On reflection, this may be all that all rights are: the practical result of a balance of power. Why do we have the “right” to vote? Because voting is a proxy for combat. Rather than spill a lot of blood over every political disagreement, potential combatants realized it is easier and less destructive to count up the number of combatants on each side and award electoral victory to the likely winner of a real battle: same result, far fewer casualties, even for the winners. But this logic only pertains to those who might actually show up on the field of battle. There is a reason that membership in the state militia used to be a prerequisite for voting in America.
Rights, it appears, belong to those strong enough to enforce them. There are occasional times, such as in the former United States, where those in charge have the conviction and curiosity to permit rights to those weaker than themselves, but those times are fleeting, as the inheritors of such noble sentiments are rarely so noble themselves.
You are walking through the woods when you come upon a grizzly bear. It sees you and draws near. Whatever you’re able to do in the next few moments constitute the full the extent of your “natural rights” in this world. Everything else is a privilege.
The Left is successful at pushing its cultural agenda because, unlike the mainstream Right, its ideology is guided by a very simple principle: equality/inclusion. The libertarian sort of right-wingers have freedom as an ideal, but cultural conservatives only have a convoluted mess of post hoc rationalizations. You’ll notice that the Right’s “freedom” agenda has fared mush better over the years than its cultural agenda.
To analyze this thing on the basis of specific issues is to miss-the-forest-for-the-trees. When it comes to specific issues, the Left is just as full of convoluted rationalizations as the Right, but their rationalizations flow out of their prior commitment to their egalitarian first principles.
I’m not saying that leftist egalitarianism flows primarily out of some dutiful, disinterested adherence to principle. Most are just following their innate inclinations, but they are helped in doing so by the fact that their thought leaders have provided them a coherent moral justification for their interests. The leaders on our side have failed to give us the same.
Incidentally, this is why Trump’s America First messaging was successful. It provides a similar simple message grounded in an easily comprehensible concept of putting the interests of American citizens before the concerns of everyone else.
A major failing of many high-IQ people is the tendency to argue against and over-complicate simple truths. There is a conceit that everything is open to challenge and debate when many things are not.
Consider the following statements:
Men prefer women who are prettier.
Women prefer men who earn more money.
A man contributes the sperm and a woman contributes the egg.
Not all people are equally smart or beautiful.
People are born smarter or duller, and smart kids usually turn into smart adults.
Smart parents tend to have smart kids.
People don’t want to live near crime.
If crime is not punished, there will be more crime.
Most people are comforted by religion.
Advanced societies tend to have smarter people than primitive societies.
Certain types of people are better at certain types of jobs.
All of these statements are basic truisms across time and place. Most people around the world (past and present) know these things. They are pretty close to immutable laws. They don’t call for debate and or endless footnotes. They aren’t a challenge. They are just examples of the terms of human reality. The sooner you can accept these and many other little realities, the sooner you can get to the important business of succeeding in the framework that we have.
And yet it seems many modern, high IQ people are drawn to want to argue and modify things like these. Many high IQ people get stuck unproductively or even destructively trying to fight the terms of our reality. This or that part offends them.
They do not grasp the lesson of King Canute, or do not understand that so much of what they see as a challenge is simply beyond their power to change.
Parenthetically, I know it’s a variation on Lord Tennyson. Improve on Tennyson? The audacity of an epigone. Really though, with out the rest of its context, the phrase flows better this way.