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home : opinions : opinions November 24, 2015

2/24/2013 9:56:00 PM
Letter: God-given rights should be available to all


In his Feb. 17 letter, Mr. David Wilhelmsen proposes, in elegant language, a deeply flawed interpretation of our rights and obligations as Americans and humans.

He starts by stating that our rights come directly from God. Regardless of whether religious and political thought should be mixed in this fashion, I am willing to accept his premise, in which case I would like him to mention one religion that does not acknowledge the need for solidarity with our fellow human.

Except for fascist ideology, every code of religious, political or ethical thought, through human history, has taken into account that we are all fragile and mortal, and one mishap away from losing our freedom in the most fundamental way, through illness or disability, in which case our fellow citizens have an obligation, spoken or not, to help us get back on our feet. Even supposedly wild animals, which we currently do not believe capable of ethical thought, protect their own.

Certainly, we must all do our best to fend for ourselves, but in a civilized society this should not mean death or destitution as a result of a temporary or permanent inability to do so. His concept of liberty seems to me quite different from what our founders intended, and more like the freedom of a rock rolling downhill.

His statement that "the beauty of our nation has always flowed from equality and freedom of opportunity" ignores that this was true, until very recently in our national history, only for white men. It did not occur to our founding fathers that women, Native Americans, Blacks and others different from them in their outward appearance were endowed by their creator with the same rights to which they felt entitled. Our society, as most others, has evolved, and we are better for it, to accept all as equals.

We live in a complex society because, over millennia, we have learned that we function better in cooperation with others, than isolated in the wilderness. Mr. Wilhelmsen, I wish you a long and healthy life, where you will never feel the need for the rest of us to support you in any way, but I believe we probably have done so in countless ways already. I do not feel oppressed by this realization.

S. Fernando Soto


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, March 02, 2013
Article comment by: @UNattentive Listener

Stop sitting on your brains.

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Very Funny- There is no commentary by anyone called "our nation".

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Whitehead

Mr Whitney:
YOU might try writing under an assumed name. You are embarrassing yourself... so sad...Oh, and your friend Hooty "gets it". We are all so glad...

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: @ EVERONE WHO BELIEVES


Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: dog on

Actually "very funny" if there were a god do you think it would give a crap which side of some arbitrary line humans made on it's Earth we came from?

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Think Again

Mr. Soto, you are comparing the past to the present, and don t forget that the white man help build this country. Seems most minorities are not taking advantage of the education given them today. No one forces anyone to be poor but it seems like a choice, and women today are doing just fine, unlike before the 1980's.

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: @MR. SOTO

Do you forget that this country has a black president. Now, how many rights do other countries have when they enter Mexico?

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Very Funny

@Attentive Listener-read very carefully, for @Ride the Wind is referring to the commentary of "our nation", as in America. Actually, your comment is the funniest thing anyone has read in a long time too.

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Ride the Wind- That is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Did you mean it as a joke or do you really think that God discriminates between "legal taxpaying citizens" and others?

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Exploited to the Max

Are you contending that the "equality and freedom of opportunity" you refer to, Mr. Soto, means that if someone does not fight for his equality in, or screws up in his own country, a U.S. citizen is obligated to guarantee his opportunity in this country?

Yes, the American ideal is that we ALL have God-given rights, such as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Does a man who murders another retain his "right" to liberty? Does your right to the "pursuit of happiness" mean you get it even if a hard-pressed American has to pay for it? And which God-given right makes it OK for one man to invade and live on another man's property (i.e., reap what he did not sow)?

Yes, "our society has evolved" - if we have accepted this dogma.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: God given Rights!

We talk about God given rights, and then elect people who are bent on taking away our God given rights.

Take a day, week, month, or a year, and do nothing but consider the consequences of the decisions you make in life, or the consequences of the ideology you are promoting. If you can think clearly, and have the ability to think deeply, you will be amazed at your conclusions. If you still have a conscience, you may get down on your knees, and ask God for forgiveness. Read John 3:16. In fact read the whole book. The wisdom you gain from reading the Bible is worth more than all the gold in the world.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Ride The Wind

God given rights should be available to all LEGAL, taxpaying citizens.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Two Languages Now?

