Home » Home » Boaz’s Blog 006. Zika virus and the right to safety

Boaz’s Blog 006. Zika virus and the right to safety

zika-virus

I apologize for not writing this  article on eight rights of the Declaration of  Independence–seven of  them omitted by  the  Constitution.  Instead, because  each  of the eight rights deserves more discussion than can be given to it in one article, I have decided  to write eight articles on eight  rights of the Declaration; opining on what we have been missing due to each right’s omission from the Constitution and how, if all eight were in the Constitution, our lives would be better.

Rights exist independently of and are precedent to government. This is  confirmed by the Constitution, itself. The Ninth Amendment  states that, “the  enumeration, in  the Constitution, of certain  rights shall not be construed  to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Which of the people’s rights  are retained if not those of the Declaration of Independence? These are the rights revolutionaries fought , killed, and  died for, less than  a decade before the  Constitution was drafted.  The right to safety was  so important to the signers of the Declaration that they believed  any  new government should be established upon principles and powers most likely to affect the people’s safety  and happiness. It  is ironic and disappointing that the right to safety and  six other rights of the Declaration  of Independence were ignored  by the Constitution.

In contemporary society, it is reasonable that the  word “safety” applies to economic safety (having a stable economy with diverse job opportunities and a safe and healthful place to work), social  safety (e.g., the social security pension); environmental safety (having a  clean, non-polluting, sustainable environment); health safety (having preventable health  care, health maintenance  and treatment); educational safety (having a balanced education premised on the development of the multi-faceted and multi-skilled individuals); and homeland/military safety.

We can acknowledge the right to safety  as a right independent of the Constitution, but  unless it becomes a stated right of the Constitution it will  not be enforced by government nor held to be equal to constitutional rights by either the public or courts of law.  Let us  now question whether certain  events of the last fifteen  years would have happened had there been a long-standing constitutional right to safety.

  • Would the Louisiana levees have been properly maintained to hold during Hurricane Katrina?
  • Would the Clearwater Horizon Oil Spill have occurred?
  • Would there have been a Newtown Massacre had the Second Amendment been argued and interpreted in the context of the right to safety?
  • Would 9/11 have happened?
  • Would we have invaded Iraq without paying for it and jeopardizing economic security?
  • Would the financial risks and unsubstantiated exaggerations of assets, responsible for much of the economic upheaval of 2008-2012, have gone unnoticed  by regulators had there been a right to economic safety?
  • Would Plaza Towers Elementary School have had a safe room when the EF5 El Reno Tornado made its deadly strike?
  • Would universal health coverage exist today in the United States?
  • Would the Republican Party ignore overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change?
  • Would full contact football still be popular (or legal) in public high school?
  • Would background checks for all gun purchases be required and would cartridge limitations be placed on automatic and semi-automatic weapons?

Few of  the  above or similar events would have occurred had  there been a constitutional right to safety. For future reference, the executive branch’s budget needs more funds in reserve for unanticipated catastrophic events to reduce the dependence on  Congress for expeditious funding.

Puerto Rico is now in the  midst of a Zika crisis and Florida has reported its first cases of locally-contracted Zika. Health officials cannot promise containment. If there were a right  to safety, it is doubtful that Congress would have ignored pleas from the President and public health officials to return from a two-month recess  to fund Zika virus research which is directed towards the development of a vaccine to immunize women and their potential sexual partners to prevent microcephaly.

In  conclusion, America needs to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence by amending the Constitution to add a right to safety. Because of congressional dysfunction, this objective can only be accomplished by passage at an  Article Five Convention with ratification  by the state legislatures or ratifying conventions.

If you found this article to be provocative, you’ll find Boaz’s book, Seven Rights for Citizen Slackers to be revolutionary.  Expected publication in soft cover and e-book by late September or early October, 2016. Download 3 Free Chapters from the book here http://www.article5alive.org/signup/

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Next: Boaz’s blog 007. Capital Punishment and  the right  to life.