What I want my kids to know about the constitution.
Part I – Where do rights come from? What rights do we have? Who defends your rights?
There is a “holy trinity” of the concepts that underpin human rights. The first concerns origin of rights. The second is about the nature of rights. The third is who these rights belong to.
Rights exist without a written list. They exist without agreement between individuals. They exist regardless of time or place. They exist without language. They exist whether a culture values them or not.
How can rights exist without human consent or agreement? Simple really, they are given to us by our creator. No matter your religious preference, and even if you are not religious at all, your rights are yours because you are a unique human being. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and yes, Atheists, all have the same natural rights.
You might feel it ironic to tell an Atheist that his rights come from a creator. After all, Atheists don’t believe in a creator. That, however, is not the point. The point is that rights exist whether you believe or not. Rights don’t care about your disbelief as to where they come from.
The next thing you need to know about the origin of rights is that they are inalienable. Inalienable means “cannot be taken away.” Some cultures do not allow their citizens to practice all of their rights. The force of a tyrant does not, however, affect the concept of rights being inalienable.
Your rights can be taken away by force or by consent. However, they remain yours regardless. Every individual has to choose to what point he will defend his rights. Some will die fighting. Some will acquiesce to being controlled.
Deciding not to “fight the power” does not mean your rights are gone. It just means you are not currently enjoying them. They are still there, they are still accessible, but they are being withheld from you. You retain them, regardless of your circumstance. You can assert them at any time you choose.
So the first two concepts – that rights come from your creator and that they are inalienable – have a lot in common. Both ideas are permanent and immalleable. You and your circumstances might change but your rights do not change. They are permanent, fixed and perpetual.
What rights do all humans have?
The declaration of independence gives us a little taste.
1) The right to life.
2) The right to liberty.
3) The right to pursue that which makes you happy.
What rights follow these three principals?
The right to life.
1) The right to defend yourself.
2) The right to defend your family, friends or even complete strangers.
3) The right of those too weak to defend themselves to, nonetheless, live.
The right to liberty
1) Freedom of speech
2) Freedom of religion.
3) The right to travel.
4) The right not to be enslaved or detained without cause.
5) Freedom of association.
The right to pursue what makes you happy
1) The right to choose what kind of work you do
2) The right to private property.
3) The right to the proceeds from your labors.
All of these rights exist without the Constitution. The Constitution does name some of these rights, but it does not specifically name others. The constitution makes it clear that the rights it does grant to the government are “enumerated,” which means defined and listed. It also makes clear that all other rights not enumerated are held by individuals.
This concept, that all rights are held at the individual level, is the third of the “holy trinity” of understanding the entire concept of human rights.
Imagine if instead of rights being held by individuals, they were held by groups. If this were the case, and you were in a group that did not have a specific right, then that other group, as individuals, would have superior rights than you. In other words, individual rights evaporate when group rights come into existence.
The push and pull of modern “Liberal vs. Conservative” thinking all comes down to battling over these three concepts. Liberals believe that rights are created by man. If rights are created by man, then rights can be taken away by man. The founding fathers did not believe this.
Similarly, modern liberals believe that rights can be traded for benefits. Inalienable does not only mean “cannot be taken away,” it also means “cannot be given away.” In other words, you cannot trade freedom for safety, you cannot trade rights for payments and you cannot trade responsibility for control. The founding fathers would be ashamed of how many of our rights we have surrendered to our government.
Finally, modern liberals do not believe in the individual retention of rights. They regularly favor the poor over the rich, the minority over the majority and all things female over all things male. They believe that you have to give some groups “more” rights in order that they become “equal” to the other groups. They are willing to throw away the very concept of equality in pursuit of equality. In other words, they are willing to trade principals for practicality. An all-inclusive mantra of the left might be “the ends justify the means.”
Free individuals pursuing their own happiness produce uneven results. Some people win and some lose. Some succeed and some fail. Some become rich and some remain poor. The founders believed that we would get to equality by treating people equally. They were huge believers in charity – a fundamental Christian dogma. They knew that the successful would always take care of the less fortunate because they felt duty-bound to do so. It is no surprise that conservatives give 30% more than liberals do to charity, despite earning less.
Modern liberals believe we have to force people toward equality, by punishing some and rewarding others. They do not believe in the fundamental goodness of humanity and how it drives the more fortunate toward altruism. They believe people have to be forced to behave correctly.
As a side note – the founding fathers were called “Liberal” for their ideas. Their ideas were all about individual “liberty.” Today we call them “classic liberals” because their ideas bear no resemblance to modern liberalism. On the other hand, old school conservatives preferred not to rock the boat. They thought monarchy was the way to go. They wanted to “conserve” the status quo.
Modern liberals, come from a Marxist lineage. Instead of treating people equally, they would rather achieve equality through control and force. They believe that individuals are too stupid or weak to control their own lives. You have no doubt heard the phrase that “with great rights come great responsibilities.” The modern left does not believe that humans are capable in acting in a responsible manner.
Another word you might hear a modern liberal call himself is “progressive.” This is an even more tragic label. The beliefs of the modern progressive movement started in the early 1900’s and include Darwinism, Marxism, Fascism, Nazism and the eugenics movement just to name a few. They were truly despicable people and brought us things like the right to abortion as a way to cut down on the rising black population.
It should never take you by surprise when a liberal wants to play “social engineer.” It is what they do. They would happily scrap the constitution and all of its principals if it weren’t for the fact that some of us still believe in the founding fathers vision.
One the most common things you might hear a conservative called is “old fashioned.” We are constantly told that our ideas are “old.”
This is, however, blatantly untrue. The American experiment ended 10,000 years of tyranny with a “new” idea. The “new” idea was that man would have as much individual freedom as possible. The “new” idea was that man didn’t need to be controlled. This idea is only about 250 years old. It is a very new idea – considering the timeline of human history.
America and its new ideas have been directly responsible for freeing hundreds of millions of people from slavery and tyranny. America feeds much of the world today. America fights intellectually, fiscally and physically, all over the world, for people who aren’t fortunate enough to be free.
On the other hand, Marxism, socialism and Nazism have killed or made slaves out of hundreds of millions of people. So which idea should be made fun of? The “old” idea of men having rights and responsibilities? Or the “new” idea of command and control? As is their habit, liberals confuse old with new, just as they confuse group rights vs. individual rights.
I put it to you that the only people with “old” ideas are modern day liberals and their obsession with controlling people using a centralized government. Indeed, that is the oldest system we know of.
Rights come from our creator.
They cannot be given or taken away.
They belong to individuals alone.
Modern liberals have nothing whatsoever in common with classic liberals. They are socialist, communist and fascist in nature.
The fight over bigger government or smaller government and between a nanny state and individual responsibility is a fight between modern conservatives and modern liberals.
Modern liberals prefer the old idea of command and control.
Modern conservatives are the exact same people as classic liberals. They believe in the “new” idea of individual rights and individual responsibilities.
So, ask yourself, “Can free men be trusted to rule themselves?” If you answer yes, congratulations, you are a conservative.