(courtesy katekaiserconseling.com)

“While we believe in the Second Amendment, we also believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” one Tony Radler writes at fredricksburg.com. “We believe that Americans have the right to go to church without the fear of being gunned down; we believe we have the right to send our children to school without the fear they will be killed in their kindergarten classrooms; that we have the right to go to work, the movies or a nightclub without fear of being gunned down; and that our police have the right to do their jobs without fear of being gunned down by an AR-15 style weapon in the hands of a sniper.”

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallYeah, that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” thing? That’s from the Declaration of Independence, which doesn’t have the force of law. It’s expository and aspirational, not legally binding. As for the right to be free from fear, where does that come from? As TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia know, the United States Constitution doesn’t create rights. It identifies them and protects them from government infringement. Other than directing the U.S. President to defend out borders (oops), that’s it. That’s all it does.

Ah, but the Declaration does declare 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.” Again, I’m not seeing a right to not be afraid of guns. Then again, The Founders did leave the door open with the word “among” and the vague “pursuit of happiness” phrase. And then slammed it shut with the Constitution. Well, partially shut. Lest we forget, the Constitution can be amended.

Although I’m not an emanations and penumbras kinda guy. I see nothing in the Constitution about a “right” to health care. Or education. Or for that matter, a phone. So, in your opinion, what is a right? What rights do you have? Why do you have a right to keep and bear arms, up to and including “weapons of war”?

56 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: What Is A “Right” Anyway?

    • But it is not that simple, unfortunately. Before the enlightenment (and even after it), very few places/people would have agreed with our ideas of rights. Even places that were democracies, ancient Athens, medieval Iceland, and ante-bellum America as examples, had slaves who had no hope of living lives in which they had any say over. So, it is tough to make universal declarations of what a right is.

      Also, there is the idea that right cannot have a cost to other people, for that creates coercion, but if we believe that a person has a right to a fair trial, then there has to be legal representation provided for those who cannot afford it.

      • “but if we believe that a person has a right to a fair trial”

        Indeed, but this is an expenditure of the state which we all agree to collectively pay for (taxes). If the state was managed efficiently and fairly, and taxes were applied fairly this system would work quite well.

        Obviously we all know this is not what happens, and is probably the main difficulty that arises in creating a functioning government. This is where limited government and republicanism comes in.

        Certainly you have the right to a fair trial. Are you saying that from this you say that one has the right to healthcare and a house? Because that would be absurd.

      • To be “fair” (har, har), the right to a fair trial is better stated as a right not to be convicted without a fair trial. It’s a limit on government: it cannot punish you for crimes without Due Process, which includes a fair trial. I wouldn’t necessarily call this coercion in the same sense that other “rights” (like welfare) are.

        • Not only that, but laws are supposed to be written in such a manner as to be simple and easy to understand. Instead, we’ve allowed legislators, lawyers and judges to run away with it and create enormously complex processes in the name of justice. What justice is there when you must pay thousands of dollars for it?

        • The right to a fair trial is a right to not be coerced, because an unfair trial is coercion. It’s partner with the right to not testify against oneself. Indeed, the right to a fair trial is a protection of liberty itself, since an unfair trial threatens to take away a broad array of liberty without just cause.

          If in order to protect this greater liberty we must engage in a small amount of coercion, it is a trade-off on the side of greater individual liberty.

          The “right” to not have people misuse guns fails this test; it requires the individual citizen to have a large array of rights, indeed life itself, taken away at the whim of strangers by removing the effective exercise of self-defense. It is thus entirely contrary to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

          As to what a right is, it is a facet of self-ownership. To require of me that I go without my chosen means of self-defense is to assert ownership over me, while to require that others respect my carrying my chosen means of self-defense is merely to remind them that no one promised this is a safe world.

  1. The right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is exactly why the second amendment exists. I have the right to be alive and have my liberty to choose to do as I please. The second amendment helps protect my life by providing an avenue of defense against criminals and a tyrannical government. It might not have force of law, it might be expository and aspirational, but it is the principle on which other rights are enumerated. If you look at any of the original 10 amendments in the bill of rights, each of them can be traced back to the idea that a human being has the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness as he sees fit.

    Those rights come with duties. I have the right to bear arms, but I have the duty to not go killing people with the gun I own. Rather than instituting legislation that takes my gun away from me because “i might kill someone with it,” how about those people who want the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, figure out how they’re going to protect their right to life?

