Posts Tagged ‘Rights’

Rethinking a Republic

Last week someone back East sent me this link and it’s turning me on my head the way I’ve understood the notion of a Republic. Being as far removed as we are from the Founding Fathers, I’m not sure when the last time this notion was taught. I’m not even sure it’s true, though I find the concept satisfying. In essence, the government has no ability to do anything that would violate our natural rights. When it does by passing a law, it’s really only a suggestion to us the sovereigns. In a Democracy you have civil rights because the majority gives and takes away from your rights, but in a Republic, you have natural rights the government can’t violate even by law, because WE THE PEOPLE delegated to government officials only to do those things we can do ourselves, so any laws that would trample on our natural rights are advisory only. Here’s one paragraph from the article, but I would ask that you read the whole article and leave your thoughts below. I would enjoy hearing other perspectives on this. (

“The people did ‘ordain and establish this Constitution,’ not for themselves, but ‘for the United States of America.’ In delegating powers to the government agencies the people gave up none of their own. (See Preamble of U.S. Constitution). This adoption of this concept is why the U.S. has been called the ‘Great Experiment in self government.’ The People govern themselves, while their agents (government agencies) perform tasks listed in the Preamble for the benefit of the People. The experiment is to answer the question, ‘Can self-governing people coexist and prevail over government agencies that have no authority over the People?’”

One link in the article goes to another page which explains the difference in being one of the “people” of the United States vs. a “citizen” and how being classed as a citizen removes some of your natural rights.

Interesting stuff. Imagine if everyone understood this version of what a republic is… Still, it’s quite a foreign concept to some level because I’ve always accepted that if I elect representatives, they can pass laws binding me through government threat of force. Please leave your thoughts below.

After-note: I just heard someone started passing a rumor that I was suggesting in a Republic the laws are only advisory. NO, that’s not what I said. Law governs, but my point above or rather this new thought from the other website is that since sovereignty is at the individual level, then laws that violate our natural rights would be advisory instead of binding. It’s something I’m chewing on, but certainly not something I’m going to put into practice! I’ll be keeping all the laws that have been passed. :)

Minority Report Predicted the Future

Just as Star Trek’s visionary technology spawned all kinds of useful tools we enjoy today, the movie Minority Report has spawned it’s own tool but not the useful kind. Reported on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze news site, comes this video straight from the Department of Homeland Security, now testing citizens for “malintent” as they pass their new scanners designed to test your psyche.

“Move along citizens, nothing to see here. Just quietly put on those chains after you pass through the scanner.”

I’m sure there’s nothing in the constitution that would be violated by this device. That old document is sooooo outdated anyway.

The Questions We Need to Remember

Which is greater, you or government? Who created whom? Where did government get its rights? Are they unalienable or temporal? To the LDS, D&C 134, a statement on government, says that God instituted government for the benefit of man and that we should respect and uphold the government while we are protected in our inherent and inalienable rights.

So who has rights? We do as children of God. In fact, as Mary Mostert pointed out in her books on the founding of this country, we have unalienable rights. When Jefferson presented his draft of the Declaration of Independence, he used the word inalienable, but the committee changed it to unalienable. What’s the difference? Mary points out that both mean we have rights that cannot be taken from us, ever. The difference though is that “un” alienable means the rights cannot even be transferred by us, while “in” alienable means we could transfer those rights to someone else. Rights from God to us cannot be cast aside.

Does government have rights? No, it has powers. Can those powers exceed our natural, unalienable rights? Never, because government’s powers are derived from our delegated rights.

Are you smarter than all your neighbors? Well, besides that one family down the street… ;) How about smarter than all your neighbors combined? Do you know anyone that thinks they are? Of course we all do, and far too many of those people become politicians. Who is best qualified to know the needs of a child? The parents of course. Empowering parents in their God-given role as the head of the family is the only morally right thing to do. Allowing them the maximum freedom to determine what is best for their children’s education, health, and all other activities, is the only God-approved course we can follow.

