Thursday, November 26, 2015

In America We Have "Natural Rights"

By Douglas V. Gibbs

As we gather around the table this Thanksgiving, we must remember that we are giving thanks to God for our liberty, and for this wonderful country we live in.  The United States is great because the people are good, and because the foundation of our system was formed with the specific intent to protect the rights of the individual by limiting the federal government to only the necessary authorities needed to preserve the union, and to promote order at the local level by keeping the federal government out of local issues, and allowing local governance to operate in the manner determined by the consent of the governed.

John Locke wrote that we have "Natural Rights."  The Declaration of Independence refers to our rights as being entitled to us by the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."

We do not have Constitutional Rights. We do not have rights because the government decides we get to have them.  Our rights are not given to us by the Constitution, nor are they granted to us by mere men. The Declaration of Independence explains that we are “entitled” to our rights, our rights are “unalienable,” our rights are “self-evident,” and our rights are “endowed” to us by our “Creator.” Therefore, rights are God-given.

The Bill of Rights enumerates some of our rights because a contingent of the Founding Fathers felt it was necessary to list our rights to ensure that the federal government does not attempt to take them away. In the 1st Amendment, five rights are listed: religious freedoms (does not apply to political ideologies that use the mask of religion to force its own legal system that is incompatible with the Constitution upon the United States), freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. In the cases of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, the specific desire was to protect religious and political speech.

The 2nd Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” As with the Commerce Clause, and the clause regarding coining money, “regulated” here means “to put in good order,” or “make regular.” In other words, when it comes to the Commerce Clause, to put interstate commerce in good order, the federal government is supposed to act as a mediator, or a referee, to get commerce flowing again. In the case of the 2nd Amendment, the word “regulated” being defined as “to put in good order” is consistent with the context of the period. During the Revolutionary War, the militias were not in good order. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution establishes that Congress may pass legislation to provide for the “organizing, arming and disciplining” of the militia, but the application of procedures and functionality of the militias still belongs to the States. According to the debates during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the subsequent State Ratification Conventions, the right to keep and bear arms “being necessary to the security of a free State” specifically means that the populace must be allowed to be armed at all times to defend against a tyrannical federal government should such a tyranny establish itself. “Shall not be infringed” establishes that any and all federal gun laws are unconstitutional.

The 3rd Amendment enumerates the right of the people to be protected against a standing army that may be used against the populace by the central government.

Amendments IV-VIII are the Legal Amendments, enumerating legal rights that include, but are not limited to, protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to public and speedy legal proceedings, due process, innocence until proven guilty, a protection of property rights, and a protection against the preferential treatment of some over others in the courts.

The 9th Amendment reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” which means that if a right is not enumerated in the Constitution, that right also cannot be compromised, and belongs to the people.

But, we must remember, as we watch society abandon responsibility, and seek to label every whim and urge a "right," that if our rights are God-given, then they must be God-defined, as well.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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