George Carlin, one of my heroes . . .

George Carlin’s last comedy special, “It’s Bad For Ya.” on HBO in March 2008 and his ending commentary (there’s swearing because I wrote it verbatim). Pictures added (to make a point) and found via the web.


“. . . . Folks, I hate to spoil your fun but there’s no such thing as rights, okay.

They’re imaginary. We made them up, like the Boogie Man, the Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio, Mother Goose, shit like that.

Rights are an idea. They’re just imaginary.

They’re a cute idea. Cute but that’s all.

Cute and fictional.

But if you think you do have rights let me ask you this, where do they come from?

People say, “Well, they come from God. They’re God-given rights.”

Oh fuck, here we go again. Here we go again.

The God excuse.


The last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument, “They came from God.”

Anything we can’t describe must have come from God.

Personally, folks, I believe that if your rights came from God he would have given you the right to some food everyday, and he would have given you the right to a roof over your head.

God would have been looking out for you.

God would have been looking out for you, you know that?

He wouldn’t have been worrying about making sure you have a gun so you can get drunk on Sunday night and kill your girlfriend’s parents.

But let’s say it’s true. Let’s say God gave us there rights.

Why would he give us a certain number of rights?

The Bill of Rights in this country has ten stipulations, okay.

Ten rights.


And apparently God was doing sloppy work that week because we’ve had to amend the Bill of Rights an additional 17 times, so God forgot a couple of things like . . . slavery.


Just fucking slipped his mind.

But let’s say God gave us the original ten.

He gave the British 13. The British Bill of Rights has 13 stipulations.

The Germans have 29.

The Belgians have 25.

The Swedish have only 6.

And some people in the world have no rights at all.

What kind of a fucking, goddamn, God-giving deal is that?

No rights at all?

Why would God give different people in different countries different numbers of different rights?



Bad arithmetic?

Do we find out at long last after all this time that God is weak in math skills?

Doesn’t sound like divine planning to me.

Sounds more like human planning.

Sounds more like one group trying to control another group.

In other words, business as usual in America.


(Dorothy Cooper – The widely publicized case of 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper, of Chattanooga, who ran into problems seeking a free photo ID to vote under a new Tennessee law . . . . Side note: In 2008, Hamilton County voters cast 74,417 ballots. This year, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, only 37,844 voters cast ballots. news article on March 7th, 2012; Dorothy Cooper, woman in photo ID snag, finally gets to vote.)

Now, if you think you have rights, one last assignment for you.

Next time you’re at the computer get on the internet. Go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia I want you to type in Japanese Americans 1942, and you’ll find out all about your precious fucking rights, okay.

All right. You know about it. You know about it.



In 1942 there were 110,000 Japanese-American citizens in good standing, law-abiding people, who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That’s all they did wrong.

They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers. No right to due process of any kind.

They only right they had?


Right this way into the internment camps.

Just when these American citizens needed their rights the most, their government took them away, and rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away.

They’re privileges.

That’s all we’ve ever had in this country is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter and shorter. You see how silly that is.


Sooner or later the people in this country are going to realize the government does not give a fuck about them.

The government doesn’t care about you or your children or your rights or your welfare or your safety.

It simply doesn’t give a fuck about you.

It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing keeping it and expanding it wherever possible. Personally, when it comes to rights, I think one of two things is true. I think either we have unlimited rights or we have no rights at all. Personally I lean toward unlimited rights . . . .”

R.I.P. Mr. Carlin and thank you for putting the special into HBO Comedy.


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