    It’s not a hard concept, but an awful lot of people are overthinking it.

  2. Let’s go ahead and clear this up.

    Rights are viewed in two ways. One is legitimate, and the other is not. These two concepts of rights are known as “negative rights” and “positive rights.”

    Negative rights are those things that another may not do to you.

    Positive rights are those things that another must do for you.

    Positive “rights” are the moral equivalent of slavery as you are asserting that you have a claim on the effort of others, forcefully and without compensation or any kind of value exchange. Positive “rights” include “free” anything. Free healthcare, housing, sustenance, education, etc. These are not rights. If you receive these things for free, then someone else is paying for them. Someone else is supporting you. You are not an independent person. You are (ideally) answerable to those who support you. This amounts to charity when done privately and voluntarily. When accomplished through the state, this is theft under coercion and the threat of violence. It understandably upsets those who pay because they are working for far less than their labor is worth because they’re supporting you. Meanwhile, they are able to provide less support to the people they are truly and morally responsible for. Positive rights also include any action you expect others to take on your behalf, even — and especially — if it’s against their will.

    Only negative rights are legitimate. The only ethical fight is a defensive one. You have a right to defend your life. You have a right to refuse coercion. You have a right to reject and respond to aggression initiated against you. You have a right to protect your property and the fruits of your labor as the means by which you provide survival and comfort to yourself and your family, and as an extension of the very energy you expended to create value. You have a right to think, feel, and believe as you will. You are a sovereign being. THESE are rights.

    Perspective example: you have a RIGHT to speak. You do NOT have a right to be heard, respected, agreed with, or even be given a platform.

    • YES, YES, YES!!! I think I just orgasmed. Excedrine, thank you for this clear exposition.

      Positive rights and philanthropy, when done by the government, are theft. They are done through the threat of force, and they infringe upon true rights.

    • The practical difficulty with positive rights as you have described them is that they depend on support from people willing to work for “less than their labor is worth.” Show those people that working is a fool’s errand and watch the welfare state implode.

    • I wanted to bring up negative and positive rights, but you did it much better than I could have even with a week to work on it. Well done!

      I always preface the subject with positive is usually good and negative bad, but definitely not in this case.

    • A good and succinct summation.

      It is clear, once people have understood this, why there can be no right to an education, no right to medical care, etc.

      If these rights (right to education, right to medical care) actually exist, then I have a right to free clothing, and therefore I can then legally impose my will upon Obama’s daughters to pick cotton for me.

    • Nice work. Well done.

      Related to that excellent presentation of the meaning of “rights”, negative rights have better symmetry, people argue for positive “rights” in terms of means, positive rights often ground out in the veil of ignorance argument, and they slide past the constitution by interpreting “general welfare” as a manadate.

      Symmetry – negative rights act symmetrically between any two people. I have a right to speak, and so do you. I have no right to be heard or agreed with, and neither do you. Negative rights fit nicely with the notion of government as a republican (small-r) mutual protection pact. It isn’t government’s job to make me agree with you (or vice versa.) It is government’s job to stop me from forcing you to agree with me (or vice versa.)

      Establishing a positive right requires the treating people differently.

      Means“It isn’t free speech when one side is on the TV every night, while the other side has a soap box on the corner.” Well, indeed it is. Access to an audience depends on means. You get broadcast to every household because of those TV things; stuff, that somebody made, with effort.

      Equal access and similar arguments for positive “rights” always involve conscripting somebody’s means, for the benefit of someone else. (This shifts the advantage from whoever can generate the most stuff, to whoever can appropriate the most stuff. So, for example, while the notion of equal access via government supported campaign financing is attractive, it just shifts the competition up-stream one step, and changes what determines who wins.)

      Rawls / Veil of Ignorance – A proposed ethic, sloppily, vaguely behind 2/3 of the social justice agenda. Net, this claims that a defensible organization for society is the one you would choose *before* you are born, not knowing where you will be born, or in what condition, thus behind a “veil of ignorance.” In contrast, choosing some other standard after you know you got lucky is cheating.

      Since we can’t choose in ignorance, “justice” requires now that we are here, that we adjust things so that all outcomes are equal. It doesn’t matter if you were born this way, or that – we’ll make it all come out the same. A positive “right” is an instance of a defined equal outcome, imposed on all. (There are at least three palmed cards in the “veil of ignorance” argument.)

