No, Rights Do Not Come From Government

By Austin Anderholt | United States

In America, we live in such a common, yet such a dangerous misconception. This misconception is taught to us from schools. If we don’t agree with it, we aren’t true “patriots.” If we challenge it, we are “silly anarchists.” What is this idea? It’s that government gives you your rights.

In America, a big part of the United States is that “The constitution is so great because it gives me the right to do things!” It sounds so great! Hip hip hurray for the constitution because it makes us free!

This couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Not the Constitution, nor any other government for that matter, gives you your rights. Why? Because your rights are natural, and a piece of paper can neither grant you them nor take them away.

So where do rights come from? How do we know that rights are natural and that you are born with them? Well, to understand this, one has to realize that you own yourself. You are conscious of your own body and yours only. No threat of force can change that. No matter how many times the government locks you in a cage for smoking a plant, collecting rainwater, or existing without a permit, you still are the master of your own body.

This idea is reflected in our legal system quite well. If I go out and attack someone, I am punished because I made the conscious decision to attack.

“But! The constitution is what protects your rights from the government taking them away!”

Wrong. The government violates the constitution all the time, just to name a few, they violate the 2nd amendment that states the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed” with gun laws. They violate the tenth amendment that states anything not stated in the constitution doesn’t go to the federal government. I can go on for hours. The point is, the constitution was arbitrary. Even if the government always followed the constitution, what if they amended it, and tried to take away all of your rights? Is that justified? What about in another country where the government’s rights for the citizens are different? Are you a different human depending on what country you’re in?

In conclusion, the constitution has some great ideas for what the rights we should have, but it does not determine what rights you have. It is a piece of paper written by some men claiming to be the government. If all that I need to determine what rights you have is to have a government to write them down, then I, Austin Anderholt, need only to declare myself the government and write down “There are no rights” on a piece of paper, and I would’ve succeeded in taking away all rights.

Image source.