Inalienable rights and wrongs

Should I be allowed to sell my children into slavery? Should I be allowed to sell myself into slavery?

If you say no, what principle do you base that on?

If you say no, then why am I allowed to sell away my right to free speech or my right to due process of the law?

If you settle a damage or injury suit with British Petroleum or the  General Public Utilities Corporation (owners of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant) or any similar corporate  entity, you will have sold off your freedom of speech and your ability to tell your own personal story in the public square. The non-disclosure terms of your settlement will gag you from telling the truth, not just about the corporation’s legitimate intellectual property, but about its criminal acts, your own injuries,  your public witness, your right to even warn your neighbors of a threat to their health or their lives. Is that a right or a wrong?

If you buy a car, a house, or just about any other purchase involving a written contract, in the fine print of the contract you will have signed away your right to sue the seller in a court of law for any wrong or injury you may suffer as a consequence of the sale. You will no longer have the right to a fair hearing in the public judicial system.  If the brakes fail on the way out of the car lot and people are killed, or the house falls down when you slam the door, you will be limited to seeking help from some unregulated private  arbitrator, someone with unknown competence and bias, on somebody’s private payroll. Is that a right or a wrong?

Corporations have long held that an employment contract supersedes the employees’ constitutionally protected rights. The US Supreme Court, whose task is to uphold the constitution, has often sided with employers, suspending the civil rights of employees while defending (or creating from whole cloth) the equivalent civil rights for the non-human, amoral legal fiction called a corporation. Is that a right or a wrong?

Who says that corporations can buy our civil rights and discard them, then turn around and claim civil rights for themselves and have them defended by the constitutional officers of our government?

Contract law does not allow parties to contract for murder or anything else that is against any other law on the books. So why does it allow parties to violate, void, and alienate our constitutionally protected civil rights?

Poor Richard

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2 Responses to “Inalienable rights and wrongs”

  1. Chris (krosbowe) Boswell Says:

    Hey Man,

    Right On! Excellent questions and observations. I’m inclined to stand with those who feel this is wrong. I agree this is an example of government policy/institutional bias in favor of business and entities with power over individual citizens.

    krosbowe here (from Church of Reallity). I’m just reading through some of your posts here in your blog. I’m really impressed with the things you have to say. Very thought provoking. Very much aligned with the kinds of ideas and questions that have come to me about our culture, society, nation and world. I’ve bookmarked your blog so I can keep up with it.

    By the way. I very much share your interest in “intentional community”. I actually lived in a kind of “intentional community”, named “Redwood Circle Community” in the Santa Cruz mountains for about 8 years, where I was when I met my wife, Patricia. It was an interesting, enlightening experience. 1.5 yrs ago, we moved into a new, sustainable house I built in HMB.

    Peace, -Chris (krosbowe)

  2. Supreme Sacrifice « Poor Richard's Almanack 2010 Says:

    […] Inalienable rights and wrongs […]


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