      The “General Welfare” clause is the trojan-hole that lets in a whole pile of mischief: “… promote the general Welfare …” is right there in the preamble to the US Constitution.

      Add a take on “general welfare” like this one, and that’s a license to do anydamnthing:
      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/General+Welfare

      As a matter of law, the preamble sets context and intentions, rather than delegates authorities or authorizes actions. Worse for the “anything promotes the general welfare” crowd, the “general welfare” clause is in tension with several other intentions, conveniently on its either side. “… insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

    • This parallels a theological matter I expound on quite regularly because people don’t get it: obligations and demands. Whereas another person may have an obligation to treat me in a certain fashion, that gives me no basis for demanding he or she do so.

      As good illustration, my niece, when small, engaged in this error along with a lot of other little kids when she took a toy from another child and justified it by declaring that he was obligated to share. I explained to her that sharing is done freely, and “sharing” that is initiated by someone who wants something it isn’t sharing, but theft.

      What today’s liberals mean by “positive rights” is actually obligations, things we ought to do for others. But when those others gang together to not merely demand we fulfill our obligations but specify how we do so, it isn’t an obligation fulfilled, it’s theft. So yes, while I have an obligation not to engage in criminal activity against others, when others decide to impose preemptive conditions on me to attempt to make sure I can’t (supposedly) engage in criminal activity, it is nothing but theft.

      In simple terms, then, a “positive right” is simply a demand that others behave the way I want them. It is nothing but preschool-level selfishness painted with a false veneer of respectability.

  3. “Rights” are things and ideas that Democrats hate unless they made them up.

    It works like this: The right of a man to use the little girls room is a good right. The right of a man to defend little girls is a bad right.

    Get it?

  4. Rights are individual. I mean they apply to the individual. The right is to keep and bear arms. My exercise of that right takes nothing away from you and your rights.

    If something impacts another in any negative way, it is not a right. The right is to keep and bear arms, it does not allow shooting others willy-nilly because that impacts another in a negative way.

    Healthcare coverage is not a right because it impacts someone else in a negative way, money has to be taken from others to pay for it. Phones are not a right because money has to be taken from others to pay for it.

    The right to keep and bear arms has no cost to anyone because the right is on the exercise, not the object. It is not the right to be given arms, it is the right to have them.

  5. There are no such thing as natural rights. In the natural world you’re born into the food chain. Living past your birth is a life long struggle.

    Society creates the artificial construct of rights. Those rights only exist so long as society upholds them.

    • In the founding era there was a consensus on the existence of God; referred to in the Declaration as “their Creator”. It is not necessary for us, today, to reach a consensus on the existence of God, or some “Creator” with the capacity to “endow” us with certain inalienable rights. Not even that “Nature” the mother goddess, granted rights. Instead, it suffices to recognize this idea as, at least, a useful fiction. It is useful in that we can form a consensus that there exist certain “inalienable rights”. Such a consensus formed in the era; and, it survives intact to this day. It might not survive another century; Jefferson gave us no such guarantee.
      Can we agree, for example, that each of us has an inalienable right to our respective lives? A right that no other party – public or private – may take away without just cause? A victim may deprive his attempted murderer of the attacker’s life. A government may deprive a convicted murderer of the murder’s life. If we can reach some such consensus then we have made one step in organizing society. We will not accept unjustified killings by fellow inhabitants and we will form a government to secure this agreed-upon right by pursuing, trying and punishing those that kill without just cause.
      Such a principle, an inalienable right to life, thus serves a useful purpose. And it is especially useful that we agree that whatever form of government we find established among us is obliged to honor that right.
      Now, consider abandoning the recognition of such a right. Look at the mischief that would result. We would need to figure out whether our legislatures would have the power to pass a “bill of attainder” declaring a person an outlaw simply because he were a political nuisance.
      The several consensus acknowledged and documented in the Declaration, Constitution, Bill-of-Rights, and succeeding Amendments are of invaluable service in organizing our society and especially keeping the Leviathan on a short leash. Whether these are “natural” or merely the whim of a generation (or several generations) is not an especially critical point.

    • Of course there are natural rights — they arise from the observable fact of self-ownership.

      Take, for example, the much-worn idea of my right to swing my arm. Why is that my right? Because it is my brain that sends the signal to my arm to tell it to move. It is not natural that anyone else’s brain make my arm move; thus moving it is my right. We acknowledge this at root when we naturally speak of “my arm” and even “my brain”.

