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Is the general population stretching constitutional rights to the limit and beyond?
To bear arms for hunting and personal defense is a right. To have one for assault or offensive reasons shouldn't be. News channels disagreeing with political decisions or agendas is a right. Slandering or making false accusations of the president, the office or the man, should not be. Every special interest group is using the constitution, or twisting it to try to satisfy their own agenda. Isn't our constitution there to protect our freedom and not to be used as a tool to push issues down everyone's throat? No wonder the supreme court gets nothing done.
In sense I believe people do "stretch" constitutional rights to the extend that they abuse it. Yet, some will argue that to the general population some if not much of the constitution is vague or provides room for translation or interpretation. But, in my opinion I think it's all part of a give or take situation. To a certain extend our freedoms and rights are protected because of the manner in which the constitution can be interpreted, "stretched". Just think of Supreme Court ruling and interpretations on constitutional rights.
In the view of the Enlightenment, rights are not extended by government at all. They exist naturally. The first amendments to US Constitution, which is a document of that era, recognize some and forbid government from interfering with them, and they also recognize that there are others not specifically mentioned.
To comment on two you bring up: the right to possess the means of self-defense has nothing to do with shooting rabbits, everything to do with shooting criminals including those employed by government; the right to thought and speech applies especially to political expression, and so criticism of presidents whether or not one considers it slanderous may not be regulated. Whether or not one has a right to do that is not a matter for government to decide. The rest are similar.
The US Constitution is there as a charter of the federal government. It seeks to protect the freedom of the states and the people only in its restrictions on federal power. It delegates specific authorities and no more to the federal government, and in the Bill of Rights it explicitly restricts the government from going beyond those limits. Freedom, in the view of the time, is not something that can be provided by government, it is inherent in human nature. The good society will see government not as the source or protector of freedom but as a necessary social institution that must be restrained tightly and carefully, or else by its own inherent nature it will destroy freedom. The Constitution can be read and understood only in the light of that perspective.
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