The Rights of Man
By Steve Deace
Recently a discussion of this story about DC Comics being pressured by homosexual activists to fire one of its writers because he’s on the board of the National Organization of Marriage prompted vigorous debate on my Facebook wall. While perusing through the various comments, I decided today’s morning briefing would be an opportune time for a refresher about the term “rights.”
There are two types of rights: unalienable and contractual.
Sometimes referred to as a natural right (i.e. “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” reference from The Declaration of Independence), an unalienable right is a right that comes from God and thus can be accessed in your natural state without consent from another party because it existed before you were born, and will still exist in nature after you die. It’s inherent to being made in the image of God.
Should another party attempt to stop you from accessing your unalienable (or natural) rights they are guilty of a crime, oppression, tyranny, or all of the above. For example, I do not require anyone’s consent to breathe air for it is foundational to my natural state of being. However, should you attempt to stop me from breathing then you are guilty of assault, battery, manslaughter, or murder if you’re ultimately successful.
If it requires consent from another party to access it then it is not an unalienable (aka natural) right, because you have to impose upon someone else’s unalienable (aka natural) rights in the process. Taking someone else’s person or property without their consent is what we call a crime.
Nowadays some are claiming unalienable (or natural) rights that don’t exist.
For example, you do not have an unalienable (or natural) right to marry or have sex with whomever you want, because partaking of each of those activities requires consent from another party. We call people who believe they can have sex (aka “physical intimacy”) with whomever they want rapists and put them in prison whenever we can. We call people who believe they can marry whomever they want cult leaders, sultans, kings, and tyrants because they’re acquiring harems and concubines.
Likewise, you also don’t have a natural right to live where you want as I’ve heard some claim on issues like immigration. To believe that requires you to believe that private property doesn’t exist. You can’t have it both ways. If you believe I have the right to defend my own property (which our founders absolutely did), then you also have to believe that “we the people” have the right to defend our own property as well. In a “government by the consent of the governed” that property in this case are the borders and lands of these United States of America. We own them and they are our private property. Therefore, we have a right to possess and police them accordingly.
As an aside, one of the first institutions enacted by God in the direct theocracy He established in ancient Israel was private property. The Israelites were to be kind to the alien or sojourner in the land (and sojourner means passer-by not squatter), but at the same time were commanded to defend their lands and culture to the point of even religious conformity. In other words, if the Philistines attacked and ransacked Edom the fleeing Edomites weren’t allowed to cross the border to Israel, demand citizenship, and then continue their own pagan culture in “Little Edom” in the name of diversity. You either conformed to the worship of Jehovah, and thus the Hebrew culture, or you were gone. And you weren’t allowed to make a claim on anyone else’s productivity, either. There were no handouts. Yes, those with more were called to leave the extras from their crops for those with less. But those with less had to go work those crops for those leftovers themselves, so that even in charity a man that would not work would not eat.
God also used personal private property as a safety net and for the formation of a middle class. These properties were to stay in the family possession for as long as the Israelites possessed the land so there would always be food and assets within the family to provide for them, lest they become a burden on their neighbors. This was so important that should a family fall into debt and sell those lands a formal time was set aside for debtors to forgive those debts lest that family be forced into slavery, which in Bible times was a means of paying off debts and not just a means of oppression as it was in our nation’s history.
Rights that require the consent of another party are contractual rights.
A good example of contractual rights would be the U.S. Constitution, which begins with the words, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union.” Immediately the parties involved in the contract are established: the people, the states, and the federal government (or union). From there each party states in the contract the terms, jurisdictions, and liabilities each are responsible for and permitted to perform. Some of the rights in the Constitution are unalienable (natural) rights like the freedom of speech and the freedom of worship, because you don’t require consent to access them. That’s why the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law” prohibiting or establishing those things, because Congress has no power to either establish or take away that which “the Law of Nature and Nature’s God” alone bestows.
However, other rights in the Constitution are purely contractual, but where people get confused here is they fail to understand this language is intended to bind the government and not the individual. For example, the government consents to saying it has no right for “unlawful search and seizure” as other governments in human history have indulged. It is not saying you as a private person have a right to therefore store crack cocaine in your locker or illicit pictures of children on your computer. This is the government contracting with its citizens to limit its own means, not the other way around. In fact, that is the theme of the entire Bill of Rights. Just because the state promises not to exceed its authority over the individual does not give the individual the right to exceed his authority over “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
That is always the highest authority.
For example, should the U.S. Federal Court hear a civil suit between two murderous drug cartels because one failed to deliver the promised narcotics to the other and thus violated the contract? Of course not, because their very activity violates “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” therefore the proper response is to arrest them as criminals instead.
Similarly, just because someone consents to having sex with you doesn’t mean that suddenly you have a contractual right to have sex with them. Is the person just a child and therefore unable to make a mature decision? Is that person mentally unstable or disabled, and thus unsure of what it is they’re really consenting to? Is that person married to someone else?
In conclusion it comes down to this, if our rights first and foremost come from “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” then anything we do to indulge or claim those rights that violates that law isn’t a right. It’s a transgression—even if the other party(s) consents to it. That simply means they’re just as guilty as you are.
You have no right to do that which God says is wrong. Never have, never will, and should an earthly authority contradict this and permit your fallen nature to manifest itself, the God the “father of the Constitution” James Madison referred to as “the Governor of the universe” will ultimately adjudicate your case in eternity.
(You can friend “Steve Deace” on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)