      Thus anything that requires my arm to obey the dictates of another’s brain is no right; it is a perversion of nature.

      From this recognition of what is natural we see that natural rights are merely descriptions of nature: a natural right is a right I have over myself, regardless of even the existence of others.

  6. How mentally defective do you have to be to be afraid of gun violence anyhow? There are about 11k murders per year by firearms in the US-a country of 300m people-and a very significant number of those are attributable to gang violence and criminal activity. The odds of you being murdered at church or in a mall or at a grocery store are so vanishingly small as to be entirely insignificant.

    Now, that’s not a criticism of carrying a firearm for defensive use; it’s much better to have, but not need, than to need, but not have. I just don’t understand the subset of gun grabbers that legitimately fear this. You’re more likely to choke to death on a pretzel. I’ve gotta wonder if these guys fear their pantries, too. Maybe instead of fluoride, we should be putting valium in drinking water. Ridiculous.

  7. Liberty and Rights go hand in hand and both belong to individuals. Rights are inherent to the human condition.

    Nobody has a ‘right’ to receive ANYTHING, particularly from govt. Individuals have the right to strive, act, achieve…or not, as they will it and as long as they do not intrude upon the Life, Liberty or Property of other individuals.

    To assist in a general conceptualization, I believe that Jefferson encapsulates the overall concept quite nicely.

    “Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Just a ponderism.

  8. Rights, are a quaint idea that we created when this experiment started against all odds and succeeded, to limit the ability of a fully mature government from lowering and eventually removing a standard of living from its citizens. Our founding fathers strove in their brilliance to create a document that merely recognized innate, god given, inalienable societal foundations in which all citizens were recognized as having immutable abilities that transcend ANY government, as they restrict the abilities of government to move against the best interests of its citizens.

    For reasons beyond this simplification, the founders did not include large swaths of the public at the time, and of course of the unknown millions to follow, but they didn’t shut the door to future amendments, but made the process inherent by design, however the left wishes to remove the 2nd Amendment and continue pairing down our other rights because they think this American government is not, nor can ever be tyrannical, by definition. This proves their stupidity, naivete, and utter disdain for our countrymen/women.

    Now I stated the quaintness of rights as an idea, because the ability of a tyrannical government to remove those rights proves that they are still, in the eyes of a tyrannical government, not in fact limitations to its power, but merely impediments that can be side stepped with adequate social engineering by said government. As can be seen in every story about California, and now Massachusetts, and Colorado, Washington, etc, etc, etc…

    I believe with all the fibers of my being, that rights are not quaint, I stated that earlier to say that from the perspective of the left, and of the government, they are considered quaint, as throwbacks. You can hear this point of view/evil from any anti gun person in the media, or in the political arena when they state that the Constitution was, “written over 200 years ago”; as if age makes the truth less true.

    Living where I do, I feel often in the middle of enemy territory, as I find a constant need to defend not only the RTKBA but also defend and justify the Constitution, and explain nearly every day how the actions of a single person should never be the only thing standing between a right, and the infringement of that right; to explain how a right need never be infringed if the government is doing what they are supposed to, if a politician is speaking honestly, if a political party is being honest about their intentions.

    • “Over 200 years ago.”

      Aristotle wrote on logic over 2000 years ago. Does that mean logic is no longer valid?

      You’re right: truth does not change with age.

  9. Simple test:
    It’s a privilege if someone can take it from you.
    It’s a right if, when they try to take it, you kill them for it and then go hunting for the tyrants who sent them.

  10. Rights are socially constructed privileges that accompany obligations. A Confederate Officer may have owned slaves which he had an “inalienable” right to. Chinese Dynasties had a “Mandate of Heaven” which conveniently favored the better armed ruler. American citizens have a right to bear arms…for now. None of these are human universals that transcend the historical process. Each is particular to a certain society.

    • “Rights are socially constructed privileges that accompany obligations. A Confederate Officer may have owned slaves which he had an “inalienable” right to.”

      Interesting in that Confederates claim slaves were property, yet demanded that 3/5 of their “property” be counted for population representation in Congress….would be comical if the North could claim horses in population counts…thus a small group of slave owners consolidated power among themselves. Poor got poorer and Plantation owners got richer.

      To claim a right, it must be morally grounded.

    • No Confederate officer had an “inalienable” right to own a slave, as the slave himself had an inalienable right to freedom. The officer’s slave ownership may have been protected by then-current laws, but laws do not dictate natural rights.

