WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 13: Storm clouds fill the sky over the U.S. Capitol Building, June 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. Potentially damaging storms are forecasted to hit parts of the east coast with potential for causing power wide spread outages. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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We all know it's important to protect our rights. But are they really our rights; or did they come from the government?
Over the last few weeks, I have been doing a series of articles about the concept of rights. This week, let’s go over another characteristic you can use to identify your specific rights.
A legitimate natural right cannot require the government to grant you that right. Governments can protect rights, but they do not grant rights. That’s a critical distinction to make.
Here's how you can use that distinction to identify your rights. Imagine that you have something in mind that you think could be a right, but you know that you wouldn’t be able to exercise that right until the government passed legislation granting it to you. In that case, you know that what you have in mind is not a legitimate right.
As I explained this weekend on TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show, a right must be something that you are able to exercise even if there is no government at all:
Look at it this way: if our rights are just something that a bunch of people in a government can give to you and then later take away just as easily, what’s so special about them? Why should anyone care when your rights get violated if they are nothing more than a privilege that some government decided to grant you to score some political points?
Fortunately for us, our rights are so much more than that.
What makes our rights so powerful is that they are a part of what makes us human. They are a part of our nature as human beings. Our rights are not dependent on man-made laws. We have them from the moment we are created until the moment we die and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that. Just like Frederic Bastiat said in his book “The Law:"
“Our rights precede human legislation, and are therefore superior to it.”
Granted, governments can and have passed legislation to prevent their citizens from exercising their rights. But that’s entirely different from taking them away. No government on earth has the ability to take your rights away from you and those governments that do will not do so with impunity.
Because our rights were granted to us by our Creator, when people in positions of power start violating our rights they aren't just messing with us; they're also messing with God. They may not have to worry about being held accountable under the laws that we have made as people, but at some point they will have to answer to a higher authority. That’s why our rights are such a big deal.
We have to stop watering down the concept of rights by claiming that every frivolous thing that we really, really want is a right. When we do that, we take away the power of our legitimate rights and make it nearly impossible to create a government that can effectively protect them.
Chad Kent is an author and speaker with a unique style that makes the Constitution simple and fun. Listen to Chad every Saturday during The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze Radio and visit his web site at www.ChadKentSpeaks.com.
TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.
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