Who endows our 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.”
The above quotation from the Declaration of Independence is enshrined – or at least has been up to this point – in our nation’s understanding of law, and the relationship between government and people governed. To be sure, the United States in its short history has not always lived up to these values, but that does not make them invalid, and it certainly does not make them unattainable.
In the current societal upheaval, we are seeing, with the “woke,” the anarchistic and the Marxist elements looking to overturn cultural norms, we see a very dangerous trend in the rhetoric – and actions – of the perpetrators: the rise of a statist/fascist ideology that, taken to is logical extreme, would deny the truths the Founding Fathers enshrined in our founding documents.
The rights established by our founding documents were given to us by Nature and Nature’s God. In other words, the rights we enjoy are given to any human being, and cannot be abrogated by a government. That was the principle of the Declaration and one that has been followed throughout our nation’s history. There are those who would dispute that, saying our founding was racist or some other bumper sticker anathema without real thought.
But, we are not here to take up that argument. What we are fearful of is the rising ideology of the ultra-left-wing that seeks to use the power of the state to eradicate those ideas, and, presumably, those people, with whom they disagree. The so-called “Cancel Culture” is nothing more than censorship. And politicians, being the power seekers they are, increasingly are latching onto this ideology. But the question stands, from whom or what are our rights derived.
Even taking out the theological language, the founders would accept that Nature itself endows those rights on man. It was a radical idea for its time, and still is. Until that point, most would say the state, in the person of the reigning monarch, would deign to endow rights onto individuals and groups.
We see in the left-wing radicals a return to that type of understanding. The state would be the font of rights, divvied to groups, classes or individuals as it sees fit. This is the essence of socialist thought and governance. The state determines what is to be allowed, what is to be taught, what is to be read, what is to be shown. One need only look at the continued imposition of dictatorship on the once prosperous city of Hong Kong by the Communist Chinese to understand this is the same type of ideology that drives our (non) Progressive radicals.
That means discussion of ideas or policies that go against the current orthodoxy (take transgenderism, for example) are to be canceled, shunned and the people with these counter ideas excommunicated from society – only to be allowed back in after a period of re-education. Only this week a student at a university took on this pernicious transgender issue, and was suspended until he undergoes “training.” His sin? Saying a man is a man and woman is a woman. No discussion – off to the camps with him.
The same is true now for other bumper sticker issues: white supremacy, anti-abortion, gun rights. Radicals are looking for the state to segregate and shun those who espouse something different. It is the 1950s all over again, only in reverse.
The nation must go back to the idea of rights endowed outside the purview of the state, or we are headed in a direction we thought was brought down in Eastern Europe three decades ago.
We have a choice.