[Swiftwater Gazette] Core concept of American Rights

Ed kroposki kroposki at att.net
Mon Jul 31 10:38:17 EDT 2017

The following was written 7 years ago.  However, it is important today in understanding the difference between Progressives and Conservatives, or between National Democrats and Traditional Americans:

“Theroot of the American idea are the truths that our founders describedas "self-evident" but that many people first take for granted and then fail to defend: that thiscountry is based on faith in the uniqueness and capacity forself-determination of each individual.”ByHeather Higginshttps://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2008/11/03/barack-obamas-poor-understanding-of-the-constitution
Butthe founders were deeply purposefuland intellectually coherent in their definition of rights.Classically, rights are the lowest, most basic universal claims.Think of them as the ground rules for everyone, weak and strong, torespect each other and get on.
Theimportant characteristicsof American rights: 
“First,they exist outside of us, coming from God or nature, not government, and so are independent of the whims of government and cannot beeither manufactured or, of even greater concern, extinguished whenthey get in the way of someone powerful. Noone has to give us the ability to pursue happiness; it comes fromwithin ourselves.
“Second,they are timeless, applying regardless of whether it's 200 years agoor a thousand years in the future—governments can't use the excuse "well, that was then, but times have changed." 
“Third,they are universal, applying to everyone, not just some preferredsubset.
“Andfourth, they are noncoercive, or negative: They delineate what others cannot deprive you of without due process of law.And they prevent you from being coerced.
“Thefounders were not cold hearted. The very understanding of rights asthe lowest obligation means that there are also higher obligations:You can't force someone to be a good Samaritan, but you can expect itof anyone decent. Those who give,give of their free will and consensually, not because the governmentforces it. 
Rightsdon't exist in a vacuum; they carry corollary responsibilities thatfall on the citizens who enjoy those rights.That understanding is precisely why volunteerism has such a strongtradition in this country; we knew caring for our neighbor was ourresponsibility as citizens, not the government's.
ButObama, like many leftists before him, is unhappy with the constraintsof our Constitution. He wants to turn voluntary responsibilities andmoral obligations that citizens choose to undertake into so-calledaffirmative rights. That idea is sugarcoated as "what thegovernment must do on your behalf." But that sort of thinking—that government should do it—is precisely what sapsvolunteerism and helps explain why both the Obamas' and the Bidens'charitable contributions are so pitiful.
It'salso important to remember that if the governmentis doing something for one person—"redistributive change"as Obama wants, it must do something to someone else—which isexactly what our Constitution specifically precludes. 
Buteven more radically undermining ofthe American idea is Obama's idea that government can create new"rights." If Obamabelieves government can create rights, then that means he thinksgovernments can also take them away.

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