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Rights of the People: What they are NOT

Updated on September 8, 2013
What are our Constitutional Rights and what are they not.
What are our Constitutional Rights and what are they not.

Rights in America: The Bill of Rights

As citizens of the United States of America our rights are protected by the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution. It is important to understand that our rights do not come from the federal government, but are protected from the government by the Bill of Rights. The misconception, by many, is that our rights come from the federal government. In fact, our rights are ours simply because we are alive and citizens. The Bill of Rights does not grant, but rather protects those rights that already exist. These rights enable us to follow the American dream of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. They do not guarantee happiness, but merely the freedom to pursue it. One of the biggest threats to liberty and freedom is the attempt to regulate outcome rather than simply protecting the opportunity.

Stealing vs. Purchasing

When a person takes something from someone else without the first person's agreement, we call it what it is...Theft. If Joe takes a bike belonging to Billy without Billy's approval, he has stolen the bike. Theft is easy to define and easy to recognize. If someone came to your home and took, by force and without your permission, your personal property, what would you call it? This is clearly robbery and you would not accept this as a reasonable or legal action.

On the other hand, if this same person made an offer of monetary compensation for your property, and you accepted this offer, this would be a legal transaction and not theft. Only when both parties agree on the method and valve of exchange for goods is it a sale rather than robbery. Even if Joe took Billy's bike and gave it to George, not keeping it for himself, it would still be theft. If Billy had 10 bikes and George could not afford even one bike, it would still be theft. George is not entitled to Billy's bike, as it rightfully belongs to Billy. Billy could, If he chose to, give a bike to George. But, he is not legally obligated to do so. Billy traded his dollars for the bike in a mutually agreed upon transaction with the bike's previous owner. Billy, prior to that, traded his time and skills for that money.

Origin of Debt

If a man agrees to work as an employee for someone at $15.00 an hour and then works 10 hours, he would be entitled to $150. There was an agreement between the employer and the employee. There was a task performed (work) per that agreement and that is the origin of debt from the employer to the employee. If they had agreed on the hourly rate and the work was not done, then there would be no origin of debt. No agreed upon work was done to "trade" for those dollars. An employer/employee relationship is one of trade. The simple trade of work/skill/time for money or another agreed upon compensation.

If payment is made without the work being done, and against the employers will, then we have theft. If no payment is made and the work was completed, we have slavery. Both sides must enter into the agreement by accepting an agreed upon rate of exchange for trading work for dollars. This is the origin of debt in the economic sense of the term. No one is indebted to another without this mutually agreed upon system. No work, no pay. No pay, no work.

"Free" is Economic Servitude

A true Right does not, in of itself, rely on another person to provide it. There is no "debt" involved with a true Right. For example, the freedom of speech does not require anything from someone else. You are not engaging in a transaction with another person to be able to speak. A Right exists exclusive of any interaction with another individual or group. There is NO debt incurred in the keeping of a Right.

The call for "Free" anything is a call for economic servitude. If I say health-care is my "right", then I am saying that l can demand health-care without proper compensation for the doctor's time/skill/work. But, this mean's that the doctor is being made into an economic slave and, in doing so, his freedom and liberty are being infringed upon. I would be asking for labor without pay. Do I have a "right" to food? Should the local grocer provide me with "free" food as well? Of course not. Yet there are many who are demanding "free" stuff.

They will then say it's the government responsibility and the "government's" money. Apart from Constitutional questions of the federal government role, lets look at if from the origin of debt side of the equation. If l take the doctor's care without justly compensating him for his services, I have stolen from him. If the government takes money from another person to pay the doctor for the services I received, then that person was been stolen form.. Either is a case of economic servitude. Without just compensation by an agreement freely entered into by BOTH parties, you end up with theft or servitude. Economic slavery.

We do not have a Right to anything that belongs to someone else, whether it is a physical item such as a bike or a service provide. The only legal obligation we have is that entered into with another person or entity that both parties do of their own free will. Health-care, housing, food and cell phones are not rights in the sense that you are not entitle to them without proper compensation to the producers of such items.

That being said...

We do not have a legal right to receive anything without just compensation to the producer. Nor does the taking of funds from a third party to pay the producer eliminate the economic servitude or dispose of the fact that there is no origin of debt between the person in need and the person with the needed item(s).

That being said... the argument for individuals helping others of their own free will and at their discussion can be made. We should help out those in need as we see fit. But, never should the transaction be forced by law and taken out of the realm of a personal choice and agreement between the two parties.

Do you believe that a person has a right to someone else's property or labor without proper compensation?

