What are Rights?

The term Rights get used so much by both sides and each side has a different definition. The political right uses the definition our Founding Fathers used. Which is, according to the Declaration of Independence, “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”. But what does that really mean? It means we are born with these rights. To the religious they come from God. Because of this sudden banning of any idea that might be linked to religion, the left wants to ignore this idea. Fine. How about this then. They come form simply being human, from being at the top of the evolutionary ladder. It really doesn’t matter. When we argue about that we miss the important idea behind it. And that is that we do not get rights from Government. However you wish to look at it, we are born with these rights. Again, that is the important idea here. If the government gives us rights then it can take them away. This country was founded on the idea that the most important job of the government is to protect those rights. Not give them out how they see fit. Not for political gain.

It is important to point out that when the Constitution was being written, the Founding Fathers didn’t want to list any rights. They thought they should be evident and that they could not possibly list all the rights we have and worried any rights not listed wouldn’t be considered rights. Some of the States wanted to know for sure what rights we had in order to keep the Federal government from taking them. They won and the first Congress wrote the Bill of Rights.

But which side was right? As it turns out, both. The Founders were right as we have seen that too many people argue about what rights we don’t have. Like healthcare, but we will come back to that. The States were also right as the Federal Government likes to try and take rights away. Like privacy rights in the Fourth Amendment. Or gun rights. Which we will also come back to. So in the end the Bill of Rights was important, but since all our rights are not listed, how many do we have? And just what are they?

FDR attempted to address this in the 1930’s with his second bill of rights. Every once in a while a Democrat brings up the idea. FDR’s proposal included things like, the right to a job, a house, a car and…wait for it…healthcare. Now this is where the Rights debate gets interesting.

There is two other parts of the idea of Rights that gets over looked. And they are VERY important. The first is having rights is one thing. Exercising them is another. Here is what I mean. Take gun rights. We have a right to keep and bare arms. But that doesn’t mean you have to. If you don’t want a gun that’s OK. But if you do, you can. You have the Right. At least for now. How you exercise your rights is up to you. If we applied the same thinking to gun rights as the Democrats are using for healthcare, the Government would be saying “You have a right to keep and bare arms and you WILL. IF you don’t, a gun will provided for you and you will be taxed to pay for it.” Some of you may be laughing but I am serious. That is how the Democrats look at the idea of Rights.

Which leads to the other part of the idea of Rights that gets over looked. It is the Governments job to secure those rights, not provide them. Lets look at FDR’s second bill of rights again. He said we have a right to a job, a house among other things. At the core idea of rights is that since the Government does not give rights, the Government cannot take them away. Which means the Government cannot stop us from having a job or a house. Or healthcare. That’s it. Getting a job is up to us being able to get an employer to hire us. Buying a house is up to us to get the money. Anybody can buy a house. A bank doesn’t stop us from having the right to buy a house. A bank just chooses whether or not to lend the money. If they say no it doesn’t take the right away. And yes, healthcare is a right. Forcing us to exercise that right is what is wrong. It makes no difference if it is a good idea or not. How I choose to exercise any of my rights is up to me. It is only the job of the Government to make sure I have those rights should I decide to use them.

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