Our Rights Do Not Come From The Constitution

We all have rights. The primordial rights are the rights to our lives, our liberty, and our property. But where do these rights come from?

First of all, let us consider what exactly a right is. When you have a right to something, you own it. You have a title to it. It belongs to you. You’re allowed to do whatever you want with it.

Humans have certain rights simply by virtue of being born. You have a right to your body. You own it. It is undeniable that you can do whatever you want with your own body. If you want to punch yourself in the head, you can. If you want crack your knuckles, nobody can stop you. You can scream at the top of your lungs, do drugs, eat healthy, play sports. The list is endless. Your body is yours.

Laws can be written that prohibit you from doing certain things with your body or to your body. The government and its representatives can threaten you with punishment if you act a certain way. Laws can make it more difficult for you to do what you want to do. But the fact still remains, the ultimate arbiter of your actions is you and only you.

We also have a right to our liberty. Be it a gift of from god or the result of evolution, humans possess free will. Each of us can believe what we want to believe. We can say what we want to say. We can act how we want to act.

Certain beliefs will elicit disadvantageous responses from those we associate with. This may cause us to change our beliefs and our actions. Or it may not. Particular modes of speaking will  cause people to avoid us. Other manners of speaking will attract people to us. The same goes with the way we behave.

Laws can be passed prohibiting certain beliefs. The Catholics instituted the inquisition. The Nazis tried to wipe out the Jews. Under the Nazi regime, Jehova’s Witnesses were sent to the concentration camps if they didn’t disavow their religion. Many chose to be enslaved rather than abandon their faith.

Such is the nature of liberty. You have a right to it. You own it. Physical violence can stop you from doing certain things but it can’t extinguish your free will. You may face repercussions but you have a right to your thoughts and your actions.

Our property is what we create with our intellect and our physical exertion. If you have mixed your labor and your smarts with given elements provided by the environment, your have brought a piece of property into existence. The result of these efforts belongs to you. You have a right to it.

All property is owned by somebody. If no labor or intelligence has been applied to certain physical matter, it isn’t yet property. It still belongs to the realm of nature. Since property must be owned by somebody, it is only natural that property must be owned by the person who brought it into existence.

A property owner has a right to do with their property as they please. They can sell it in exchange for somebody else’s property, they can bequeath it to their heirs, they can use it for charitable purposes. Once property trades hands, the new owner has a right to do as they please with the property.

Governments may use force to take property from us, as in the case of eminent domain, or taxes. Certain people may complain about how a property owner chooses to use their possession. Property can be used in a way that is wasteful so that the property doesn’t last for very long.

Human beings, by virtue of their work and intelligence, have a right to their property. They can resist giving up their property to the government. They can refuse to pay taxes. There will certainly be consequences to such a course of action. But the fact remains. People have a right to property. They own it and can do with it as they please.

It must be noted that only individuals have rights. Person, property, and liberty cannot be acted upon by society or by a majority or by any other collective group.

Groups of individuals can all decide to act a certain way. Groups of individuals may all agree to coordinate their use of property. Groups of individuals may all share the same religious beliefs. But in the end, individuals and individuals alone have rights.

Also important is that all human beings have rights. Rights are not the sole possession of people in a particular country. Rights do not only belong to citizens of a certain social strata. The poor have the same rights as the rich. We all have a right to our person, property, and liberty.

In the Declaration of Independence as well as in the preamble to the United States Constitution, there is language to effect that governments are created to protect our rights. Governments are not created to dictate our rights to us.

Rights exists regardless of whether there is a government or not. Rights exists whether you live under a monarchy or a constitutional republic. Rights exist independently of laws and codes.

Of course, our rights don’t include the power to infringe upon the rights of others. We own ourselves, our liberty, and our own property. Every other person has the same rights.

Concepts such as the right to a fair wage, the right to healthcare, the right to home ownership, the right to a decent education are impossible. All of these services must be provided by other people. A fair wage must be delivered by the owner of the money. Healthcare must be provided by a doctor. Homes must be built with labor provided by the bodies of other individuals. Education requires teachers.

The only way to secure such rights would be to violate rights. But nobody possess a title, ownership, or a right to the person, property, and liberty of anybody but themselves. Even if a majority votes to take property from a minority, the violation of rights still occurs.

Amendments to the Constitution, new laws, or a Supreme Court ruling don’t change the nature of the matter one iota. Rights are rights.

The Constitution has done a poor job of protecting us against infringements upon our rights. We’re better off securing our rights in the name of our humanity.

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2 Responses to Our Rights Do Not Come From The Constitution

  1. Alex Jones says:

    Outside of civilisation an individual is free to do as they please, to think as they please. The moment an individual enters in civilisation it all changes, a social contract is made with obligations and rights. The person is less free in civilisation, but life is easier.

    State should exist for the benefit of the people (so says Plato) and I agree with that.

  2. Unless the State is the prime violator of rights, in which case the individual, by virtue of preexisting rights, must have the opportunity to opt out of the state.

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