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The Bill of No Rights

(or The Age of Reason Revisited

We, the sensible people of these United States of America, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, enhance normalcy, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some commonsense guidelines for the terminally whiny, delusional, guilt-ridden, and other thumbsuckers or bedwetters. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights, that a bunch of other folks have tried to obscure the meaning of the Bill of Rights, and that most citizens are so dim they require the declaration of a Bill of No Rights.

Article I:
          You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch-potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch-potatoes. There is no free lunch.

Article II:
          You do not have the right to a flashy new car, big-screen color TV, or any other form of conspicuous wealth. More power to you if you can morally acquire them, and legally retain them, but no one is guaranteeing anything. Recreational shopping, lifestyle consumerism, and potlatch religiosity are subject to gerrymandered taxation.

Article III:
          You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, steal, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together to lock you away in a confined place where you still won't have the right to a big-screen color TV or a cozy life of unearned leisure.

Article IV:
          You do not have the right to the love, esteem, respect, or courtesy of anyone, regardless of relationship or proximity. Public civility and decorum is variously regulated, but relationships are mostly reciprocal, and usually private, until they exceed the currently applicable codes.

Article V:
          You do not have the right to mentally abuse or physically harm other people, regardless of relationship or provocation. If you kidnap, rape, torture, intentionally maim or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you fry in the electric chair.

Article VI:
          You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, or shoot yourself in the foot, then learn to be more careful; but do not expect the manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy. Causes have effects, and acts have consequences. There is no preventive for accidents, and no cure for willful misconduct.

Article VII:
          You do not have the right to free health care. In an ideal world or unearthly paradise, that might be nice, but based upon the results of public housing, we're just not interested in public health care, socialized medicine, regimented therapy, impersonal treatment, and other inhospitable privacy violations.

Article VIII:
          You don't have the right to a job. All of us sure want all of you to have a job (a good one if possible), and we will gladly help you along in hard times; but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of educational and vocational training laid-out before you to make yourself useful. Once you finally have a job or a skill, there is no guarantee of tenure, promotion, or success.

Article IX:
          You do not have the right to a comfortable retirement, to a lavish pension, or to an inexpensive burial. If you work hard, save carefully, invest wisely, and plan ahead, then you probably won't become a burden to your relatives, friends, or community. Nobody is expected to pay your dues for you.

Article X:
          You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based upon freedom, and that means freedom for everyone ... not just for you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, switch products, cancel your subscription, withdraw your patronage, revoke an association, express a different opinion, annul any affiliation, and so forth, but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

Article XI:
          You don't have the right to demand that our country risk its international standing to ease your aching conscience, nor demand that our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your bleeding-heart sensibilities. We too hate oppression, and we won't lift a finger to stop you from going to fight the good fight if you'd like; however, we do not enjoy policing or parenting the entire world. We do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrannical tin god with an operatic uniform and a funny hat. We do not want to squander our precious resources on every teapot tempest and each geopolitical hiccup.

Article XII:
          You do not have the right to distort, pervert, or destroy our heritage and traditions by forcing other people to be or become like you, by acting or by refraining from action in ways that you approve, by supporting businesses or by contributing to causes that you endorse, by boycotting businesses or causes you disapprove, by worshiping or praying in an acceptable fashion, by abstaining from unacceptable beliefs, by requiring others to listen to your rants, or by outshouting any objections. Your alleged freedoms and privileges are not contingent upon the reciprocal denial of those same rights for others. You may not be persecuted, nor may you persecute. You are only one of many, and everything you do, and everything we do, affects everybody else; so either learn the Golden Rule or suffer the Iron Rule.

Article XIII:
          You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to pursue happiness, no matter how changeable or illusionary. Such pursuit, however it may be defined, is much easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

Article XIV:
          This is an English-speaking country. We all came here from somewhere else, so we don't really care where you are from, or what language you used to speak. The multicultural Melting Pot is a nice idea, but all those chunks float around in a common liquid: the English language, Judeo-Christian values, Western culture. If you don't like our ways, and don't want to learn them, then go back to wherever you came from. In time, if you assimilate, your native arts and foreign spirit will influence us, as we have you, but the result will be American.

Article XV:
          You do not have the right to revise our foundation documents into obscurity or to define our liberty out of existence, because words mean something. Core values and fundamental principles are not subject to periodic reinterpretation or misrepresentation. If you, possessed of native wit and average ability, do not understand your government, then you have the duty to stop its so-called progress until it again makes commonsense. Nobody has the right to diminish or destroy this constitutional union of counterbalanced elements, because they want it to be something else.

Expect mistakes and problems, because imperfection is the human condition. If sensible people don't keep things simple enough for everything to work, then stupid people will try to improve things until nothing works and everything is wrecked.