A Heritage Foundation blog titled “Why Does MSNBC Want to Go Backwards?” once again illustrates that Progressives utterly misunderstand history and the behavior of government.
Julia Shaw, the author of the blog, quotes Chris Matthews as saying,
“It’s clear that Paul Ryan was talking to people who think about rights as something…produced by Thomas Jefferson, ignoring the people for whom the rights only came in the 1960s.”
Ms. Shaw also quotes another of MSNBC’s crack team of commentators, Touré Neblett, as reacting to Paul Ryan saying in his speech at the Republican convention that our rights come from God and nature was “offensive.” Neblett apparently went on to say,
“For black people, Hispanic people, and women, our rights do not come from God or nature. . . They come from the government and from legislation that happens in relatively recent history in America.”
One begins to wonder just how ignorant (or idiotic, your choice) these supposedly well educated, intelligent and articulate spokespersons for the radical Progressive left can be.
Yes, until the Emancipation Proclamation, rights for black Americans were completely denied to those individuals. Their rights existed from the day they were born, but the government denied the ability of black Americans to enjoy those rights.
Until the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, the 14th Amendment in 1868 and 15th Amendment in 1870, the government (in particular states dominated by the Democratic Party) continued to impede the rights of black Americans through segregation, poll taxes and so on. And it is the shame of the government at both the state and federal levels that these practices continued until the 1960s.
It should be apparent to any “well educated, intelligent and articulate spokesperson” that the government did not grant rights to anyone. The only thing that government appears to be good at is denying rights to individuals and groups.
As for women, the government’s denial of a right to vote was eliminated with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. (Just as an aside, one wonders why the National Organization of Women doesn’t link the 18th Amendment which passed in 1919 and banned alcohol in the United States to the 19th which passed the following year. NOW could claim that it must have taken a year for all the men in the country to sober up.)
Were their other, cultural impediments placed in the way of women? Culture is much harder to legislate than simply enforcing a right to vote, so yes, there were such impediments. But can you imagine even the most radical feminist suggesting a law that read something along the lines of “No matter how you feel, or what you believe, or how you were raised, you must treat women as exactly the same as men in any and all situations”?
As for Neblett’s reference to Hispanics, I know of no legislation that was passed explicitly for that particular ethnic group. There might very well have been legislation or regulation regarding Hispanics, but if it exists, it certainly did not convey “rights”.
No government can convey the basic rights that we think of as inherent in just being alive. Governments can, and frequently do, interfere with our rights, deny our rights, infringe on our rights, and diminish our rights.
Undoubtedly the most embarrassing diminution of minority rights for the talking heads at MSNBC has to be the actions of the father of the modern Progressive movement, Woodrow Wilson, when he instituted segregation in certain parts of the Executive Branch during his presidency.
Another liberal-Progressive icon, Franklin Roosevelt, followed in Wilson’s footsteps when he interned Japanese-Americans in a prison camp that came to be known as Manzanar. And, by the way, this action was taken by way of an Executive Order (Order #9066) without any benefit of legislative discussion on the Constitutional merits of Roosevelt’s action.
The current crop of Progressives talk blithely about amendments to overturn the Citizen’s United decision and the imposition of ethically and morally repugnant behaviors for certain churches in clear violation of the 1st Amendment, doing this last via administrative regulation not legislation.
So please, explain to me again how government is so very, very good about creating and granting rights, because I for one just don’t see it.