Rights and Privileges / by kevin murray

Our Declaration of Independence declares that our Creator has given us "certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  These are just some of our implicit rights and our Declaration of Independence goes on to state that in order to secure these rights our government is instituted among men, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.  Additionally, when our Constitution was passed into law, an integral part of our Constitution, was the ratified Ten Amendments, also known as our Bill of Rights, which further stipulated specific rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of the press, rights to be secure against searches or seizures in our persons or our houses, and that we have rights retained by the people not specifically enumerated by the Constitution, to name just a few of our most important and precious rights.


Rights however, are not the same things as privileges, in which privileges are government-issued and government-sanctioned activities which can either be granted or revoked, according essentially to government dictate.  Consequently, a country that has inherent and implicit rights which are unalienable and granted by our God is by definition, superior and safer to the individual and his rights as opposed to a country that within its government laws, police, and judicial actions, makes its own rules according to what it believes to be best for the people or for the government at large.


The more power that the people cede to government, the more their lives will be dependent upon government fiat and less on their own initiative and effort.  Additionally, just because a Constitution has been created and enacted which recognizes the sovereignty of God, above man-made laws, does not mean that in actuality this government, or any government, will not in practicality, become effectively the ruling law of the country.  To wit, a citizen may have specific unalienable rights, but a Government may be no respecter of those rights, if it is poorly run, poorly administered, corrupt, misguided, or worse.


However, having unalienable rights that have been formally recognized in both our Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution gives us a solid foundation in which to do battle against our government and unjustly enacted laws which are suspect in their application and their constitutional legality.  Without those unalienable rights, we would be at the mercy of a government which can determine that night be day, or day be night. 


Too many of us get caught up in the benefits that the government grants us, such as healthcare, social security, Medicare, food stamps, welfare, marriage, business licenses and the like, but these are all privileges which can be modified or revoked at a moment's notice by the government itself.   There is a severe misunderstanding that these forgoing items are rights, but they are not, they are more akin to assistance or gifts from the government's largess. 


It is well to remember that privileges are dispensations, that you are not legally entitled to have any of them, should those edicts change, therefore a life built around privileges is a life built on sand itself.  On the other hand, your rights are built on solid rock, yet you must fear the government huffing and puffing its way against your edifice, and therefore eternal diligence and constant vigilance is the tax you must pay to maintain your rights.