OT, Looking for a legal precedent

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OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Elliot » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:06 pm

:?:
I'm looking for a legal precedent.

This pertains to our “right to pursuit of happiness”, as expressed in the Declaration Of Independence.

The original definition of “happiness” will never be truly understood. In the minds of the Founding Fathers, it may have referred to accumulation of wealth.

But what I seek to explore, is the meaning of the phrase “pursuit of”. Note that the Declaration does not say we have a right to happiness. It only says we have a right to the pursuit thereof.

I seem to remember once reading that the right to “pursuit of” was ruled to include freedom from deliberate and persistent efforts by others to thwart such pursuit.

Anybody?
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:31 pm

A little fable.

A mother cat was watching her kitten furiously chase it's tail and she asked "Why are you chaseing your tail my child?

To which the kitten responded "Well mother, I have found that happiness dwells in my tail and if I can catch it, I will be happy too!"

The mother smiled and said "I have found it to be true that happiness is in my tail, but have discovered that if I just go about my buissiness, happiness follows me where ever I go!"

It set my "precedent". 8)
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Eric » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:03 pm

No legal precedent involved - the Declaration is just that, a "declaration" or statement of intent, it is not a legal document that governs our lives (yes, I'm being pedantic again). The Constitution is the bases of the laws that govern us, it does not include that phrase.

Seeing as the author of that statement owned slaves (and fathered children by at least one of them), his "pursuit of happiness" involved having enslaved labor do the work of his plantation while he reaped the rewards, while fucking his property and continuing to enslave the resultant children (and, contrary to popular belief, he was not especially benevolent).

Basically a great sentiment for the wealthy class, not so much for the little guy who actually does the work that keeps the country running.

Studying history tends to make one a stark realist about this stuff.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Elliot » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:15 pm

Eric wrote:Studying history...

That's what I'm working on. Thanks, Eric!
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby ygmir » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:27 pm

yeah, it's advanced as a "right" of citizenship here, endowed by our "creator"
so, we have the "right" to pursue, without the guarantee or any right to "catch".
I'd say from said "right" many of our laws of privacy, free thought and expression, etc. naturally flow. The argument usually, from what I've noted, stems from the line crossing between ones' right to pursue happiness, and infringing on another's ability to do the same.
I'd not at all pin "wealth" as the main concept there. "Freedom" was very high on the list in those days.
"Happiness" being exactly that: what makes you happy. period.

IMHO..............
YMMV..........
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Elliot » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:31 pm

Incidentally, I'm currently reading about South Africa and the horrors committed by Dutch and English colonialists there -- specially the Dutch (Boers) with their highly selective interpretations of the Old Testament.

Jefferson had no monopoly on hypocrisy.

Yeah, I've long noticed that "property" was a code word for slaves.

The World has been a rotten place a long time.

I keep thinking it can be improved, but of course I'm driving myself insane with frustration.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Elliot » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:40 pm

ygmir wrote:... between ones' right to pursue happiness, and infringing on another's ability to do the same.

That's the dilemma, yes. And now Eric has shown us that this is a philosophical matter, not a legal one. And of course it has been discussed before, as in the saying "Your rights end where my nose begins."

The pursuit of understanding continues, however unsteadily.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby ygmir » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:44 pm

Elliot wrote:
ygmir wrote:... between ones' right to pursue happiness, and infringing on another's ability to do the same.

That's the dilemma, yes. And now Eric has shown us that this is a philosophical matter, not a legal one. And of course it has been discussed before, as in the saying "Your rights end where my nose begins."

The pursuit of understanding continues, however unsteadily.


But, the law, came forth from the philosophical, no?
and, a "right" can be used as defense in legal matters, no?
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Elliot » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:19 pm

ygmir wrote:But, the law, came forth from the philosophical, no?

Methinks a great many laws came forth from the wallet.

ygmir wrote:and, a "right" can be used as defense in legal matters, no?

(Let's lighten up a little before I get another headache....)

Defendant: He needed killin'.

Citizens: Darn tootin'!

Judge: Dismissed.

:wink:
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Simon of the Playa » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:05 am

.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby ygmir » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:41 am

Simon of the Playa wrote:.


some are ambidextrous.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby BBadger » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:20 am

I take the "pursuit of happiness" part to mean more the pursuit of worldly things, i.e. the creation of "wealth." It sounds materialistic but it seems to fit into what is/was expected of the government: it is for protecting your life, your rights, and your ability to accomplish things with your life in the world.

A lot of those philosophies were prompted by the social upheavals at the time. The line "pursuit of happiness" was originally taken from Locke's concept of "estate", i.e. right to be property-owning. It was probably relevant at the time given the serf/peasant social structure, and would guarantee the ability of all men to ascend in ranks of society. Jefferson changed it to "pursuit of happiness" probably to not tie the right directly to the concept of property -- which was of main concern of time -- but more of a general concept that the government is not there to impose structures that interfere with social mobility, or social rights. A history of serfdom and peasantry was not so much on the minds of Americans as it might have been in Europe or other places, so a more broad categorization of those rights may have been desired.

I don't think there are any "precedents" set down by the "pursuit of happiness" but perhaps influences in operating procedure. Most civil rights, for example, are to ensure that people are able to access the same things as others (votes, facilities, jobs, sidewalks, marriage). While the "life" and "liberty" obligations may enable you to not be oppressed as an individual, it doesn't ensure that your social rights will be protected as enforced by the collective mass.

