The sentiments expressed here were written before I got serious about this work I do now. It sits as a place holder until I get the new paper written.
You do, however, have Constitutionally protected rights!
A common ad on television exhorts us to “exercise your Second Amendment rights this weekend at the Civic Center. The Gun & Knife Show has come to town!” Now, I’ve seen these ads in California and Colorado in the west, the Commonwealth of Virginia in the east and many States in between, so I know this is a nation wide problem. The problem? We, as a nation, seem to think that we have Constitutional rights.
But, we have the Bill of Rights, I can hear you saying. The Bill of Rights are amendments to the Constitution. We, therefore, have Constitutional rights. End of discussion!
Where in the Constitution does it say that you have the right to travel from one state to another? This right is nowhere in the Constitution, yet we assume we have that right. Our whole automotive culture was built on that very ideal, so where do we get the impression that we have such a right?
For that matter, where in the Constitution, and its amendments, does it say that you have the right choose your own occupation? Start your own business? Own property? Leave this country!? These rights are nonexistent in the Constitution, so where do we get them? Laws handed down by government edict? Hardly!
The founding document of this nation, The Declaration of Independence, explicitly spells out the source of all rights!
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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Unalienable rights are rights that cannot be separated from the individual. Not by knife, chisel or wedge and certainly not by any governmental decree or law! The inclusion of a listing of rights through the Bill of Rights was a concession to the people and the States in order to pass the Constitution. A hotly debated concession at that.
Federalists, like Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, felt that the inclusion of such a list of rights could be interpreted as omitting or denying other rights of the people. Even worse, the inclusion of such a list of rights might be seen as making the Constitution itself as the source of all rights. After fighting a revolutionary war with the superpower of the day, Great Britain, over those very rights, nothing could have been further from the truth!
The Republicans, like Thomas Jefferson and George Mason, felt that if something wasn’t done to protect the rights of the people, then the government would eventually assume that the people had no rights that the government hadn’t chosen to bestow upon them. The inclusion of the Ninth Amendment was crafted in such a way as to demonstrate that the inclusion of enumerated rights did not in any way list all of the rights of the people.
The Tenth Amendment was constructed to reflect the wishes of the founders that if the Constitution didn’t grant a power to the Federal Government, or deny the Feds that power by granting it to the States, that power automatically belongs to the States and the people themselves. This means that the Constitution, as it was imagined and as it stands today, is simply a document for the running of the Federal Government.
Furthermore, while there is still a great amount of contention as to the cause of the American Civil War, the questionably passed Fourteenth Amendment denies the States have any power to diminish our unalienable rights.
Unlike the rest of the Constitutional governments around the world, we don’t recognize our rights as stemming from our Constitution. As a matter of fact, the Declaration of Independence recognizes that no government anywhere has the right to usurp the unalienable rights that belong to all mankind!
That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such for, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
See, I told you that you have no Constitutional rights! That would curtail the rights of the citizens of our Republic!