Questions and Answers - Government Given Rights vs.
Individual Rights - (Inalienable)
I will try to explore with this essay some things I believe to be pertinent in the presidential campaign for this coming November. Some questions (yours), some answers (mine), some things to consider. I am not trying to be unerringly legal, but, at least, understandable. I’ll start with some basic questions and just let it take us where it might lead.
How can I distinguish between the rights I am supposed to have as an individual and the rights the government says it is giving me?
Individual rights always carry the term "Inalienable rights," we take these as God given rights that every person must have to be considered as equal to his fellow man. Our Declaration of Independence sets apart the three basic rights which are fundamental to what we mean when we say inalienable— this takes for granted they cannot be taken away (except by God, of course). They are: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. First, we have the right to a life where our beliefs are similar to our neighbors, and will be accepted for that reason. The only restriction being that we are in an environment (lifestyle) we are capable of maintaining in a like manner to those people who are our neighbors, and we are not forcing them to bend their rules to accommodate us as to what we feel our limitations are. In other words, we should not expect that we are entitled to live beyond our means at the expense of everyone else. Second, we have the liberty, to choose our style of living in a manner that gives us the freedom to do things we want to do within our means. This means we also have the responsibility to pull our own weight to the extent that we can’t expect someone else to limit or deny their own liberty in order for us to have ours. Third, we have the right to pursue a meaningful and happy way of existing that, once again, does not restrict that right to someone else in order for us to have it.
In a very real way, these ‘inalienable rights’ carry the goal of equality for everyone willing to contribute as necessary for the maintenance of their desired lifestyles as well as accepting the responsibility of sharing whatever the cost is for that lifestyle.
Our ‘Maker,’ whether you believe in Nature, God, or some other basis of existence, requires only that you give in order to get, equally.
Are there exceptions?
Not nearly as many as you might think. The biggest and only one that really needs to be understood more clearly, is where someone is born without the physical or mental capacity to meet the challenges of their responsibility to have that equality. This is the main cause of Government needing to insert itself into the lives of the general population. The people who are unable to handle the challenge of pursuing their rights to equality of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness due to their physical or mental limitations must be given the assistance to live in a manner that will give them the dignity of a decent life to the full extent of the capability of the government and/or through such charitable organizations as the private sector is able to produce. Hopefully, this will be a combination of both entities working hand in hand to reach this necessary goal. Beyond that, those people who are limited, but not as severely as those totally incapable, must have available the means to assist them in reaching a decent, dignified existence for themselves. The more capabilities an individual has, or can teach himself, with the help of both the private sector and the government, the less will be his need for long term public assistance. Once again there is that unstated responsibility that is inherent in the rights, that being, the individual has the charge of meeting up to his capability, all that he can do to maintain that consideration of help given.
What about things like ‘abortion rights,’ health care, minimum wage rights, etc., etc.?
Now we are getting into the area of where the government believes, or where politicians might believe, through the insistence of ‘political action groups’ or ‘lobbyists’ that the government can best serve the needs of particular groups that don’t have what might be called a suitable public voice to attain their rights or what the legal community is wont to call the gray areas of rights.
So how do we resolve these things?
That’s why we have elections, lawmakers and court systems, is the normal knee jerk reaction. But, first and foremost is the understanding of what is a right and what might be only a need. We have already said that a right is inalienable, it can only be that which is given by our ‘Maker’ and cannot be taken away other than by Him or Her. So the litmus test has to be: if it is given to the general public, is it something that everyone benefits by without limiting the rights of any of individual. Too often in today’s world we overlook the right of the individual in favor of the majority, assuming that if the majority of the public thinks it’s alright, then everyone should go along with it. So, let me ask you a question: If there is a minority, but, a fairly substantial portion of the public, which will be harmed by such a ‘new law,’ because they must forfeit what might be a belief of their religion, or something which will cause them to lose any portion of their life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness, simply because the rest of the public wants the law, what then?
The purpose, obviously, of posing the above question is to show how the constitutionality of a matter, must be deliberated carefully to protect the inalienable rights of the individual to the same freedoms others in the community might be claiming because they simply out number the minority.
So, a major part of the solution to all of these things must be the consideration first, above all other things, of whether and how it affects the inalienable rights, first and foremost of the individual.
If you didn’t know it before, you should know it; this is why we have a Supreme Court of the United States of America. Their first consideration, in any case they are asked to deliberate, is whether or not, according to the Constitution of the United States,: ‘this law or change-in-law, will in any way affect, what we believe is the inalienable right of the individual?’
The three branches of government set up checks and balances to make sure, above all things, that the inalienable rights of the individual are not abridged or violated in any way.
If you ponder this seemingly simple requirement and its effect on our laws, and regulations, you must realize exactly how deeply the concern was of the intent of our forefathers to protect each individual of our country.
Whatever you might think of this country as to what guilt we should feel, or be required to be held responsible for from our history, you must also realize just how seriously our forefathers felt about protecting us as individuals first. We are one country in only a very few, that recognizes the individual rights of every person as being the primary requirement of consideration in our laws. Yes, it took a civil-war to finalize it, eighty some years after our foundation; yes, we have very carefully modified and amended some of the articles of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and further amendments, but it has always been done with the individual "inalienable" rights as the primary requirement.
What is so very scary is, this is constantly being tested by the present administration to change the rights of the individual to give the primary consideration to the government. If that happens it will be the beginning of the end of our Democratic Republic form of government. It will need each of us as individual citizens to insure the continued existence of a unique and beautifully conceived way of government. We must never relinquish that heritage, it is far too valuable to be swept aside for an experiment which appears to be the needs of a very few who think someone else must do our thinking for us. I’m talking about the Obama regime here.
I pray you will not let this happen, even if your personal interest, right now, might favor trying this experiment because you will have a temporary benefit, which can in no way be sustained, based on the past history of this form of social democracy. And what we are already beginning to see as far as debt incurred and loss of jobs and benefits, and many other economic factors which are, under the current administration, being ignored.
This is crucial to your families, and the future debt to your children and their children to understand. They will be forced to carry a financial burden that might easily require two generations of American citizens to claw their way free from. Imagine how devastating to them to lose everything this country has stood for up until now and all because of what a few so-called elitist thinkers believe will work better because, in their minds, only the elite are capable of making the right choices for the vast majority of people.
It has never worked in the past and it will not work now! Think about the former Soviet Union, The Chinese Communists under Mao Tse Tung, and several current European countries committed to Socialism in what they call Social Democracies, what is happening to their combined economies. The pressure to give everybody everything they want, simply doesn’t hold up under the weight of the financial drain on the economies of these countries. And, for that matter, the world.
Why is that?
Because the demand on the people who produce the goods and services to foot the bill for their companies and then have a substantial portion of their profits seized (taxed at a higher rate, ok) and redistributed to people who are less productive, simply destroys the incentive for them to produce competitively for less and less profits. Think about having the American Dream, wife, kids, the whole shebang, but not having the fruits of all of your work, just taken away in taxes. It simply doesn’t work and never has.
When the individual is given the opportunity to compete for profits and then put those profits to work for even more profits, the economy flourishes and everyone wins. Businesses that won’t compete, and try to squeeze their employees for more work and no extra pay, will not last any longer than a government that wants the successful to pay for the lesser profitable competitors and for workers who want the same pay for less work. It’s really only common sense. But the elitists don’t seem to understand this because they are the ones who have never had to compete for a living.
What succeeds is a win, win situation where people compete for success and feel good about their success because they know they earned it. In the end, they are more charitable than any Social Democracy. Check it out.
D. Kenneth Ross