The inalienable rights described in the Declaration of Independence as the basis for our right to cast off the tyranny of Great Britain to form a government derived from the sovereignty of the people continues to be assaulted by the left with its creation of human rights which intentionally confuse the concept of natural rights derived from our Creator with the left’s ever changing palette of politically derived human rights.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson stated “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…” Jefferson was elucidating the concept of natural rights as the basis for the social contract as a political theory arising from the Age of Enlightenment and expounded upon by the Enlightenment philosophers Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant. Jefferson employed the anglicized prefix “un,” rather than the more correct Latin negative prefix “in,” but both forms have the same meaning.
Natural rights are those inalienable rights one possesses by virtue of the fact that one exists. They are derived from our Creator and transcend the ability of any government to destroy them. Governments established on the basis of natural rights derive their legitimacy from these natural rights as opposed to governments established on the basis of heredity, religion, or wealth. The existence of natural rights is a self-evident truth in the sense of being the logical conclusion of what enlightened humanity understands as a human being.
Inalienable rights can be traced back to the Ten Commandments God provided to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Life is an inalienable right originating directly from God’s prohibition on murder in the Sixth Commandment. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness are derived from the last five Commandments which dictate relations between men. We are to be free from slander or covetousness or theft, all of which threaten our liberty and pursuit of happiness. The right to property is implied as part of the pursuit of happiness as the right referred to culminates in the pursuit, or vocation, of happiness. One cannot pursue the vocation of happiness if one is hampered in that pursuit by a lack of property rights which deny one of the ability to reap the rewards of the sweat equity one invests in pursuit of that happiness.
Those on the left, and most especially those who self-identify as progressives, deny the self-evidence of inalienable rights in their drive to deny inalienable rights as the basis of government legitimacy. Inalienable rights clash with their concept of big government and the control which the left seeks to exercise over us for what they believe to be our own good. To this end, the left created the concept of politically derived human rights which serve to water down inalienable natural rights through the creation of new classes of rights to be granted by the state. Human rights began by acknowledging the natural rights of life and liberty, while adding the politically derived rights specified in the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech is a political right necessary to enhance the legitimacy of government, but it is not a natural right. If it were, then the censorship of political correctness promoted by the left would not be tolerated.
In their drive to water down our inalienable rights, the left then began adding such specious rights as the right to housing, the right to free healthcare, and the right to government entitlements. These human rights are bestowed by the state and have become a comprehensive term for anything desired which the government is obligated to provide. Human rights constantly change as new economic and social rights are conceived, defined, and promoted by various government and international bureaucracies. In contrast, unchanging inalienable rights are not derived from governments, and governments can only create the political conditions to secure these rights.
To further complicate the situation, the left seeks legitimacy from the United Nations and other international bodies in their drive to overturn the legitimacy of the Constitution as the defining basis of American government with its limitations on government power. References to international law are constantly made in legal briefs under the presumption that international law and the United Nations trumps the Constitution of the United States and the legitimacy of self-government it and the Declaration of Independence espouse.
Conservatives seek to conserve America’s principles and practices as defined in our founding documents while the left seeks to water them down with vague notions such as human rights, fealty to international bodies, and the secular humanist idea that political rights can evolve over time to reflect new priorities. Conservatives favor constitutional fidelity in the belief that inalienable rights are unchanging and derived from God, and the Founders’ vision for limited government best protected these inalienable rights.
The left’s desire to redefine natural rights as human rights ultimately stems from their desire to dilute our constitutional protections and enable them to extend the control over our lives they feel justified in pursuing for what they believe to be our betterment. Only through totalitarian control can they force people to live according to their will. The conservative antithesis to totalitarianism is to allow people to control their own lives and succeed or fail according to their own choices. Utopia is a fantasy, but the left refuses to acknowledge this fact.
It is imperative that Americans have a firm grasp upon the philosophy underlying the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution so as to be fully prepared to recognize and debunk the myths put forward by the left that will ultimately result in the loss of our liberty. At first glance, there is little distinction between the concepts of natural rights and human rights. This is intentional on the part of the left to more easily allow it to subvert the idea of natural rights through the confusing introduction of human rights which sound as if they should be natural rights. The left is adept at adopting confusingly similar language to subvert that which it despises and repeating it to the point where their terminology comes to replace the legitimate terminology. A semi-automatic rifle becomes an “assault weapon,” taxes become “investments,” government entitlements become a “social safety net,” and the regressive destruction of the left becomes “progressive.”
Those on the left are uninterested in the damage their insidious subversion of constitutional protections wreaks on American society. They are only interested in tearing down American institutions to gain power in the infantile belief that they are entitled to rule over the rest of us because they are better than us. They destroy marriage without the slightest concern for the long-term damage its destruction will do to the stability of the family unit necessary to raise well-adjusted children, or the attitude of men against marriage. The left is only interested in destruction. They regard their agenda of human rights as nothing more than a method to gain power, and certainly aren’t interested in any actual human rights. If they were, they wouldn’t apologetically condone the brutality of Muslims committing atrocities against innocents in the name of their religion.