  11. Any “Rights” we have are only enforced by FORCE OF ARMS. A sissy boy who whines about his “feelings” doesn’t count…Breaking>Multiple shooters/attacks in Deutschland…”up to 3 shooter’s”. I bet “rights” are infringed in Germany.

  12. Here is my 2 cents worth.

    The The Declaration of Independence sets the mood.

    “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”

    The endowed by their Creator references God not the government. The Bill of Rights I believe ties into this from the view point that these are natural rights, endowed by our Creator and as such cannot be taken away by the government. It is interesting, at least for me, that the thought of losing my Right of free speech, to choose my religion or to keep and bear arms is a lot more personal and powerful. The thought of losing those rights impinges on me much more deeply that the supposed right to be safe or have health care. These are not rights at all. They are purported to be rights in the ever present pursuit to degrade real rights by those that would enslave us.

  13. “Right” is just another word for “privelege.” It is something that is handed down to you, under the condition of good behavior, by people whose lives are reasonably considered to be more valuable than yours. #commonsense

  14. Tony Radler is saying, “We don’t like living in a dangerous world and it will be safe for us if the government takes everyone’s guns away.” Anything to avoid having his rose-tinted eyeglasses ripped off.

  15. Well Mr. Tony Radler, please address the following:

    (1) I have a right to eat, correct? Therefore my right to eat empowers me to take your food away from you, correct?
    (2) I have a right to engage is sexual activity, correct? Therefore my right to sexual activity empowers me to force anyone of my choosing to have sex with me whenever I demand, correct?
    (3) I have a right to happiness, correct? Therefore my right to happiness empowers me to take whatever I deem necessary away from you (such as your shiny new sports car) to make me happy, correct?
    (4) I have a right to sleep, correct? Therefore my right to sleep empowers me to take away your bed to ensure that I get a good night’s sleep, correct?

    I won’t be holding my breath waiting for a coherent response. Wait, do I have a right to hold my breath?

    • Actually in a “natural” world void of the artificial constructs of “society” you have the right to do all those things. So long as you’re stronger and meaner than the person you’re taking from.

      This is why people live in “societies” and set up rules and laws and the tax structure to make it work.

      • No, actually you don’t. People have the right to property that they have justly acquired from nature either through their own work input, or through voluntary exchange. That’s what the system of natural rights refers to.

        It also refers to the right to control of your own body. If somebody tries to harm your body by rape or other violence against your will, then they have violated the system natural rights. Just because an individual has the positive freedom to do something, does not mean that it is recognized as a “right” under the system of natural rights.

        • And if there were no laws created by a society how exactly would your transgressor be deterred or punished? A natural society is nature at it’s rawest. The strong eat the weak.

          The lamb can tell the wolf he has rights but unless the lamb is strong enough to enforce his rights he’s dinner.

          Societies provide rules and enforcements to protect the weak from the strong.

      • We’re really talking about two sides of the same coin, which is to say, the discussion of negative and positive freedom. Is a right truly lost just because an external force prevents you from exercising it? It’s been debated forever, but I don’t think it’s useful to get too polarized on it.

    • “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” – Thomas Jefferson

  16. A while back, I wrote a rather long comment on the origin of the phrase “a well-regulated militia,” and showed it went back to a Scottish lawyer/politician/philosopher, one of the minor writers of the Scottish Enlightenment, Alexander Fletcher, aka Fletcher of Saltoun.

    Here again, I’m going to instruct people to study the writers and philosophers who influenced the Founders (and in particular, Jefferson), John Locke, David Hume and Francis Hutcheson (among others, including Adam Smith, Thos. Reid, and Adam Ferguson), and his professor at William & Mary was a Scot, William Small, who was from Aberdeen. Hutcheson was clearly a student of Locke’s political philosophy, and echoed Locke’s contention that a revolt of people who are being oppressed by their government was moral. Hutcheson merely moderated his language on the issue somewhat from Locke’s. Locke’s writings inform us that the “pursuit of happiness” was merely about being able to accumulate property, but I believe Jefferson meant more in this phrase than most comprehend today.

    The Scottish philosophers Hume and Hutcheson fleshed out quite a bit of the thinking that you see in Jefferson’s writings, not only on the Declaration, but elsewhere in life. They thought that a moral philosophy has to deal with what really is the condition and behavior of man, so their views reflect a less, for lack of a better term, airy-fairy notion of moral behavior. We could see in Hume & Hutcheson’s writings that they were more interested in dealing with men as they really are – faults and all.

