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Human Rights vs. Natural Rights

Tyranny, or freedom.

by
AWR Hawkins

Bio

May 28, 2012 - 12:00 am

Leftists are masters of language. By shifting words and phrases, they are frequently able to secure victory in an argument with many apolitical, salt-of-the-earth Americans and even some conservatives. They’ve done this in the classroom by referring to the American military as “imperialist,” and in the public square by labeling capitalism as a greedy system whereby people only become rich at the expense of others.

Yet over the course of the last few decades, the Left’s most rewarding play on language has been a not-so-subtle shift from focusing on natural rights to focusing on “human rights.” The former are fixed and derived from God through nature, while the latter are in flux and founded solely upon the decisions various governments and ruling entities make regarding innumerable definitions of freedom.

Our Founding Fathers based the Bill of the Rights on the natural, unchanging rights with which we were endowed by our Creator. Thus they recognized not only our right to freedom of speech, but also freedom of religion and freedom of the press. They recognized not only our right to pursue and own property, but also to be secure in that property, and we were even to have security in our own persons. And to defend these and other natural rights, our Founders recognized that we had a right to keep and bear arms which shall not be infringed.

But a free press, security in our property, and private gun ownership are anathema to tyrants, megalomaniacs, and dictators the world over. They also serve as a hindrance to domestic enemies of Western civilization who spend their days in the classroom, indoctrinating young minds that don’t know any better. They tell of variously defined human rights, which at this particular moment include “rights” to education, contraception, public transportation, abortion, and internet access. It’s important to understand that just as natural rights are anathema to leftists, so too these human rights destroy the protections our Founding Fathers instituted regarding our natural rights.

For example, our money is part of our property, but we cannot be secure in it so long as the government is confiscating it for use in funding transportation and internet access for those that lack them. Nor can we be secure in it if the government has to take a portion to pay for education and contraceptives for everyone who wants them.

Through this redistributive process, human rights actually diminish the dignity of humanity by encouraging the recipients of “free” to rely on government for solutions. This is the complete opposite of natural rights, which require that we look to ourselves rather than to government for solutions.

Human rights are dependent upon a certain place and time. For example, public transportation has not been considered a human right until recently, nor has internet access, contraceptives, or the most frequently emphasized human right as of late, gay marriage. Natural rights, on the other hand, are not reliant upon a certain place and time. They always were and always will be, just as the Creator who endowed us with them.

Our Founding Fathers did not envision freedom for a time or liberty that was dependent upon the whims of men or the rulers of men. Rather, they understood that Western civilization stood or fell on the timelessness of natural rights and the system of ordered liberty into which those rights fit. It is to our detriment that we trade these rights for human constructs which opportunistic leftists invent in order to inch their way into our lives.

AWR Hawkins is a conservative writer who holds a Ph.D. in military history from Texas Tech University.
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