Where do our rights come from?

So many pressure groups in the public square carrying signs and shouting or screaming for and about “rights” – can we make any sense of this?

Are we groping for the truth here with blurred vision?




So, where do our rights come from?

Not from government.

Our natural, true rights come from God.  (Yes, a revolutionary thought in this depraved age.)  Our natural rights do not come from the social engineers and/or revolutionaries sitting on courts.  Do not let yourself be deceived about this.  If current legal rights conflict with, or are in contradiction to natural rights, these legal rights are counterfeit rights.

Governments, and those individuals who make up the government, can only affirm, protect and defend our natural God-given rights, or trample upon these rights.  But, governments do not and cannot create rights, true rights.  Legal rights flow from our natural rights and to be authentic must not conflict with natural rights.

other related thoughts and questions

Can a moral evil ever be a “right”?

This question hints at the larger question of whether there are moral absolutes.  To find these moral absolutes, man must look outside of himself.  Can flawed (if not fallen) atheistic man come up with a moral moral code?  We think not.

Be careful who you listen to or seek counsel from as there are, sad to say, many “Christian” apologists for some of the great moral evils of our time which are currently promoted as “rights”.  Not wishing to offend anyone, they run from the truth.

Freedom requires personal responsibility.  Much of this blather about personal rights is essentially a demand for the acceptance (and societal approval) of licentiousness (even when it harms others).

If we allow government to give us counterfeit rights and trample upon our true rights as it enforces the current statist paradigm, we will rather quickly move towards a new Dark Age.  Open dissent, criticism of government abuse of authority, and civil disobedience will be proscribed.  Independent thinking will be dangerous, and true freedom will not exist.

When considering such topics and questions, do our thought processes truncate, and leave us in darkness?



copyright 2017 – larrysmusings.com


  1. There are practical rights. There are rhetorical rights. Jefferson used both in the Declaration of Independence. When he claimed that “we are ordained by our Creator with certain inalienable rights”, he was being rhetorical. When he said, “to secure these rights, governments are instituted” he was being practical.

    The problem with saying that this right or that right is the one that God or Nature favors, is rhetorical, pending some proof that God or Nature prefers that right.

    All practical rights arise by agreement. We agree to respect and protect certain rights for each other. Laws are rules we create that make the specific behavior that threatens these rights illegal. Rules and rights come in pairs, like two sides of the same coin. Rules protect rights.

    To say that I respect and protect your right to your property means that (a) I will not steal from you and (b) if I see someone stealing your car, I’ll call the cops. And that is how the right becomes practical.

    But if you claim a right, and no one agrees with you, then they will not respect or protect it for you.

    Rule systems are tools of morality. Thus, any two alternative rules, such as a rule that says you must return a runaway slave versus a rule that outlaws slavery, is resolved by moral judgment.

    Morality seeks the best good and least harm for everyone. That is the criteria by which the two rules are compared. We estimate the benefits and harms we expect from rule (a) versus the benefits and harms we expect from rule (b). The rule that achieves the best good and least harm for everyone is selected.

    1. “All practical rights arise by agreement.” But, herein lies the problem. There are “practical” rights declared from on high from the Supreme Court that are not based on agreement. So-called gay marriage is one. (We have previously lamented that the checks and balances in our system are only as good as the character and integrity of the men and women in the other branches of government.) As well, we have these so-called fundamental constitutional rights that are not found in the Constitution (either explicitly or specifically) except by activist jurists. These implied or occulted rights conflict with moral absolutes (which moral relativists and social revolutionaries hate). Abortion is a prime example. How can a moral evil be a right?

      1. One of the problems with human institutions is that they’re manned by, well, humans. Since college I had concluded that gays had the right to live together, and to be treated equally in employment, housing, etc. There had to be some good reason before we could deny them equal treatment, if they were not causing harm to anyone else. So I favored accommodating them through domestic partnership contracts. When it was suggested we call the relationship “marriage”, I balked. I left the UU church for a couple years after learning they were pushing for that.

