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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Rights and Privileges of U.S. Citizens.

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Author Topic: Rights and Privileges of U.S. Citizens.
Shane Roe
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I've been asked to give a short presentation on the "rights and privileges of U.S. Citizens" to some kids, but honestly, I'd like some kind of clear definition to distinguish between the two in a way that kids can understand. Maybe some concrete examples of each. If any of you would like to help me out, I'd appreciate it very much.

Shane

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Right: Free speech, bear arms, religion, etc.

Priveleges: Free education, social security, protection when travelling, etc.

--Firedrake

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aupton15
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What are the ages you're dealing with?
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Everard
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I'm assuming elementary school kids.

A right is something no one can tell you you are not allowed to do.

A privelege is something you earn in some way.

If they are elementary school kids, good examples might be that they have the privelege of watching TV, but they have the right to eat.

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cperry
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Depending on how young they are, you might find it useful/interesting to introduce the concept that our definitions of rights and privileges have changed over time and are different in different cultures. The "right" to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was a pretty radical idea at one time. Now we accept it as a given, at least here and now in the US.
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vulture
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Call me a lunatic, but is it worth also mentioning something about the responsibilities of being a citizen as well? Rights carry with them the burden of using them responsibly (not legally, of course, but being a good citizen isn't legally enforceable either). Priveledges more obviously depend on those benefiting from them to help provide them for others. Education for example: if you benefit from a free education, you have some responsibility to contribute, either financially or otherwise, to providing that for others later on.
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FIJC
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quote:
"I've been asked to give a short presentation on the "rights and privileges of U.S. Citizens" to some kids, but honestly, I'd like some kind of clear definition to distinguish between the two in a way that kids can understand. Maybe some concrete examples of each. If any of you would like to help me out, I'd appreciate it very much."
It probably won't help you now, but I highly recommend reading, or at least glancing through, FA Hayek's Constitution of Liberty.
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Adam Lassek
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The difference between Rights and privileges are pretty simple. A Right is something you have sovereign authority over, that you do not have to ask permission to do. You have the Right to free speech, so you can say what you like without asking anyone's permission to do so.

A privilege is something accorded to you by a higher power. You have to get a driver's license to drive a car on public roads. You have to get a marriage licence to get a civil marriage. These things are privileges.

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Shane Roe
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quote:
Originally posted by aupton15:
What are the ages you're dealing with?

These kids are 10-11.
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Shane Roe
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quote:
Originally posted by vulture:
Call me a lunatic, but is it worth also mentioning something about the responsibilities of being a citizen as well?

Indeed, Vulture. I didn't mention it, but I fully intended to talk to them about that--for example, the right to vote carries the responsibility of voting knowledgably--it's not enforcable of course, but nevertheless, it's irresponsible to vote without any clue as to the issues or the individuals running.

Shane

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Shane Roe
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Thanks for all your well-thought out responses. I knew I could count on you. I'll be better able to handle the subject tonight when I address it.

Shane

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FiredrakeRAGE
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I would be curious as to their response to your presentation. If you think it worthwhile, perhaps we could get an after-action report?

--Firedrake

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Snowden
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We are so quick to talk about rights and privileges and slow to talk about duties and responsibilites.

It speaks to a poverty in our national character, that we are scared to speak frankly about responsibility.

You aren't a lunatic vulture. It's just a that people don't want to touch the third rail.

[ January 05, 2005, 05:55 PM: Message edited by: Snowden ]

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