One of my friends sent a book to another friend. The name of the book was “Gratitude”, and its author was William Buckley. Well, the first friend is a very mannerly fellow, and he said that he was thankful for the book. He added that the gift of a book by Mr. Buckley was prompted by my second friend’s hope to make him a kind of right wing extremist.
My second friend simply replied that there was nothing “right wing” about the book. He seemed, to me, to be upset that my first friend’s gratitude for “Gratitude” was unalloyed. (An aside, here. I wonder if gratitude is ever unalloyed. Is it possible to be thankful to God, for an example,…assuming you are among those who believe in God…without there being a scintilla of wishing things were better?)
But, is not gratitude itself a rather conservative and traditional practice, and who is to say there is a right to its relative purity, or, indeed, a right to it purely? So, I think my first friend may be, umm, right. This is especially so in the case of being thankful for those things which are sometimes merely poetically or metaphorically referred to as gifts. When, for instance, was the last time you “thanked” your parents for the gift of your nose, ear lobes, your Grandma’s voice, your Grandpa’s violent temper; or thanked God for any of that stuff, for that matter.
For another, related, instance how does one thank the government for doing something , or allowing something, which one is then led to believe, or claim, is a “right” endowed by mere existence, or life-style choice; a “birth right” to be exact, as the mere ability to make a “life-style” choice is claimed to be.
I speak here of all of those rights recently discovered by Learned Justices, and much endorsed and heavily lobbied for by liberals and “advocacy” groups, which are organizations of liberals: homosexual rights, trans-gender rights, minority rights, women’s rights, animal rights, the right to die or be killed mercifully, the right to a living wage, the right not to be bothered by signs of religion, the right not to pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic for which it stands and in which all of these rights are to be found, and by which guaranteed, the right to be tolerantly intolerant; except, of course, for the right to life itself which, it appears, is not. It was rescinded in 1973 when it became the first “birth right” to be optional; the option in every case being exercised by someone other than the person to whom the right applied.
It is, on the whole, a more subtle, nuanced, distinct and complex approach to the entire question of rights than poor Mr. Jefferson was capable of back in the Dark Ages at the close of the 18th Century when subtlety, nuance, distinction and complexity were still confined to matters of choosing wine. We may wish, in our own way and not at any point infringing on the rights of anyone else while doing so, to give thanks, howsoever we choose, or do not choose to do, for those rights which we have, and may yet discover or be given by learned Justices or dedicated government administrators and public spirited legislators. As citizens we have, I think, the right to do so, ever tolerant of the need not to abridge the rights of those who do not think as we do on the matter.
Mr. Buckley had, of course, the right to write the book, and one may have
a right to an opinion about it, but it should be understood that opinions, except those pronounced by Learned Justices of our Supreme Court are
subject to trial, and are therefore not rights in the strict sense that
the learned and nuance capable Justices have determined. Despite the
titles of books named “Gratitude” there is as yet no right to it. And, we may be thankful for that, though there is no right…yet…guaranteeing the correctness of such an act of gratitude.
Should there occur to you, upon reading through the list of rights that there may be some I have missed, please reply in the comments section with your additions. Confine your remarks to rights defined and discerned by the proper authorities, of course. I will exercise my not quite right to express my gratitude.
A finer piece of nonsense I do not think I have ever written.