        Homosexual orientation should be viewed as a handicap. A handicap impedes or prevents someone from doing what a person is normally able to do, like seeing (blindness), hearing (deafness), or, in this case, mating. Normally, sexual attraction and gender work together to encourage mating with the opposite sex. But, in the case of the homosexual, the attraction is to the wrong gender. And this handicaps their ability to mate like the rest of us do. Thus, like a ramp for the person in a wheelchair, we morally ought to help them with their handicap, by allowing them the recognition of their relationship as a couple, parallel to a married couple.

        The reason I didn’t want to celebrate it as marriage was because I believe that everyone is what I would call “bi-capable”. Homosexuals have married the opposite sex and raised families. The Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, for example, told his wife in advance that he had homosexual attractions. But they married anyway, carried out a ministry together, and had two daughters. It was only after that that the Bishop and his wife decided they should divorce, so that he could follow his natural inclinations. And the congregation accepted an openly gay Bishop.

        The problem that I saw, was that, in the same fashion that Robinson (and probably hundreds of others) was capable of a heterosexual relationship, many heterosexuals are equally capable of a homosexual relationship. And I saw that as a moral harm. A person with a normal sexual orientation could be drawn into a homosexual relationship, by satisfying their emotional and sexual needs. So I wrote a letter to the Vermont legislature representatives recommending that they not call it “marriage”. And I think they decided to call it a “civil union” instead. (Though I doubt it was due to my letter).

        Anyway, the Supreme Court decided to call it “marriage”. And I can understand how that makes things simpler and more efficient. Instead of having multiple laws dealing with two different arrangements, you just have the same marriage laws and apply them to homosexual as well as heterosexual couples. But I still am concerned about the unintended consequence of heterosexuals being, I don’t know any other word, “seduced” into a homosexual relationship, by someone who provides the emotional support and the sexual satisfaction.

        The homosexual taboo went over board. People like Matthew Shepherd were murdered for being homosexual. So the taboo had to go. The correct negative association, in my opinion, is to view it as a handicap.

        Wow. That was long. Sorry. And we still have to deal with abortion. 😇

        I view the problem this way: 2 cells, 4 cells, or 8 cells is not a person. They may eventually become a person, but we can’t yet call them that, at least not yet. DNA contains a blueprint for building a person. After the egg is fertilized, the cells begin building a body to contain a person. But no one has moved in yet.

        A person is able to experience himself or herself in their environment. It is estimated that the neurology to accomplish that is not achieved until sometime after the 25th week, when the fetus becomes able to experience pain, but possibly as early as the 20th week. Thus we do not say that a person exists until sometime after the 20th week. And that’s what the current legislation is about. At some point after the 20th week, someone has moved into the body. The Wikipedia article suggests this is after the 27th week. Here’s a link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prenatal_perception

        The vast majority of abortions occur long before the 20th week. In Wikipedia’s article on Abortion, they provide statistics under “Gestational age and method” indicating the percent of abortions at different fetal ages.

        Hope that is helpful.

      2. “Hope that is helpful.”

        Not really. Your logic is flawed. Embryology says that life begins at conception. There is no other point at which it can begin – not before and not after. Your argument is a akin to a quality of life argument, and is not respecting the sanctity of innocent human life. (There is very little you can tell me about abortion. “Pro-choice” people need to come out of their state of denial.)

      3. You’re certainly correct that a new human life begins at conception. I suppose our disagreement would be at what point in development it can be said that a “person” exists. A person has an interest in his or her life. But the human life form at conception does not. What a person decides to hold sacred is a matter of personal belief. I don’t choose to hold the zygote sacred.

      4. And, you buy into a false dichotomy that one can be a human being but not a “person” in legalese. Your thinking was that of the slavers in pre Civil War US. Why bother commenting when you just put forth sophistry?

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