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Rights to Choose

By Peter O’Brien

Senior Fellow, London Center for Policy Research

Published November 1, 2018>

Let me see if I have this right: the bulk of the media, and many of our politicians, tell me that:
The US is not exceptional and in fact has much to answer for, But
The US should spend more time and effort abroad because the global community is more important – rather than getting its house in order, But
While we’re busy overseas we should also make a point of welcoming in as many immigrants as want to come here because it’s the right thing to do, Because
The US is much better than the places the immigrants are coming from, But
We shouldn’t be preaching to any of these other countries to fix themselves, But ,
Nor should we insist that other countries “join” Western Civilization and adhere to Western standards and principles because those standards are – at best – no better than anyone else’s, But
We do need to let in anyone who wants to come here because the US is so much better than the horrible places the immigrants are fleeing.
Such was my line of thought this past week when I had the opportunity to have lunch with a half-dozen really smart folks who are interested in both preserving the Constitution and defending Western Civilization.
As we sat talking we could turn and look out onto New York Harbor and clearly see both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, iconic reminders that we’re a nation of immigrants, but also a nation of laws – Ellis Island welcomed 12 million people to the US, but it did so via a legal entry process that saw many quarantined and fully 2% turned back.
And yet outside our little enclave the world ground on: 10,000 or more people marched north, intent on forcing their way across the border and into the US. That 10,000-immobile people would require 6,000 gallons of water and 5 tons of food per day (far more if they are actually walking) suggests there’s a logistics plan behind this march. That, in turn, suggests this march is organized and has a direct political purpose. And, a lunatic sent packages to a number of leading Democrats; the packages were made up to look like bombs but were apparently incapable of actually detonating (he was arrested on Saturday). Another lunatic was planning to murder people at a synagogue in Pittsburg (He killed 11 innocent people the day after I came home, may they rest in peace.)
Meanwhile, on the way home I saw an ad for a Congressional candidate who promised to defend a woman’s right to choose, while also coming solidly down in the camp of the democrat-socialists.
Then it hit me: the problem with all this is that underlying the glaring contradictions (the above is only a short sampler) is this one issue:
Rights. Individual rights are predicated on a system of laws that is both clearly defined, and protected by rules that make changing laws – and rights – a deliberate process, one not only completely visible to the citizenry, but one in which they participate. Any effort to establish justice requires this – a government of laws. You want to immigrate? Follow the law. You want to accuse someone of a crime? The state must produce evidence. You want to deny someone of a right? Change the Constitution.
And here’s the key point: Only Western Civilization has enshrined individual rights and the rule of law by deliberate, open processes. Has Russia? No. Vlad Putin functions as de facto Tsar. China? President Xi used strong-arm tactics to rewrite Chinese Constitution and the law, giving himself a patina of legitimacy as he set himself up as de facto emperor. The Middle East? Much of Africa? Take a “stroll around the globe” and identify those nations that actually make an effort to protect the rights of the individual; all of them have governments whose legal and philosophic roots are firmly buried in the soil of Western Civilization.
Yet that’s the very system the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the new Democrat-Socialists, and the Antifa, wish to overthrow. The truth is this: put a government in place that no longer adheres to the rule of law, that no longer holds sacred our individual rights, that no longer embodies the essence of our Western Civilization, and a woman’s right to choose – and all other rights – would exist only at the whim of those in power.