The Future of Freedom Foundation: Do We Need the First Amendment?

Link to source.

The writer of the link makes a constitutional point that is in some ways remedial. That is, many people believe, wrongly, that it is a founding principle of our country that human rights are given by government.

The idea that rights pre-exist government or the Constitution strikes such people as unfathomable. When challenged, they are likely to say that human rights are limited, especially that society at large has superceding interests that must constrain the natural rights of individuals.

Hogwash. The whole concept of America is that individual human rights are unalienable.

10 thoughts on “The Future of Freedom Foundation: Do We Need the First Amendment?

  1. I agree that the First Amendment is a prohibition against the government infringing on the rights of free speech, but I don’t agree that rights are “god given” or natural in our existence.

    We have the right to free speech because enough of us will stand up and put down a government that infringes on it, and the moment we won’t stand up and demand our rights, no Constitution will restrain a government.

    That’s why the 2nd Amendment is so important. Government by the consent of the governed only means something as long as you have the means to withdraw that consent.

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    1. No one can escape the law of the jungle, wherein the assertion and defense of wrongs works just the same as the assertion and defense of rights.

      To my mind, the idea that rights pre-exist law or even society is roughly comparable to the observation that fish pre-exist a meal. It is certainly not wrong to eat them.

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      1. We have met the enemy, and he is us.

        Even the gub’mint “rethunks” its positions from time to time and without our pressure from above.

        The limitations on speech and the press are the perfect examples. We have gone from Adams’ Alien & Sedition to limits on speech against the draft (Lincoln’s time and again in WWI) to “shouting ‘fire'” to “Nope that’s okay again” (even though 90% of you still cite it as a current and reasonable limit) to “fighting words and imminent violence” (Yes, you can tell a cop to go ‘eff himself’ so long as you do it nicely — an extended finger is protected too).

        WAPO stuck it to Nixon’s attempts to throttle the press and out their sources, but limitations do still stand. I wonder which Representative will read Bolton’s manuscript into the Congressional Record when Trump attempts to suppress publication of his book? Does Bolton have the courage of an Elsberg?

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  2. If you were stranded on an island inhabited by hungry tigers, your God given right to life might have to be explained to the local fauna.

    All the rights listed in the Bill go Rights are only effective with a government that guarantees them. Otherwise you will be the mercy of the powerful.

    North Korean gulags are filled with citizens who are suffering because their government failed to protect them and their rights.

    Which, by the way, is why Congress has the final say over presidential power. Much easier for one person to become a king than 538 representing 320 million spread over 3000 miles.

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    1. No, North Korean Gulags are filled with citizens who could not protect themselves from government.

      North America and Europe never had tigers, but we had cave bears that stood 11 feet tall with 9 inch claws and 2 foot wide skulls. We did not have a government to protect us, but we had clubs and spears and intelligence. The bears are gone. We ate them all.

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