Reply To: Natural Rights?


When we say that X Bill or X Proposal violates First/Second/Fourth amendment rights, are we accepting the government as the source of those rights?

Harry covered this pretty well but let me just add; the constitution as originally conceived recognized rights – government didn’t create the rights, it acknowledged them and was supposed to protect them. See also the Declaration of Independence, which mentions several rights, then says that government is instituted to protect (not create) them, and when in the course of human events a government transgresses them systematically, people have a right to separate from that government and institute a new one (or, if you’re an anarchocap, none at all).

The idea that rights come from government is a later perversion, first initiated in continental europe, then spread to the U.S. by progressives influenced by Rousseau & Hegel. But the big counter-argument is that “if ‘rights’ come from government, then there are no ‘human rights’ at all, since they are subject to redefinition and elimination at the whim of those in power. Government-granted ‘rights’ leave one defenseless in arguing that National Socialist Germany or Lenin, Stalin, or Mao violated human rights, since they, too, believed that government told its subjects what the subjects rights were – or weren’t.”