Friday, August 2, 2013

Quote of the Day: Ed Feulner on the origin of our "Constitutional" rights

This is something that I am amazed that has to be explained to people.  I have had this very discussion with friends, which is why this quote resonated with me.  I completely agree that this is very widely misunderstood.  It is not the government which grants rights.  Rather, it is our rights that need to be protected from government.  Historically, it is government itself that has trampled on the rights of individuals ... and continues to do so to this day.

From Ed Feulner:
The Constitution doesn't grant us freedoms; it prohibits government from taking them. Nearly all of us, at one time or another, refer to our 'constitutional right to free speech.' While this common phrase may seem harmless, it points to a larger misunderstanding of where our rights come from -- a misunderstanding that undermines many of our most fundamental policy debates. The fact is, the U.S. Constitution protects our God-given rights from government. The government does not (as the phrase above implies) grant those rights to us as citizens. This is perhaps the most widely misunderstood aspect of our system of government.

In case you forgot, this is clearly stated in our Declaration of Independence.
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, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of 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.
Rights come from God.  Governments are instituted to secure these rights, not to create them--because they cannot.

The latter part of that quote from the Declaration might deserve a little more attention as time goes on...