Rights don't come from government

October 3, 2009
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

Bruce Hetrick is wrong in asserting that “We pray and protest under the protection of government” and that “We … freely publish columns … because of government.” His assertions reveal the progressive mind-set and belief that we receive our rights from government, and thus man. If this is so, then we should thank government and those in government for all that they give us—including our rights.

However, the Founding Fathers understood that receiving our rights from man and governments leads to tyranny of the rulers. Thus, they rightly recognized that the rights of the people “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.” Rights given to us by man and government can always be changed and taken away by man and government; but, rights given to us by our Creator can never be taken away by man or government.

“We pray and protest” not under the protection of government but instead “We the People” prohibit the government from making laws “respecting the establishment of religion, or the prohibiting the free exercise thereof … or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” “We … freely publish columns” because we prohibit government from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

I do not thank government for these rights but thank our servicemen and -women for protecting our rights. One may contend that the armed services are of government and thus we receive protection from government. This is true; however, the Constitution mandates the government “provide for the common defense” and thus is a duty of government, not a service they provide out of sheer benevolence. Furthermore, each armed service member proclaims an oath not to the government of the United States but rather to defend the “Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

I agree government is not a four letter word, but let us not forget we are not protected because of government but rather (brilliantly and by Providence) the Founding Fathers insured that we would be protected from government.


Raymond Vinluan



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