I've seen a disturbing pattern from columnist Alan Chea's in the Sierra Star. Time after time he tells us how socialist ideas are good, and references numerous "facts" and "studies" taken but never references the ideas of the Constitution, rights, or individual freedoms. In his world the collectivist control of the state always triumphs over freedom and liberty.
Too bad for him that the current guns right debate has had an unanticipated side effect that for the first time, many Americans are considering the nature and concept of an inalienable "right," which is a right that is "unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor."
Our country was founded on the concept of a government that respects inalienable rights. Our founding fathers and colonial governments spent much time and debate making sure that our Constitution would limit the power of government from the usurping of inalienable rights.
It is little wonder they should, considering that they had seen first hand the Crown of England try to remove those rights at the point of a gun. Had British General Gage not given orders to confiscate the arms of the Colonists at Lexington and Concord, we might still be a British colony.
Many people today are under the mistaken idea that our rights come from the constitution, and if it's not in the constitution, then we have no right to it. Or in the case of the second amendment, that "the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed" actually somehow means the right of the government.
Take for example the right to keep and bear children. Where in the constitution is that you say? It's not addressed at all. So is it a right? Do any two consenting adults have the right to create a child together, or is it a privilege granted by the government?
If it's a right, is it an unlimited right, or is is subject to reasonable restrictions? Can the government limit the right to how many children you can have? Can it require a license as a precondition to bear children? If you have more children than allotted by law, can the government take them away, or worse, force you to have an abortion to comply with the state mandated limits? Can the government choose the sex of your child?
Are we in a gray area with our right to bear children was not explicitly spelled out? Perhaps if the founders had spelled it out explicitly we'd be more clear, more reassured of our right and the limits that government may put on it?
Let's pretend they wrote the right out as such: "Families with children being necessary to the growth of the nation, the right of the people to keep and bear children shall not be infringed."
What does "the right of the people" mean in this context? What does "shall not be infringed" mean? Are you sure? Is it an absolute right? What would you do if the government told you you couldn't have another child? Does this language make the right free of restrictions? Isn't it reasonable that a family should only have two children? Shouldn't high capacity families be banned?
Are we even qualified to form an opinion of this ourselves, or do we need studies devoted to it to make it more clear? Would we trust modern professors or the extensive writings of the men in history who explained the concept of rights they intended to protect with the Constitution?
Do we dare ask if these rights came from God and no man should be able to take them away from us?
For that matter, is it even discernible by an average person what is an inalienable right? Do you even know what an inalienable right is? Do you even care? You should, because the founders of our country knew we have many inalienable rights.
They thought some were so obvious that they didn't need to be written into the constitution. And then there were other inalienable rights which they experienced the King of England and his soldiers violating -- among these the freedom of speech, religion, and keeping and bearing arms.
So they decided that even though it should be clear that these are rights of the people granted by God, not government, it would be worth writing them into law as a restriction of government power in the Bill of Rights.
Don't take my word for it. Read the founders and the Federalist papers. See the arguments they made. Study, think, and pray until you understand what no man can grant you and what no man can take away. Ask what you would do if Congress or the Supreme Court decided that they could limit your right to have and raise your own children, or any other of your inalienable rights.
Would your view of your rights change?