When’s the last time you heard a phrase like “First Amendment rights” or “Second Amendment rights” or “Constitutional rights”? If you’re at all politically tuned in, you’ve probably heard these phrases multiple times just in the past week, and perhaps hundreds or thousands in your lifetime. And guess what?
You’re being deceived, every single time.
Rights don’t come from a document, or from government, or from people, or from society. “Rights” which are “granted” to you by some other worldly entity or source are no rights at all, but rather, privileges. This is not debatable, it is not an opinion – it is definitively true. Rights come from God, or from nature (from first principles) – the only rights which exist are natural rights.
You have a full and unalienable natural right to own yourself. To deny such would be utterly foolish; if you do NOT own yourself, then someone else must own you; and for someone else to own you, they must first own themselves! The principle of self-ownership is the only logical and non-contradictory theory of bodily rights; your body is fully your own property.
Property rights flow from self-ownership in much the same way. You have a full and unalienable natural right to own your property, that is to say, the fruits of your own labor – or – that which you have voluntarily and contractually traded for the fruits of your own labor. Again, to deny this is foolish, since the only way to reject my property rights is to claim them for yourself or others; but to claim them for yourself or others, you would first have to accept the principle of property rights!
So, where does freedom of speech come from? Property rights! Who has a higher claim to your tongue than you?
Where does freedom of religion come from? Property rights! Who has a higher claim to your intellect (or, perhaps lack thereof!) than you?
Where does freedom of the press come from? Property rights! Who has a higher claim to your pen, and the output of your own hand, than you?
And where does freedom of ownership (for instance, firearms OR vegetation [“drugs”]) come from? Property rights! Who has a higher claim to your property than you?
Referring to your natural (or God-given) rights as “Constitutional rights” is dangerous. If your right to free speech, or to keep and bear arms, or to be secure in your property, came from the Constitution, then such a “right” could just as easily be taken by the Constitution. But rights transcend documents, governments, people, and society. They come from God, from nature, and from first principles. As such, they can (and often are) violated by such worldly entities; but they cannot, ever, be taken away.
So the next time you hear talk about “Constitutional rights”, be sure to straighten out the story. Rights may be recognized by the Constitution… but Constitutional rights don’t exist.