There are Rights, and there are Privileges... and they're not the same thing.
Because you are a human, and not an animal or a plant, you are unique among living creatures on Earth. You have intelligence and ability that surpasses the intelligence and ability of every other living thing on this planet. Because of this, you have certain rights and responsibilities that other living things do not. You have claim upon certain things that other living things do not, and with that claim you have a stewardship that accompanies it. These facts are quite obvious, and can be easily understood when explained in simple terms.
As a human being, you have certain ‘unalienable’ rights, or claims that can be made upon items essential to your humanity. Sometimes these rights are also described as ‘fundamental’, or ‘basic’. No matter how they are described, it is important to note that they are absolutely essential to meaningful human existence, and cannot be infringed upon without committing a universal crime against the individual. Those familiar at all with U.S. history may recognize that these rights were formally (and only) declared in The Declaration of Independence, and later expounded upon by the Bill of Rights. Let it be understood, however, that the declaration of these rights didn’t at all create them, for they existed and were held by all human beings that ever lived on the earth long before any form of government was ever organized.
A clear general
(known by all) knowledge of these fundamental rights and
responsibilities is essential to the continued existence of a
free, prosperous and peaceful society. Let’s discuss for a moment what
these basic human rights are, and what they are not.
There are only three – so it won’t take long. ;-) All other
associated rights are merely derived from these initial,
foundational pillars – the value of each dependent upon the
coexistence of the other two.
Believe it or not, because you are human, you have a right to live. No other living thing (human, creature, plant or otherwise) has a higher claim upon your life than you do. It is yours, and yours alone, and it cannot be threatened or taken without serious legal and eternal consequences. To believe otherwise removes all value and purpose to life itself. Each person that exists on Earth holds this same exact right to their own life. With that life comes your time, individuality, thoughts, creative energy and talents. Any action by another that prevents, or attempts to prevent, you from living violates your right to Life.
Because you exist (thanks to your right to life), you have something called ‘agency’. You have exclusive claim upon directing your life – to make choices for yourself in how you use your time, energy and talents. No one else can, or should, violate this right. You should make your own choices, based on your own understanding, morals and system of beliefs. Sometimes others, regardless of their supposed best intentions (which, by the way, make poor paving material), try to make decisions for us – either by deciding what is ‘right’ for us, or by removing all possible ‘wrong’ choices from our selection. Any kind of act that prevents YOU from deciding what’s best for YOU violates your right to be free.
While the same wording was not used in the Declaration of Independence, the sentiment most certainly was. Instead, the words “pursuit of happiness” were penned, since Thomas Jefferson (even though a slave owner himself) understood the value of human life (including the rights of man) and didn’t want to encourage the practice any further under the new form of government the Founders were hoping to establish. Just like every other human on Earth, you have the right to exclusively own and control your property. Property includes things like your home, your vehicles, your animals, your money, your time and talent. It especially includes your own body, and what you choose to put (or NOT to put) in it. You have an individual right to control your own property – which, by the way, just so happens to be the product of your life and liberty. Simple: Life + Liberty = Property.
The three primary rights just mentioned are absolutely crucial to your existence. Without Life - Liberty and Property are worth nothing. Without Liberty (the power to direct Life and Property) – the others have little value to the individual. And, without the exclusive ownership and control over Property, the purpose and value of Life and Freedom would be made void. All other ‘rights’ claimed in a civilized society are (and must) be derived from one, or a combination of, these basic, fundamental, human rights. It should be recognized that animals and plants do not share these same rights. Animals do not have a right to life, liberty or the ownership and control of property (they are property). Plants do not have a right to life, liberty or property (they are property). Dirt and rocks do not…. okay, you get the picture. ;-)
Now, a word concerning the Source of your Rights. Those with faith will readily acknowledge that their rights as humans were granted to them by a higher intelligence when they themselves were created for a mortal experience here on Earth. But… what if you don’t believe in a higher power? What if you’re an Atheist or Agnostic? Don't you have the same rights as everyone else? The answer is an obvious, “Of course!” Whether you believe your rights came from God, or not, doesn't change the fact that they exist and are of paramount importance in society, and in your relation to government. The fact is – and no one can successfully argue otherwise – that human rights existed long before government ever did. So, anyone telling you that your rights came from the Constitution, or some law, or because some bureaucrat granted them to you is selling something, and it isn't freedom. It should be understood, however, that in America the Constitution of the United States was established in order to secure these rights to those that lived within its protection, and to future generations that were fortunate enough to be born in, or brought to this land.
Remember: You hold the same basic rights as every other human being on the planet. It’s crucial to also understand that Rights do not overlap. If someone else has a right to a specific something, then you do not. Likewise, if you have a right to a specific something, then no one else does. That is the essence of a ‘right’. When it comes to human action, you should be free to act (make any choice you want to make concerning your own body and/or property) within your own sphere, so long as you do not prevent someone else from doing the exact same thing with their own rights. This understanding is the responsibility mentioned above that is associated with such rights.
Since things can still be a little confusing sometimes, let's discuss in greater detail a few of the other things you have a right to, thanks to the three basic rights mentioned above. Remember, all other humans have these same rights, and your right to do the following things shouldn't in any way prohibit someone else from doing these same things. Your rights stop where theirs begin. And, likewise, their rights stop where yours begin.