When dialing a business we now, as American citizens, have to chose between English and Spanish, and, alas, how many articles are now in both languages? America is not fair, since they cater to the Spandish and not ALL nationalities in this country. Many can't read or write English, so let's just change everything for them who enter illegally.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: John Citizen

@Mr. Soto-gee, I guess you forgot what the Mexicans did to the Native Americans, slaughter and forced them into Catholicism? I wouldn't brag too much, as all nationalities have something to be ashamed of, in the PAST. You certainly have a legal right to get an education, work and be a citizen, or do you? Well, why do people compare what happened in the past to the present, can't turn back the hands of time, can we, so, move on and stop the whining, The Civil War is over.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@ p u: What does that mean?
@ Alan Whitney: I get it, I do.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: John Galt

I don't disagree for a second that we are all morally obligated to help those less fortunate. Whether you believe in God or the universe or kharma as a human being, you have a moral duty to give someone a hand up if they've fallen.

I like to think that bitter, selfish people will get their just deserts in this life or the next. "What comes around, goes around" as the saying goes.

But to force someone to be charitable is not charity. We have a bloated, inefficient system that overtaxes some people to redistribute it to others.

Have you ever seen a panhandler sitting on a sidewalk with a cup out for spare change? Some people with good intentions might choose to drop some money in the cup. Some won't. But using the logic of the letter writer, shouldn't we put a cop next to the panhandler and force every person walking by to drop money in the cup? How would that be different than the system we have now?

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Give'm Hell Harry

Well said Mr. Soto. Unfortunately your words fall on the deaf ears of the last of the dinosaurs that are nearing extinction with each passing day here in Prescott. Greed is their creed and their end is near. This species of dinosaurs believe only in getting the most for themselves at the expense of others, and they believe only they are entitled to government health care even though our tax rates are the lowest in they have been in 70 years, they believe they are unfairly taxed. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust will be their final epitaph..........

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Sally Forth

Mr. Soto, what exactly is it of mine that you covet? Money? Sympathy? Charity? None of those are yours, or anyone else's by 'right'. Are you seeking 'the greatest good for the greatest number'? History has clearly shown the degradation and horror wrought by such thought. It is the iron boot of collectivism smashing human dignity and freedom. Destitution and death are facts of life which we all, each of us, will face. Should I choose to help someone in some way, it is exactly that, my choice, not my 'obligation'. All else is simply theft, codified gangsterism clothed in pretty words.
The 'free bubble-up and rainbow stew' you seem to be seeking for everyone will result in destitution for all but those with the most might, the most power, the strongest gang. That is human nature. The 'new man' that seems your aim, hidden between your words, is simply a sweet term for 'slave'. Thank you, but no. I refuse that. No one, but those of my choosing, have any rights to the fruits of my labors.

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: @ Alan Whitney

Well, isn't it nice to see that Alan is still with us and attempting (not succeeding) to be witty.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Ron R. Harvey

Well said, my friend.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: p u

@ Alan
Sorry, no, I don't get it ... whats your point?
Is it that you really couldn't give a s**# about anything but yourself and that is what America is all about. Just the same old same old of all these things you mention? A give-up kind of guy? Or is it that you are a dinosaur, all washed up? A status quo man eh? Just sitting on your rear eating horse? Perhaps I'm missing your brilliance.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Dude, when the constitution was in the word processor white men were the deal. They were created equal. Womenfolk were not equal, slaves were not equal, and Indians were certainly not equal. They just weren't. So as Alan Whitney said: just get over it. No wonder people long for the good old days lol.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Mr. Soto, I am very sorry that racial discrimination existed (exists) in the USA. I am also sorry that slavery was once legal. I weep at the thought of women not being able to vote, and gnash my teeth over the realization that we took our country from the Native American.

Hitlers Holocaust makes me sick with guilt, although I wasn't even born at the time.

I groan at the thought of what Cortes did to the Aztec, and Pizarro to the Inca.

In fact, every migration of humanity, every conquest, each extinction fills me with angst.

Why, when I think of the poor dinosaurs...

Get it? Get over it, already.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: George Seaman

Thanks for this letter.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Work For Your Own Needs

God given rights should be for all those who are legal, working, taxpayers. Don't forget, Mr. Soto, God gives us the right to choose our fate also, a brain and body to work and make the rights choices. Living off others is not a good choice.

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