Rights are not gifts from government
By Michael Boldin
“A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”
That’s how Thomas Jefferson put it in 1774.
In this season of giving – and thanks – we believe that’s a message that stands the test of time.
Rights are not gifts from government.
They don’t come from documents, or courts, or legislation – or anything of the like.
Thomas Paine called them “imprescriptible rights.” Richard Henry Lee said they came from the “law of nature.”
And as John Dickinson put it in 1776, “Our liberties do not come from charters, for these are only the declaration of pre-existing rights.”
This was, of course, reflected in the Declaration of Independence as well:
“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”
Paine agreed when he wrote that “it is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights.”
But this essential principle is increasingly lost on a general public more concerned with the political soap opera of the day rather than the fact that both major parties have aggressively attacked the Constitution and liberty for decades.
And what they’ve left behind, they treat as government-granted privileges – not rights.
It’s not liberty if it comes with a government permission slip.
This is a message I believe is so incredibly important to cover – again and again and again. Because as long as people continue to incorrectly refer to their rights as being “granted” by a document – then those who claim the power to “define” them will continue to restrict and attack them.
As the great revolutionary leader James Otis, Jr. put it, “When our rights are invaded, it is high time to throw aside prudence.”
James Iredell – one of the first Associate Justices of the Supreme Court – said the people should “resist” when the government “usurp powers” not delegated to them.
Mercy Otis Warren said it was our duty to “resist the first approaches of tyranny.”
And Jefferson told us that nullification is “the rightful remedy” for all federal acts outside the delegated powers in the Constitution.
That’s a LOT of resistance and nullification that needs to happen.
We are so thankful to have this wisdom from the Founders and Old Revolutionaries available to us today – and for the ability to share this kind of information with more and more people every day.
We couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to stand for the constitution and liberty at their time of maximum danger.