I was emailed a question about today's student protests across the country that I believe was orchestrated by big money from various liberal causes in an attempt to create disruption once again in American Society. Here's the question:
Good morning Doug.
You are a constitutional expert. When a school principal says that students' have constitutional rights, high school, middle school, and elementary students. What is that principal's Constitution reference?
This is in reference to the planned walkout of schools today?
Here's my response:
Nobody has Constitutional Rights. We have God-given rights. So, the very premise is flawed out of the gate.
What has happened is that the statists throughout American History have convinced us that God either does not exist, or He's not important. The collective is what is important, and thanks to the collective through government guidance, you have rights that they determine, and they define. These rights, according to the leftists, must be protected by government, guaranteed by government, and subsidized if you can't afford them. This is why, for example, when it comes to health care, they claim that since health care is a right, government must provide it to all people, and subsidize it for anyone who cannot afford it.
If that definition is correct, then I must ask, "Where's my government subsidized firearm?"
Gun rights, to the liberal left, are not rights, and they are doing everything they can to kill any argument supporting gun rights.
In the Declaration of Independence, Natural Law (of which our Natural Rights are derived from) is given four characteristics.
1. To assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them. This means we Natural Rights are separate (individual), yet equal (we all have inherited the same rights because we are equal in the eyes and love of God), and we are entitled to those rights.
2. We hold these truths to be self-evident. We know that our rights, in the sense of being self-evident, are no different than a woman's understanding that after giving birth her duty is to care for her child. That said, if society is not virtuous, the self-evident nature of our Natural Rights becomes less clear.
3. All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator [with their Rights]. Again, equality is mentioned. Understand that the two times equality is mentioned, the reference also accompanies a reference to God. Therefore, they are not talking about man's definition of equality; they were referring to God's definition of equality. As for our Natural Rights, the passage states that we are "endowed by" our "Creator" with those rights. In other words, they are God-given.
4. Unalienable Rights. Unalienable means inseparable. They belong to us, not to government, and they can't be taken away. Government, however, is capable of blocking our access to our rights. For example, I own my car, but if it is stolen, I don't stop owning it, I simply do not have access to it until my vehicle is found and returned. Same with government. Government does not take away our rights, it simply is capable of blocking our access to our rights. Sometimes, such blockage is the result of tyranny. At other times, there are other causes. For example, government blocks many of the rights of criminals who are in our penal system. But, in those cases, it has been agreed upon by society to allow those rights to be blocked as punishment for the crimes committed.
Two other characteristics of our rights exist, as well.
a. In the Declaration of Independence it states that among our rights are "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Notice, it did not say that we have a right to happiness. It states we have a right to pursue happiness. Health Care, for example, is indeed a right. I have a right to pursue fixing my leg should it be broken. I do not, however, have a right to force a particular doctor by threat of lawsuit to fix my leg. With rights come responsibilities. If I want to pursue my right to fix my leg, I have the responsibility to locate and hire the doctor that will do the job. If I want to have a cake baked, I have the responsibility to locate and hire the baker that will do the job. If I want to get married, I have the responsibility to find the person to perform the service that most closely fits my needs, beliefs, and expectations. While I have a right to fix my broken leg, pursue having a cake baked, or to get married, I don't have a right to interfere with another's rights in the process. With my rights comes responsibilities, which means I have a right to pursue my happiness, but its not the job of the government to guarantee that happiness, or, through the force of law, enable me to interfere with another's rights in the process.
b. Our rights only extend as far to the point where the next person's rights begin. Again, with our rights come responsibility. I have a right to swing my arms, but you have a right not to be punched in the nose. So, my right to swing my arms stops at the tip of your nose. I also have a right to travel, and in my journey to cross through an intersection. However, my right to drive through an intersection stops at the bumper of another car trying to do the same thing. For this reason, local government has the authority to make laws regarding our rights. For example, to make sure the intersection remains safe for all who are involved, stop lights and stop signs are placed in certain locations - not to deny one's access to traveling through the intersection, but to make sure all parties who do so are able to do so safely. In short, local government may make laws regarding our rights, but the federal government may not. Local laws regarding rights are not supposed to be regarding interfering with our rights, but to make sure our rights can be carried out in a manner that preserves the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the locality or State. (Federalist 45).
The Framers of the U.S. Constitution recognized government as being the greatest threat to our Natural Rights, which is why the Bill of Rights uses the language that it uses.
Amendment I begins, "Congress shall make no law." Amendment II ends with, "shall not be infringed." Amendment III begins, "No soldier shall." In the middle of Amendment IV it reads "shall not be violated." This is not language instructing the federal government to protect, guarantee or subsidize our rights. It is telling the federal government "hands off our rights. Do Not Touch!"
Okay, let's get back to our young members of American Society, and their alleged right to storm out of class and protest against other people having the right to keep and bear arms.
Do the students have the right to walk out of class? Does that action carry with it a responsible outcome? Are they interfering with someone else's rights?
The students have a God-given right to peaceably assembly, to protest, and to believe and voice anything their little hearts desire. However, with Natural Rights and freedom comes responsibility. The liberal left seems to think if something is a right, nobody may disagree, and there should be no consequences. But, if their alleged right to walk out of class interferes with another's right to an education, or interfere's with another's right to journey down a roadway, or becomes violent like the proverbial swinging arms making contact with another's nose (case in point: violence by protesting students being reported in California a couple weeks ago), then they are abusing their right, and they are not being responsible with their right, and they will be subject to consequences for carrying out that right.
Do the kids have a right to be protesters today? Sure. But they also have the right to be punished for their actions, to pay the consequences of their actions, and to have their rights limited as a result of their abuse of their alleged rights. After all, the taxpayers have the right to ensure their taxpayer money is not being wasted by empty classrooms. The motorists have a right not to be blocked by kids in the roadway. The victims of the violence being committed by the protesting students have a right not to be punched in the nose, and the right not to be caught up in some altercation caused by students protesting against the right to keep and bear arms.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary