That Which They Value Most

I once heard a comedian complain that the problem with 80s music is that there are no good protest songs, unless you count Fight for Your Right to Party by the Beastie Boys. Maybe I was too young to notice but the 80s weren’t a big decade for protests. These days people are protesting pretty much everything. But all most of them are really fighting for is their right to party.

This is why people don’t care that there is no longer a fourth amendment in this country.

“Hey, did you know that the government has been listening to your phone calls and reading your e-mails for the past 12 years?”

“Shut up, man! I’m trying to watch Big Brother 15.”

And it’s the same reason why so many people are ready to march on Washington, or Los Angeles, or New York or wherever the Food Network headquarters are located, to let their voice be heard in support of Paula Deen. Canning the woman who teaches us how to deep fry shrimp in a five gallon pot of butter does serious harm to our right to party.

It’s why we like to talk about women’s rights when it has to do with a girl that doesn’t want her baby but we don’t care so much for the rights of the baby. It’s why my local news station jumps at the opportunity to tell me about politicians in Texas fighting for a woman’s right to an abortion while saying almost nothing about babies in Philadelphia who would just like to be delivered full-term without having scissors pushed through the back of their heads.

It seems as if the only rights most of us really care about in this country are our own. And even among those rights, there is one that takes precedent over all others. The right to be entertained. The right to party.

When the history books are written on the country formerly known as the United States of American, our nation will be remembered as one that was established by men who sacrificed their own lives for basic human rights. Free speech. Freedom of the press. The right to bear arms. But we will also be remembered as a nation that fell because somewhere along the way we started fighting for the wrong rights.

History has shown us that those societies which value the right to party over essential human liberty are always punished by being given that which they value most.