Our nation was founded upon the principles of “natural rights,” based upon the concept that our Creator gave us all basic freedoms. This is established in the Declaration of Independence, establishing the three most important natural rights, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
These natural rights are sometimes called, “negative rights,” because they do not take anything away from anyone else. Free speech, religion, 2nd amendment, etc, all were put into the Bill of Rights to establish some of those natural rights, which the government could not take away from us.
It is this concept of each person being his/her own free agent that has allowed people in many nations to arise out of poverty and terror, and into a truly meaningful life, which they can pursue for themselves.
The Constitution was established to ensure our natural rights, founded in the Declaration of Independence, would be protected by government. Our president, Congress, judges, military and others swear an oath to defend and protect the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. This ensures the citizens are free, as long as government remembers its key role is to protect our natural rights.
Some people, however, including many in Congress, want to add to these natural rights a group of claimed rights called “positive rights.” They aren’t called positive because they are good, but because they require limiting someone else’s personal sovereignty, freedoms, and natural rights, in order to give something to someone else. Medicare for All is an example of a positive right, taking money away from some to benefit others.
The problem with positive rights is it trashes the key concept of the Declaration of Independence. Instead of us being free citizens with natural rights from the Creator, rights suddenly are given by the government. No longer free, but subject to the whims of a changing government, we become slaves.
A government that gives us rights, can also take away our rights. We then are no longer citizens, but serfs. We can hope for benefits from the government, and fear its punishing wrath, when it becomes no longer the protector of natural rights, but the one who bequeaths rights.
This is exactly what our Founding Fathers sought to avoid. European kings and lords were the ones who provided benefits and rights to the people, mostly serfs. Serfs could only hope to dwell under a kind lord, who would not overwork them, overtax them, or imprison them for the smallest things. Remember Prince John of Robin Hood fame? He was notorious for taxing the people to enrich himself, but also to pay for King Richard’s expensive Crusades (and a ransom, when Richard was kidnapped). When starving, the poor could only hope for a bit of bread from the Lord’s largess.
Once freedom became a part of the reality, people fled to freedom. Pilgrims and many others chose the dangers of the American wilderness over the captivity of England’s rulers. They risked starvation and death, but freedom raises all boats, and citizens became well off.
As other nations began accepting even a little freedom for its people, extreme poverty shrank from 90% of the world to under 10% in the last 150 years. China’s acceptance of free markets has created a middle class of 600 million people over the past 30 years. Meanwhile, Venezuela languishes in militant violence and poverty, because of government taking away rights from the people of what once was a free, healthy and wealthy nation.
For those government people who think they do us a favor by regulating our lives and offering us new “rights,” please don’t. You are going against your oath of office. Protect our natural rights. Protect our freedoms.
Taxation is Theft (mandatory Libertarian stock phrase).