“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
What are unalienable rights and how is it self evident that we are endowed with these rights? If governments are instituted to secure these rights what happens when they no longer fulfill their purpose? If government derives their power from the consent of the governed what happens if we withdraw our consent?
In order to understand what an unalienable right is we need to first cast off the mutilated definition that modern day politicians have used as a tag-line to justify almost anything they may do as elected officials. To use a simple example, imagine that you live on an island with two other people, and by mutual consent you each own an equal portion of the island. In this simple situation, what are the natural rights you have?
You have the right to life, which means, you have the right to not be killed by the other members of society, and in turn you do not have the right to kill, and by extension of this right you also have the right to self defense. Nor can the two other members of the society get together and decide that, because they are in the majority, they can go and kill the third member.
You have the right to liberty, which means, you have the right to believe what you want to believe, say what you want to say, worship as you would like. Nor can the two other members of the society get together and decide, because they are the majority, that they don’t like what you say, or how you worship, and force you to stop.
You have the right to pursue happiness, which means that you as an individual can do whatever makes you happy as long as that does not infringe on the rights or property of the other members of society. You have the right to lay in a hammock all day sipping on coconuts if you decide, or you could build a home, a farm, a manufacturing plant, a medical practice or any other number of productive activities. You have a right to keep the product of whatever labor you do on your property. You do NOT have a right to the labor or the product of the labor of the other members of the society, even if the other two decide that because they are in the majority they can force it from you, and by extension you have the right to protect your property. You have the right to allow or deny anyone else on you property, and you do not have the right to go on the other peoples property without permission. If laws are established they should be applied equally amongst all members of society, and should be applied impartially.
I would hope that all rational minded people would find these rights described above as self evidently true. It was for the violation of these basic natural rights that our Founding Fathers first petitioned the British government to be given, and was then also the reason given for going to war with the tyrant King George to secure.
The Founders were so wary of the overreach of a central government that their first attempt, known as the Articles of Confederation, were so weak as to leave the central government with almost no power. The second try was also extremely limited in the power that the states delegated to the Federal government. The U.S. Constitution laid out very specifically a set of enumerated powers, with the original assumption, by all involved in the process, that the document would bind down the Federal government to those specific powers and responsibilities.
Alexander Hamilton went so far as to argue against a “bill of rights” being included in the Constitution stating: “Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain everything, they have no need of particular reservations.” He continues:
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?
In the end of course, the Bill of Rights was included as part of the Constitution, and was meant to restrict the new Federal Government from infringing on those God-given, self-evident rights that all of us should demand and fight for, and for which we set up and establish governments.
“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness”
The Founding Fathers set up an ingenious system of government based on an extensive study of history and philosophy, and set up a system with branches of government with divided powers, and check and balances to ensure that interests, and ambition would not overwhelm the system.
As we have extended, through the courts, the legislature, and the executive branch, the scope and role of the Federal government beyond the original intent, and actual text and enumerated powers outlined in the Constitution we have lost liberties, and it is high time that we withdraw our consent from the Federal government to continue on the course that it is on. It is no longer acceptable to elect the lesser of two evils, we need to find principled candidates who understand natural rights and will protect our liberties from an out of control tyrannical government.
Stand up, get educated, and know where the candidates stand on our individual liberties, and then demand that they protect us from those who regard our liberties as subject to the “greater good” of society. Whether that be from a single tyrant at the top, or the “will of the people” in a majority vote. Our rights are not subject to the whim of an individual or the vote of the people. These rights should be protected at all costs, and is the foremost responsibility of government.
“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce (the people)under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”
We have elected politicians into office with the best of intentions, we have tried to express our displeasure with what is going on in the federal government, we have mailed, emailed, called, gone to town hall meetings, we have shown up at protests and demonstrations. We have been peaceful and sought to have our voices heard by those we put our trust in to go to Washington and protect our rights, and still the violations of our rights come on almost a daily basis.
“In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A (insert your elected officials name here), whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
Lets all assert our natural rights and demand that they be protected and make sure those we put in public office are there with the sole purpose to protect those rights.