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    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      6 years ago from South Jersey

      ShariBerry, thank you for reading...

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Mitch, so well written. Our Constitution does not guarantee the right of all people to be equal with all other people. Some of us are going to be less wealthy than others. Some will inherit wealth and other will work very hard and be rewarded. What we are guaranteed is the right to pursue our dreams.

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      7 years ago from South Jersey

      wba108, thanks for reading. Robinhood did not steal from the rich and give to the poor. He took back was was Stolen from the people and returned it to them. If government wanted to be like Robnhood, then they should give the money back those they took it from.

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from upstate, NY

      Very good, if our rights originate in the government they can also be removed by the government. According to the Founders, the origin of the rights of men originate with thier Creator, thats why they're referred to as inalienable.

      I wholeheatedly agree that if someone else can live at your expense, that is the definition of servitude and if I take your wallet at gunpoint to give to a little old lady in need, I'm still a thief!

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      8 years ago from South Jersey

      The "entitlement" title is given to those who say they are entitled to anything they did not earn themselves or have given to them by someone else who gave it by choice. You (collectively, not you specifically) are not entitled to anything except the right to life, liberty (see Bill of Rights) and the PURSUIT of are not guaranteed happiness, or a house, or a car, or a vacation etc...

      AS to those that earn their money, whether through starting a business, climbing the corporate ladder, winning the lottery etc, they are entitled to spend it as they see fit. If someone wants to use their wealth for 10 homes, so be it. If someone wants to donate most of it to help the poor, great...but it is up to those that earn it to decide how it is spent, not you...not me. It is not the pursuit of happiness as defined by Greg...or Mitch.

      Can you explain where the legal origin of debt is from you to me? Why do you owe part of your wealth to me unless I have entered into an agrrement with you to provide a good or service? YOU legally owe me nothing without that scenerio. Do you agree?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      And this constant description of working class people as "entitled" (often by people with vacation homes and country club memberships) is about to send me into a boiling rage.

      People living in excess have ZERO MORAL RIGHT to go throwing the words "sense of entitlement." They line their lives with creature comforts and horde every luxury they can get their hands on while looking down their noses at people who want to be assured of having something to eat and a roof over their heads.

      Yep, I'd say a sense of entitlement IS destroying America. We are all supposed to have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", not "the pursuit of everything you can get your hands on."

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Only extreme left-wingers advocate FREE healthcare. Those who live in the real world only ask not to have their wallets pillaged for the service.

      Also, your constitutionalist approach is admirable in most respects, but for someone concerned with the "origin of debt", you don't seem to understand that people's use of land predates our system of property rights, and no one anywhere has an "original deed" from whoever or whatever created the land itself. So how did anyone ever get the right to sell it in the first place?

      Simple. Most just showed up and killed everyone else that wanted it until everyone said "OKAY, IT'S YOURS!!!"

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      8 years ago from South Jersey

      Katheen, It seems you missed the point of the hub. The questions posed were 1. The Constitutionality of confiscating money by force to pay it, in any form to another. 2. What is the legal origin of debt from one person to an other.

      I don't dissagree that we. as INDIVIDUALS and of free choice should help those in need when we can. This I believe. The point is that this a function of free will and choice and not one of government coercion.

      Can you show me where in the Constitution the federal governement has the authority to take from you and give to another individual that which you have earned? Can you explain how it is right and fair to take another persons labor or goods without just compensation? Remember, I'm not discussing the moral aspects of neighbor helping neighbor, but the legal OBLIGATION to do so and the governments role in confiscatory redistibution from one individual to another.

      As to the fedralized health-care/insurance issue specifically...Other countries have waiting list, means testing and "death" panels...They, as in the EU are facing the same economic woes as we are. The U.S. is in dire financial circumstances BECAUSE the federal government is spending to much and is spending it on things that the Constitution says it is not to be involved with. Read the 10th Amendment.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I can't even begin to find the words. Other countries have universal health care and do just fine. This is not the end of the world. Neither was the creation of social security or medicare. It's the next step in providing for all our citizens. America did not become great by just worrrying about ourselves and we won't stay great just worrying about ourselves either.

    • Mitch Alan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mitch Alan 

      8 years ago from South Jersey

      drbj, I sadly must agree...I truly fear for the Republic. Never has a society continued to exist when it began down the course we have been on for 70+ years. History is a good teacher, but too many refuse to attend class as it were.

      Thanks for reading...

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      With the sense of entitlement pervasive in our country today, Mitch, it may be close to impossible to turn our country around to what the founding fathers originally envisioned.


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