Government exists to provide for the safety, security, and happiness of the people. It exists to protect our unalienable rights. I cannot create a mob of people and send them out to murder and steal and provide myself and my neighbors with the goods the mob captures. Government cannot legally do this either simply because we call it government instead of a mob. Frederick Bastiat pointed out this is what government’s devolve into and we legalize plunder causing a moral imbalance in people who recognize the injustice on the one hand, but recognizing the need to respect government on the other. This imbalance leads to frustration and disgust with the process of government. The only solution is freedom. Freedom to fail. Freedom to watch your neighbor fail to educate their children (according to your own perspective). Freedom to choose a course of life that doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s life and thus maximize your own freedom by staying within the bounds of natural rights. None of this means government or schools completely go away, it just means they operate within their bounds. That question then leads to, “where’s the line America?

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

Fascinating Republic vs. Democracy Graph

Someone sent me a link to an article yesterday where someone had used a feature on Google to crunch numbers on the amount of times the words “republic” and “democracy” appear in print. The word republic is in red and democracy in blue. Note that the crossover happened during the progressive movement when the socialists were changing their line of attack on the constitution. You can read some of that history from this chapter on republics from the 5,000 Year Leap.

Democracy or republic? An n-gram

Here’s a link to the article this chart comes from.

My daughter is actually studying the progressive era in her history class right now and I didn’t realize that initiatives, referendums, and recalls came out of that movement. These 3 items were designed by progressives to bypass constitutional government and begin to introduce direct democracy to the nation (ie. the kind the Framers warned us about). Each of these items gives citizens the ability to propose law, pass law, and undo appointments and elections, completely bypassing the normal process and doing it themselves. Thus by states adopting these measures they gave up republican government guaranteed in article 4, section 4 of the constitution. However, by writing them into state law, they are now constitutional at the state level. I would suppose a valid case could be made to overturn an initiative, referendum, or recall, based on them violating the U.S. Constitution since it is the supreme law of the law and trumps state law where it specifically declares something as law such as article 4, section 4 guaranteeing republican government to the states.

Do I Have a Right to an Education?

[Guest article by Doug Cannon of Lindon, Utah. Doug is on the school board at Timpanogos Academy and has been involved in education issues for over a decade.]

The simplest answer is: No, you do not have a right to an education. Before getting deeper into that question, it is important to discuss the definition of “a right.”

Natural rights are also sometimes called negative rights, or unalienable rights (God-given rights). These rights are things that a human has already, and no other human has given it to them. Free speech is a natural right. You already had it, and I did not need to give it to you. You can talk all you want and say whatever you please. I don’t have to listen to you, but I cannot stop you from speaking without using force.

Realize, that exercising your own natural rights will not always be without consequences. Your right to speak freely does not mean you can threaten the life of another, or speak lies about someone in public without suffering consequences. That is a different topic.

Positive rights are rights given to you from another person, business, government, society, or some entity outside of yourself. A better word to use instead of “right” or “positive right” is the word privilege. They are real rights or privileges, but you must depend on that outside entity to provide it to you. It will always cost money to provide you with a positive right, and if it doesn’t directly use money, it will cost time or resources provided by that outside entity. We live in a society in Utah where our government provides a (somewhat) free education. As a Utahn, I can receive an education, but it comes with stipulations. A government must agree to give it to me, and pay for it by taxing its citizens. If I am too old for high school, I cannot attend high school. Therefore, it is a privilege, or a positive right.

A good test to decide whether a right is a natural right or a positive right is to put yourself on a deserted island and then ask yourself if you still have that right. If I were with my friend on a deserted island, perhaps he will say to me, “I have a right to an education!” and I will say, “Fine, go get one.” If he says to me, “But it is my right! Give me an education!” How did he get that right? If he does not have a right to an education when alone on an island, or if it would cost me time or money to give it to him, then he does not have that right when living in a society.

