month’s City Council meeting have to suffer under the clamor of a group of midgets hollering for an “anti-discrimination” ordinance? Or how about the collection of “Students Who Can’t Read or Write”? Or “Drunks Demanding Their Right to Drive”?

Seriously, where does it end? The only place it can end: With the entire country disappearing into a smear of atomized, Balkanized, inherently-conflicting group warfare, said strategy of which power-seeking politicians not only use but encourage, as it takes everyone’s minds off the fact that your individual rights have been flushed down the toilet.

EQUAL rights? No problem! Guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence, in fact, and I would be the first person to stand up and argue that you should have them.

SPECIAL rights? Get a clue.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne. Email:  bradhgt1776@gmail.com.


NOTE: This column was originally published in the “Wyoming Tribune Eagle” on October 21, 2016. Here is this column’s original downloadable PDF file.

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About Bradley Harrington

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