George Carlin discusses the American Bill of Temporary Privileges

| February 20, 2012 | 3 Replies

According to George Carlin, Americans don’t really have a Bill of Rights, and they are not really given to us by any god. Rather, we have a bill of temporary privileges that can be revoked at any time, and often are.

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Category: Civil Rights, Law

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    On swearing on the bible:

    I distinctly recall a scene from courtroom drama, on tv a few years back, where a Japanese businessman was sworn in on a bible as a witness. The cross examining attorney, pointed out that since the the witness was not Christian, an oath taken on a bible was meaningless and had the witness swear on his ancestors’ spirits, as was customary for his religion.

    This make me wonder if there are people who honestly believe that only the fear of some form of magical retribution can compel someone to be truthful.

    When I was a child we had this oath (among many):

    “Cross my heart, hope to die,
    Stick a needle in my eye”

    • Erich Vieth says:

      It would seem that witnesses should be subjected to a day-long inquisition regarding their understanding of the Bible before we should accept that making them swear on it will actually make them tell only the truth. It does seem like hocus-pocus to me, given the hundreds of lies I’ve seen in courtrooms and depositions, all out of the mouths of people who swear to tell the truth. One additional problem is that many people can, with rehearsal, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance (among other cognitive biases) convince themselves of anything. With a bit of work, they can swear that many false things are true, and they can do this in good conscience.

  2. Adam Herman says:

    What I don’t get is that Jesus said not to make oaths. that seems a pretty direct rejection of something Jesus himself said.

    As for Carlin, I think he’s dead wrong. It’s true that the government has occasionally tried to rescind portions of the bill of rights, but that doesn’t make them any less natural rights. It just means that occasionally governments overstep their bounds and has to be put back in its place. We are not ruled. The government performs a service for us. When it attempts to rule us, it needs to be reminded of its place in our society. Government occupies a subordinate place. It serves us, we do not serve it.

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