Here’s the thing about rights: in THIS country, they are given to We The People by our Creator. God has given each individual citizen of this country these rights. AMONG them (meaning there are more than just these) are the right to life, liberty, property, and the PURSUIT of happiness (read: not guaranteed success, here). There is a common misconception that the government gives us our rights. This is a problem because then we get lawmakers (like Sen. Dodd, for instance) saying things like, “So today we stand ready to pass a bill into law that finally makes access to quality health care a right for every American…”

Ooooo, sorry, no. And, in accordance with our Declaration of Independence, he has just declared himself to be our Creator since only that Being can afford us rights. AAAwkwaaard.

Not every country does the “rights” thing like we do. In Russia, they claim that the people have rights (doesn’t say from whom) and that the government is to protect those rights. But, if the people run the government, then the government can give and take away rights, according to their very own words. Not so in America. We have rights, they are given to us by our Creator, and the purpose of government is to protect those rights. Period. They cannot give rights and, more importantly, they cannot take them away.

That’s why the founding documents are written in the negative. It tells what the government CAN’T do to you…the rest is up to you. If you want to be a no-good, lazy, meaner-than-all-get-out kind of person, fine. If you want to be a nice, kind, loving, good-natured, helpful sort, that’s fine, too. You just can’t take away anyone else’s right to be who they have the right to be. For instance, your choice to rob me must stop where my right to private property begins. My right to my stuff trumps your desire to take it because you would be denying me my right and that’s what the government is there to protect. Side note: that’s one of the many, many reasons for the Second Amendment to the Constitution, as well. The government, because it is not your mommy, won’t be right there to hold your hand, tuck you into bed, and it won’t always be on hand to fulfill its duty to protect your rights, so you can use some of your rights to protect your other rights (life, property, etc.).

One truly easy way to decide if the government is pulling a fast one and calling something a right that is not is this: ask yourself if it costs anything. For instance, me being alive costs the government nothing. In fact, I pay them taxes, so the fact that I live could give them money. But that’s beside the point. If I own property, does that cost anyone else and/or the government anything? Nope. If I have health care, does it cost money? YES! Red Alert, Red Alert! This cannot be a right because our Creator didn’t give us the right to health care. This is a service, a privilege, whatever you want to call it…but you CANNOT call it a right. You want to change that? You’ll have to amend the Constitution.

Another way to decide is: can it be guaranteed no matter what the economic state of the country is? I own a weed whacker…bought and paid for. Does it matter what the unemployment rate is? Nope. The government cannot take my weed whacker away…it’s mine. If I am walking around, just living and not committing crimes, can the government kill me or jail me just because the Federal Reserve is monetizing the debt? No, again! However, can the government, if I am on the government health care plan (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), ration my care because there is no tax revenue because the economic times stink? Yep. Red flag all over again.

FDR wanted a second bill of rights that promised people the freedom from want and freedom from fear. There is a reason that our founders did not write one of these. This changes the scenario of our Creator giving rights, to the government giving rights. If the government is in charge of giving rights, the logical reasoning that follows is that it can also take them away.