If that same friend on a deserted island says to me, “I have a right to speak my mind”, then I might reply, “No kidding. I can’t get you to quit talking about your free education.” Without using force, I cannot stop my friend from exercising his right to free speech. He can talk all he wants. I did not give him that right, nor did any government. The right of free speech is a natural right. Same with his right to life, right to choose a religion, right to make choices, right to perform his own labors, right to protect his own property, and so forth. Those are all natural rights, and no person or any government gave them to him.

The reason why so many people believe that education is a right is because our society voted long ago to give education to people and to pay for it with tax dollars. This brings us back to that Thomas Paine quote, “a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” Thus, we have so long enjoyed free public education that if you or I try to tell people they do not have a right to it, they will raise the “formidable outcry in defense of custom.” This means that in Utah we can claim that education is a positive right, it was given to us by the government, and it is paid for by taxes. But, in the purest definition of the word “right”, education is clearly a privilege granted by an outside source, and not a right.

Agency: Doing the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way

(If you want a printer friendly version of this you can go to the bottom and click the printer icon)

This is an LDS related article, but whether or not you are LDS, I believe there is something for everyone here in the principles I’m discussing. These are my thoughts alone and should not be construed as an official LDS church position.

I’d been thinking about writing this article for a while and then a few weeks ago a friend sent me this quote and that triggered the impetus to get writing. In April 1983 General Conference of the LDS church, President Marion G. Romney made this statement.

“We of this Church can come to a unity and a oneness which will give us strength beyond anything we have yet enjoyed if we will obtain a sounder understanding of the principles of the gospel and come to a unity in our interpretations of present world conditions and trends. This we can do by prayerful study of the Lord’s word, including that given to us through the living prophet.

This is the way to come to a unity. If we will study the word of the Lord as it comes to us through the standard works and through the instructions of the living prophet and not harden our hearts, but humble ourselves and develop a real desire to understand its application to us in our own peculiar circumstances, and then ask the Lord in faith, believing that we shall receive (see Doctrine & Covenants 18:18), all the while being diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord, surely the path we should follow will be made known unto us, and we will be able to face the world as a solid unit.”

President Romney gives a powerful promise toward unifying the church and all mankind as they understand the gospel. I would like to address the most basic tenet of the LDS faith, the foundation principle of all of God’s eternal laws, and the one point of doctrine which I believe if everyone understood and lived would serve to fulfill this statement by a prophet of God. The law is agency.

In the LDS church we often hear the phrase “free agency” in gospel discussions. What does that mean? The term “free agency” doesn’t appear in scripture, so what is agency and is it really free? Can a person be on the Lord’s side if they follow the devil’s means to get to the Lord’s end? Read the rest of this entry »

New ‘Rights’ are Wrong

I caught a few minutes of Neal Boortz’s show the other day and heard him reading from an article he’d found online and thought it was excellent so I looked it up.

The article was about what constitutes a “right” and was based on the author’s reading of another author’s article on the new healthcare “right” that liberals are talking about.

Here’s a link to the first article:
Brent Batten: New rights do make a wrong
Brent Batten: New rights do make a wrong

Here’s a link to the one Neal read parts from on air:
Guest commentary: New ‘rights’ are wrong by Don Richmond

Here’s a clip from Don’s article:

Brent Batten was absolutely correct in his column of March 25 when he stated there is no right to “the fruits of another group’s labor.”

The Declaration of Independence holds that rights are “self-evident.” However, it is the failure to grasp the true nature of rights which has brought this country to its current condition. It remained for the 20th-century philosopher Ayn Rand to explicitly identify rights as “moral principle(s) defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.” Rights pertain only to “freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men. … Rights impose no obligations on (others) except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating (your) rights.”

The source of all rights is the right to life, and its sole implementation is the right to property, the right to use the products of your efforts to sustain your life. The rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the rights to enjoy your life and use your property. Rights are an objectively necessary requirement of human life, principles which apply equally to all persons and at all times. In sum, rights are freedoms for rational beings to take the actions necessary to fulfill and enjoy their lives. Any alleged “right” which violates these rights is not a right, but an excuse for a crime.