People, — most people, – believe it is important to have Rights without quite knowing why having Rights is important. Many demonstrated in Paris on Sunday, January 11, 2015.
It would be best if government’s really supported the idea of Rights because it would make it easier for the governed to live. Life is threatened when Rights are not protected. Death follows when the rules aren’t followed. Rights are a matter of Life and Death.
America is exceptional because it is the first culture to draw a distinction in writing between the difference between following the rules and breaking them. That’s a moral distinction because it’s based on a moral principle that draws a clear line between 1. Criminals and 2. Government Actors who refuse to follow the rules, — by forbidding to the Government the legalized version of the activities of Criminals. Yes, that’s complicated: hard to follow for many people but a moral principle needs to be understood if it’s supposed to be the basis of the difference between good and evil; between life and death..
The idea of “Rights” is why Government exists. America stood against the idea that “Might Is Right” by replacing it with the idea that “Might Must Be Controlled.” The exceptional idea that Government Must Be Controlled is the principal behind The Magna Carta but the Magna Carta was only another of the steps in a journey that finally ended when Thomas Jefferson wrote “The Declaration Of Independence.
The Magna Carta restrained religion so it was annulled by the leader of the religious world at the time, a Pope. The Magna Carta was a step to control both the authority of the Pope and the authority of the King. The mechanism was based on the idea that the power to rule people must be agreed to by the people before the power can be used. That simultaneously was heresy and treason. Jefferson committed both in the Declaration of Independence although he didn’t come out with the arguments against Government By Religion. He simply didn’t mention the prohibition. He confined his argument about controlling Power to the power of the King but the basis of controlling the power of the King also apply to controlling the power of religion. The War Against Terror is also about controlling the power of Religion.
The Paris demonstrations had that at root. If religion is used as the basis of government it’s a theocracy. If religion is not used it’s a secular government. Western governments are secular although most Western countries also endorse one religion as the national religion. America is somewhat unique in not having a national religion. Some people accept that and others want to impose their religion on others but in America they are prevented from that by the “Separation of Church and State”.
In effect, America follows the tradition of controlling the government but not in government controlling religion . Even though Christianity is followed by a majority of Americans, the government does not follow Christianity. Individual members of government may follow whatever they want but they cannot cross the barrier and bring their personal religion into government.
Many Rights have been discovered since Magna Carta including Freedom of Expression which means government must protect a person’s ability to express themselves. That idea is expanded into freedom of speech; freedom of the press; freedom of religion, freedom from unreasonable search as well as political and economic freedom. Those freedoms are needed to live a life that’s proper to an individual. When government encroaches on these rights it must be made to reverse course.
The 1/11/15 demonstration in Paris was to show the support of good people against the murders at Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish market. Over 3 million people demonstrated including 44 of the leaders of different cultures and governments. Many Americans are appalled because President Barack Obama refused to attend but most Americans were in Paris in spirit. America has more of a claim on freedom of the press than other government’s . That in turn means American supports all other governments that support a free press. Just because Barack Obama didn’t demonstrate doesn’t mean America is against a free press.
The President is only one voice. America has many voices. Americans support France. Many Americans who died so that the demonstration in Paris could be held are buried in France. Those Americans were in France for the Demonstrations even though Barack Obama wasn’t.
How important is Freedom to Americans? Visit the cemeteries in Romagne-sous-Montfaucon where 14,246 American Military are buried. They died defending freedom. Visit Belleau, France where 2,289 American’s are buried. they died so the Paris demonstrations could be held. Visit the cemetery at Fere en Tardenois where 6,012 American Military are buried; visit the St.Mihiel Cemetary, 4,153 American Military buried; the Suresnes Cemetary where 1,565 American Military are buried as well as the many other cemeteries where the bodies of dead American’s should be included in the count of people who demonstrated in Paris. Then understand why America’s will always support a free France and why President Obama’s failure to attend the Demonstrations was so sad for Americans to witness.