Empirical rights and self-determination

Just this morning I heard on the radio that just after midnight of 15 November 2011, New York City sent police in riot gear to clear Zuccotti Park of ‘Occupy Wall Street‘ protesters.

Just this morning New York City Major Michael Bloomberg got on TV and promised that the privately-owned park would reopen later today. Protesters could return after the clean up of the park, but they are no longer permitted to set up tents, bring in sleeping bags, or camp there for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7).

In other words, you are free to protest in Zuccotti Park in order to exercise your First Amendment to the US Constitution right to freedom of speech, and/or the right to peaceably assemble and petition for a redress of grievances; just make sure that at the end of the day you can afford a meal at a fine New York City restaurant, and can afford to stay at such fine establishments as the Millenium Hilton Hotel. You have, in essence, a theoretical right to freedom of speech, so you can almost say anything you want, but free speech, in and of itself, is no longer a right, nor is it free (gratis).

As a practical manner, what this means is that you can protest in Zuccotti Park, but it is probably not possible to protest for long unless 1) you live with your parents; 2) they approve and support your protest and what it aims to accomplish; and 3) you live within New York City public transportation distance of Zuccotti Park. All other Americans, which have the same rights at least in theory under the US Constitution, including adults who can pay their way to a degree, are not really free to protest in Zuccotti Park for long. They have a First Amendment to the US Constitution and thus sacrosanct right to freedom of speech, but not in Zuccotti Park, or not for long. Translation: the First Amendment to the US Constitution, in a consumer society, is no longer an unalienable right of all, but a privilege of the well-to-do, or entirely dependent on personal circumstances.

The secessionist, or Fourth World form of micronationalism, runs on a logic similar to the one of New York City bureaucrats above. Under this mode of thinking, you have a right to self-determination, but only if you are well-to-do, or live under particular circumstances, and in a particular place. That by definition is not an unalienable right, however, but a fully paid for privilege.

The non-secessionist, or Fifth World form of micronationalism, which usually makes only irredentist, and/or cybernetic, and/or virtual claims, is truer to the meaning of right to self-determination. Under this mode of thinking, you do not need to be well-to-do, although it might help, nor do you need to live under particular circumstances, and in a particular place to have a right to self-determination. Moreover, this form of micronationalism also allows for small land (secessionist) claims, such as to one’s personal property. The difference here is that nobody forces a neighbour to change jurisdiction if he/she doesn’t want to, and all these (distributed, not concentrated in a single area) foreign houses can be reorganised as diaxenospitias.

It is clear that the Fifth World mode of thinking is more in tune with real human rights than the Fourth World mode of thinking; the Fifth World mode of thinking is not like an on-and-off switch in human rights terms; and even Fourth World nations or micronations can make substantial gains over time by at least adopting a partial Fifth World approach, which does allow alien cultures to survive, even thrive outside the lands of origin, while a pure Fourth World approach does not allow this without logical contradictions, and can only really succeed through the persistant use of force or violence in the long term.

Rights ultimately dependent of the use of force have little or nothing to do with true self-determination, since they are no different than rights dependent on the perspective of a legal positivist.

International organisations need to abandon the exclusive Fourth World mode of thinking, and adopt a more Fifth World mode of thinking if they wish to succeed, a mode of thinking which is more in tune with actual universal rights, but perhaps less sustaining of particular Montevideo Convention fundamentalisms. If people don’t have real rights regardless of their material status, and regardless of their social rank, or place of birth, then these so-called rights will eventually degrade into theoretical rights, or empirical privileges (only de jure rights, but de facto privileges), and there will be no such thing as universal rights (which can only exist as de jure and de facto rights), which are more dependent on universal ethical principles, and our spiritual dignity as Children of God, than on anything else corrupt human beings can muster with the laws/ways of man, which are usually counter to the laws/ways of God.

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