- Published: June 5, 2015
In the evolution of the animals in our world today, most species have discovered that the best life can be found in a social environment. For example, wolves form packs with a single leader that travel and hunt together. For many, this means they forfeit the right to lead their own hunts, travel and lives in general. In return, they are guaranteed sources of food and protection throughout their lives. Humans have also followed such a “social contract”. We have formed governments with leaders and we employ police officers to ensure the safety of the people in our communities. As a price for our safety, however, we also forfeit the ability to do everything that we may want to do. We cannot hurt, kill, or steal from others. Where can we draw the line of the rights that we have, the ones we forfeit, and those that are unalienable?
As Americans, we are given the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. According to our social contract, these rights can be taken away. For instance, if someone commits a murder, or takes away another’s right to life, then the murder’s right to life can also be taken away. This eye for an eye idea seems to be the basis of our penal system. We all act under the government, because the government protects many of our basic rights, but we also give up a lot to be a part of the society. What rights do we have that are unalienable? How do those rights change for those of an altered mental status?