The Origin of RightsSteven Lieberman
The Origins of Rights
“The Constitution does not protect aliens… it protects American Citizens wherever they are in the world.”
I heard this missive from a federal judge on the radio while driving into work the other day. The issue they were discussing was the President’s executive order to create “extreme vetting” of travelers and immigrants arriving from “suspect” countries. The question to the judge was weather or not such measures were unconstitutional.
I don’t believe they are… but I also fundamentally disagree with the good judges analysis.
The Constitution does not simply protect Americans… it is… it must be… far more transcendent than that.
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The Constitution was drafted with two goals in mind. 1) To enumerate the rights that individuals are entitled to, and 2) To set up the administrative framework necessary to form a government to secure those rights.
So. If the Constitution enumerates certain rights of the people, it only stands to reason that the rights of the people come from the Constitution.
The rights that are recognized by the Constitution are pre-existing rights that existed far earlier then 1787 when the Constitution was drafted. The Constitution simply “recognized” these rights and codified them.
So….. that begs the question: Where do rights come from?
Well, for that answer we have to look at our other “founding document” The Declaration of Independence. Here Jefferson spells it out quite succinctly. Rights are granted to us from the Creator. (God, Gaia, The Force, Mother Nature… whatever you want to call Her… it all springs from the same Well Head.)
Does it really make sense that when God created people He sat back and said, “Ok… so I’m going to give you guys some rights… some you can transfer to a central government… others you are stuck with… but regardless, a few thousand years from now there is going to be this chunk of land in a place called North America. Those of you that find yourself born or naturalized there, well… those guys are going to get “special rights.”
Our rights that we enjoy are transcendent of national identity.
Think of it this way. The Second Amendment exists everywhere on the planet. The Second Amendment exists in Texas, in California, in Bolivia, in Japan. Not all governments are enlightened enough to recognize that right. Our Founders though realized that rights must emanate from somewhere transcendent. A government that provides rights is empowered to take rights away. A government that is established to secure rights can be swept away by the very people that empowered it, if it loses sight of it’s obligations and seeks to increase it’s power at the expense of the governed.
We must be consistent in our political philosophy.
For though we might find the expediency of authoritative policies attractive, the ramifications can lay bare our Republic.
No… our Constitution is transcendent of any particular administration. Our Constitution is also transcendent of any judge or legislator.
Our Constitution is a document inspired by Divine Providence, not a mere suggestion of transient and fashionable ideas.