Since you have a right to be free, you have a right to decide how to use your mind, time, energy and talents. You have a right to work and produce a good or service that others desire. If you have your own business, only YOU should decide how it's run. If you work for someone else, no one else should prohibit you from going to work when asked to.
No matter the price of food at the nearby supermarket, you have the right to grow your own food. Whether it's livestock, or a garden, the earth is fully capable of producing enough food for the hungry, many times over.
As explicitly penned in the U.S. Constitution, you have a right to travel, and no one should stop you. If you want to walk across the entire country, you are free to do so. To prohibit you from doing otherwise would be equal to imprisonment.
Regardless of the existence of "Free Speech Zones", you have a right to have your own opinion, and to express it. Others may or may not listen (they can make that choice for themselves), but you have a right to use your lips or fingers to say whatever it is you have to say to the world.
When you labor (whether it's primarily physical or mental), you produce something; typically a product or service for someone else that desires it. You trade your time, energy and/or skills for something else that you see as having greater value or benefit to you. When you willingly give up whatever is required in your work, your right to it was transferred to whatever you received in exchange for your work. Your "fruit" may come from the hard work in your orchard. Or, it may be the meat you receive from your neighbor in exchange for the fresh vegetables from your garden. Or, it may be the paycheck your employer gives you after a hard two weeks at the factory. Whatever it is, it's the fruit of your labor, and you have an exclusive right to own and control it.
Unless you're violating the rights of someone else, no other person has a right to your attention. Like everyone else, you have the right to decide with whom you associate. While naturally social creatures, we still have a right to decide whom we will communicate or be around. Some people decide they don't want to be around others, or give their attention to someone or something else. And, that's just fine. We each have a right to be left alone, and live our lives free of harassment from others.
Because you have a right to life, you have a right to defend that life, no matter what it takes. You also have a responsibility to come to the defense of others; your family, neighbors and even complete strangers. Why? Because if something or someone is threatening them, it could very well threaten you next. Your safety and well being are ultimately your responsibility.
To learn more about how to maintain your rights, visit the Maintaining Rights page.
Lesson: Be careful what you ask for.
Yes, there are some things in life that we just don't have a right to. Some of these things mentioned below may come as quite a surprise. But whenever something of interest enters your mind, ask yourself if having or doing that thing requires the time, energy and/or productive talents of someone else in order for you to have or do it. If it does... then you don't have a right to it.
It would be great if everyone was a "winner". But, the fact is, everyone isn't. Sometimes there are people that lose. The game of life is riddled with risks. Some are wise, and make good choices. Others are not, and make poor choices. Sometime even timing has a significant effect. We each have agency to make our own choices. Because of this, no one else can be blamed for our wrong choice or when we decided to act in a certain way. Regardless of where we start out in life, we can choose to make correct choices, and benefit from them, or make poor choices and suffer the natural consequences. We learn and grow using two methods: 1) By making and correcting mistakes, or 2) Learning from others' mistakes, and avoiding them ourselves. Good things in life (whether material, social, financial or otherwise) often come from making correct choices. You don't have a right to succeed unless you make correct choices.
While this may seem a bit contradictory, it's actually quite clear when put in the right light. You have a right to live, there's no question there. However, if something else (disease, age, accident or otherwise) happens to be affecting such, do you have a right to demand the time, energy or talents (aka, "services") of others in the medical world to help you sustain that life? Absolutely not. Because your life is yours, and yours alone, you are ultimately responsible for its care. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention (your part) is worth a pound of cure (their part)." If you choose to ignore the known requirements to sustain that life, you do so at your own peril. In addition, sometimes "life happens", and we are subject to physical or mental trials. Remember above all, life's risky... you could die from it! :-)
We have gone over this before, but just in case... NO person has the right to take or use another person's property without their consent. This would include money, physical property or even another person's time and labor. Just because someone else may want it or even need it, does not make it their right to take it. This applies the same for those who work in government and those who do not.
Believe it or not, YOU control how you feel. Only YOU can decide if something or someone offends you. Because of this fact (and because you cannot directly control how others choose to use their liberty) you don't have a right to prevent others from doing things that naturally offend you. Being offended over the actions or words of others is just a choice, and never warrants injustice toward others simply for using their freedom differently than you do.
Regardless of what prominent politicians may think or claim, access to the Internet, or even fast Internet, is not essential to life. The Internet is a super complex network, made up of millions of devices, and constantly requires the productive efforts and amazing talents of other folks to maintain it. Therefore you do not have a right to have the Internet. Sorry. However, if you pay a service provider for access, great! That's the way it should be, since they have to hire lots of geeks to keep the thing running smoothly, and "your" YouTube videos flowing.
Even though a business owner has their doors open to the public, and generally wishes to provide their goods and/or services to the public, doesn't mean they have, in any way, given up their natural unalienable right to withhold such. A private business owner has every right to refuse their products or services to anyone, at any time, and for any reason they wish (disclosed or not). Businesses are simply made up of individual free people, operating together with a common name and purpose. No one has a right to demand they provide their goods or services to those they wish not to. Period.