    With a better view of what thinkers influenced Jefferson, and what those writers thought, we see that the phrase “pursuit of happiness” means not merely a pursuit of property, as suggested in Mason’s Virginia constitution, but a pursuit of happiness as an political ideal to be left alone in one’s pursuits as long as those pursuits didn’t manifest harm to others.

    Today’s “progressives” cannot stomach the idea of leaving people alone. They’re the ultimate unctuous pecksniffs, people who know what’s good for you and they feel superior to you in a moral fashion because they think they know better than you what is in your best interest.

      • But it’s ok for the government to coerce people into medical procedures with known potential, catastrophic adverse risks?

  17. Rights are determined by cultural consensus, I hate to say. Ultimately, as right change from people to people, and era to era, its becomes clear how arbitrary they are. Ultimately what is a right is what people are willing to fight for, and win.

    • “Rights are determined by cultural consensus” Sad, although an accurate statement. “Consensus” is manufactured and controlled to suit a very small number of people on this planet at the expense of everyone else.

  18. By the Liberal standard of a right, I should be able to walk into any Federal ATF office and say “Gi’me a gun ’cause I got it comin’ to me.”

    Liberals think that if you have a right, it’s the government’s obligation to fulfill that right for you.

  19. I have a right to keep and bear arms, including “weapons of war”, because possession of such weapons gives me the means to defend myself if anyone tries to forcibly deny my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The right does not guarantee that I will not be deprived of my life or liberty. It only guarantees me the means to fight back if I need to.

    There is no right to safety or freedom from fear. We live in a world where evil people exist. Evil people don’t give 2 shits about you or me, or our lives, liberty, happiness, children, or fear. Evil people will take what they want and leave you in a pool of your own blood. They gun down people by the hundreds in Mexico, which bans guns for private citizens. They bludgeon, stab, and shoot people to death in the UK, which heavily restricts guns. They gun down crowds or run them over with trucks in France,which heavily restricts guns. They murder homosexuals, women, children, Jews, Christians, Yazidis, Muslims they consider apostate, and all other undesirables by the thousands in ISIS controlled territory. I could go on and on with examples, but I have made my point. If you encounter one of these people, your only choice is to comply or fight back. If you comply, they will violate one or more of your person, property, life, liberty, happiness, or fear. If you fight back, you have a chance to preserve that which you treasure above all else. If you don’t want to at least be able to own the means to fight back, then you are either naive or a fool and I don’t have much respect for your opinion. Anybody who tells you that you have a right to safety and freedom from fear is manipulating you, and you should distrust everything that drips out of their mouth.

  20. I frequently see rights used interchangeably with expectations. Enumeration vs feelings/desires.

    Or to make it more confusing, I expect Americans to have all their rights respected.

  21. Rights, like pretty much everything else, are matters of opinion. You have the rights that you and your government agree you have.

  22. “Yeah, that “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” thing? That’s from”…John Locke – more specifically the foundation of his definition of Natural Rights (as ditinguished from legal rights), being Life, Liberty, and Property(as derived from the fruits of ones labor). They cannot be infringed upon by anyone’s exercise of the self same rights as exercised by others, and they cannot be surrendered to the “social contract”. They are immutable, inalienable.

  23. Great question for this forum. The concepts of rights and privileges seem to be interchangeable at times. Not to mention the segment of posters here who allegedly swear to support the concepts of individual freedom this country was founded on, then claim the government and private industry have the right to make you and your family’s health care/medical decisions.

  24. I would think that a “right” is indicative of anything you would have if you were living on your own outside of a society. and they put these “rights” on paper because society is inherently nepotistic. “I.E. the people i know can have guns (the rich and powerful) but the people i don’t know (the poor) shouldn’t be able to have guns”.
    the right to defend yourself, the right to say whatever you want, the right to write whatever you want, the right to gather where ever you want. these would all be things you could do with out interference if you lived outside a society.

  25. Sorry, but there’s a flag on the play.

    You can’t roll up in here day in and day out and declare that the 2A is great, but that “the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility”, mentioning constitutional only as an afterthought, then expect to have credibility dismissing their claim to a right because of its mention in a non-legally binding document.

    Universal rights exist independent of any document. Really, by this time next year, your Second Amendment right may not exist and the Constitution may be just another non-legally binding document.

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