We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Those few words, from the Declaration of Independence, are as close as one might find to be the sum total of the principle of liberty. 

Your rights are yours.  They are yours by your nature, and you are entitled to exercise them. Governments exist only to protect those rights.  And that is the only reason they exist.

Your rights come from your “Creator” – whether you determine that to be God, your god, your parents, some speckles of dust, or whatever that may be.  But your rights are not – in any way whatsoever – a gift from politicians.

That’s just the point that Chuck makes recently on his “tcoverride” blog.  Here’s an excerpt:

Rights, all rights, belong to me, they are neither granted nor given, they are mine, not yours, and the gummint has absolutely no right to think they can take away or even limit those rights.

Chuck’s absolutely right – about rights, that is.  He continues:

There is simply no right guaranteed by the constitution. The constitution guarantees that the government, be it the President, Congress, or even the “Justices for Life” in the supreme court can’t encroach upon, infringe upon, or otherwise limit my rights.

Again, right on the mark.  The Constitution doesn’t give Chuck any rights, it doesn’t give you any rights.  In fact, the Constitution doesn’t apply to people at all.

The Constitution applies to the government.  Its sole purpose was to spell out what the government can do.

The key principle of the Constitution is quite simple: positive grant. Unfortunately, this is not a phrase that many of us hear in daily banter these days. But, it’s not a complicated principle at all.

What it means is this – the US federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers which are specifically given to it in the Constitution. Nothing more, and nothing less.

Period.  End of story.

The founders felt so strongly about this principle that they codified it in law as the Tenth Amendment:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Just a casual review of the activities of the federal government would make clear that there’s very little that it does which is actually authorized by the Constitution.

For many, many years, we’ve allowed our politicians to interpret and bend the rules of the Constitution; ostensibly for good reasons. But, we have to face reality. When you allow politicians to do this over long periods, eventually you end up with leaders who feel that the law doesn’t apply at all.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

If we are to have a free society for the future, we must reign in this out-of-control federal government, and return to our Constitution.

Until then, kudos to Chuck, and everyone else still standing up for their rights…