Weasel Words: Constitutional Rights

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By Mike Cronin

Have you noticed that the weasels telling us we have “rights” to a job, or an education, or healthcare – all things that can only be given to some at the expense of others, are quite often the same people that are trying to eliminate our inalienable rights? (You know – the rights the Founders tried to protect with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights?  The ones that don’t depend on taking time, money, or goods away from anyone?)

Consider: If you have a right to a job, then an employer is compelled by law to give some of his property, namely the position, to you. If you have a right to an education, the government has to first take money from your friends and neighbors to pay for it.  If you have a right to healthcare, then you have a license to demand time and effort from doctors, nurses, technicians, and pharmacists, and a warrant to seize medicines or medical equipment away from those who made them. If you have a right to not be offended, then you have the power to muzzle the free expression of others.

On the other hand, the rights the founders designed our government to protect do not require us to take away anything from our neighbors; they simply require that we leave each other alone.  They don’t preclude us helping others voluntarily; the don’t preclude private entities from influencing our charitable behavior; but they do not permit the government to use its coercive power to dictate whether or how our neighbors’ “generosity” is to be extracted and distributed.

When the weasels take from the most productive in order to give it to the least productive in the name of benevolence, the result is not universal prosperity, it is universal resentment.  The productive resent having the fruit of their labor confiscated (via income tax withholding, for example), and the recipients resent the productive for being able to “make it.”  Nobody prospers except the politicians, cronies, and bureaucrats doing the taking.

The weasels will use every rhetorical trick to convince us that we have Constitutional rights to this, that, or the other thing.  There is no such thing as a Constitutional right, because the Constitution doesn’t grant us our rights.  The Constitution isn’t the law we are supposed to obey; it’s the law the government is supposed to obey.  It doesn’t give us our rights; its purpose is to protect our rights from the government!

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