It'd also be pretty hard to claim a "precedent," as such rights at that level are more axiomatic, requiring first that the society acknowledge that rights are conferred at a specific level. Is "happiness" and such rights defined and enforced at the race level? Gender? Sexual preference? Religious? Privacy? Does a "person" need to be human, or are corporations individuals with the same rights? What about non-citizens? There are even some more "mundane" property rights questions have odd jurisdictions that may not fall under other paradigms, such as managing water rights given that water flows across multiple properties: do you allow people to collect rain water that should flow downstream to other water rights owners? I think overall, anyone claiming precedent would need to find an actual precedent that rules on a specific case related to the claim, not just some sort of "parallel" that may not be very strong. Otherwise, what is really needed is an actual fundamental ruling on rights from which other claims can refer to.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Elliot » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:29 pm

Quite so. In Jefferson's day, and at his social level, happiness was defined by the wealth to buy it, and wealth came from agricultural production, which came from the manpower to work the land. So more slaves equaled more happiness for the Founding Fathers.

This I believe is pretty well understood. And I mentioned it in my original post.

But I apparently live on a different planet. To me, happiness depends on a wide spectrum of circumstances outside of monetary wealth. I now live on nothing but Social Security, in a pathetic trailer-house, the paint is peeling off my car, and I have only chump-change in the bank. This does not prevent me from achieving happiness. But my neighbor's incessantly barking dog most certainly does.

I have asked him nicely, and I have even tried -- ever so gently -- to educate him about dog psychology (why dogs bark). He just laughs spitefully. To my mind, he is knowingly thwarting my pursuit of happiness, which includes peace and quiet in my home. Yes, there are laws against maintaining a public nuisance and such, but enforcement is often impractical.

And the barking dog is just an example. I read that youths are leaping from bridges to escape harassment by school mates. Such harassment, even if committed from ignorance and inadequate parenting, certainly must be considered interference with the pursuit of happiness, even if not a single dollar (or slave) is involved.

So that's where my mind is knocking about these days. Damnit.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Eric » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:41 pm

BBadger wrote:Most civil rights, for example, are to ensure that people are able to access the same things as others (votes, facilities, jobs, sidewalks, marriage).


This is funny.

Tell the people in states where they're making voting harder for the poor, the elderly & the "minorities" that their right to vote is ensured. Hell, tell the Supreme Court, which is deciding a case on that very subject, while people in Florida and Pennsylvania and Ohio and, and, and... were waiting 6-8 hours or more to vote in 2012 (primarily in Democratic leaning areas).

Tell the LGBT community that in the 29 states you can be fired just because you're gay. No other reason - no "bad performance" or screw-ups, your boss just doesn't like who you love on your own time.

Tell that to the LGBT community in the 41 states that currently don't allow (or recognize) gay marriage. Granted, that number is changing quickly - just today Delaware & Nevada (yea Nevada!) are taking it up.

Tell that to transgendered Americans in Arizona, fighting to retain the right to use the bathroom of their gender (SB1045 if you want to look up the bill). The current bill would also allow the owner of a store to deny access to a bathroom, locker room, shower... to anyone who doesn't fit that owners definition of the correct gender. Butch girl or fem guy, too bad, no loo for you!

Tell that to the Latino's and Native American communities (or anyone "brown") in Arizona, who can get stopped & have to prove they're legally here under the states "papers please" law.

Tell that to the women across this country denied equal access to pay, to sports facilities, to the right to walk down the street without being harassed.

etc.

The reason there is always a fight for "civil rights" is because the majority always like to have someone to look down on. Even within minority communities this division plays out (A-gays are better than gym-bunnies are better than drag-queens; light skinned African-American's are better than dark skinned African-Americans; Americans born of Chinese descent are better than foreign-born of Chinese descent...).

Just because the Constitution "guarantees" something doesn't mean you get it without a fight.

Now, how about some kittens in tea-cups:
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby gyre » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:54 pm

There is a lot of legal discussion about the legal significance of pursuit of happiness.
Many feel there is serious import to it.
i'm not qualified to explain it.
I suggest going to the academics that write in detail about it.
it isn't always a direct effect, but it does come into play.

It is a constant battle to protect any right and to stop oppression.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:25 pm

Elliott, check the California constitution. AFAIK it says "happiness" without the "pursuit" jazz. It's why I love CA.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Eric » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:47 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:Elliott, check the California constitution. AFAIK it says "happiness" without the "pursuit" jazz. It's why I love CA.


It does have the pursuit part, it just adds "obtaining" to the mix. Love CA as well!

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Ugly Dougly » Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:02 pm

I stand corrected. So now we know, thanks. :)
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:34 pm

I hope those kittens are okay. They seem awful small to be in those cups.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:12 pm

There's room for some steaming hot coffee. :coffee: :coffee:
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby ygmir » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:59 pm

I think you soak the kittens, then set them over a hot cup. when the cup cools, it sucks the kittens in easy, since they're wet.
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby Savannah » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:26 pm

:lol:
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Re: OT, Looking for a legal precedent

Postby PhoenixFemmeFatale » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:37 am

theCryptofishist wrote:I hope those kittens are okay. They seem awful small to be in those cups.

Maybe the kittens are regular sized and the cups are GIANT! Maybe those aren't kittens at all... Maybe they are ferrets on steroids! :lol:
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