Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Source of Sovereignty

I dropped by Promethean Antagonist last night, and he has a rather long post up titled Real Revolutions And Cheap Imitations. The whole thing is good, but I was especially struck by the following:

When I briefly taught high school social studies, I was amazed (disgusted) that so many school texts and so many teachers preached the idea that the government has “given us rights,” or “allowed us to have rights." The founders would have cringed to hear such nonsense. Their assumption was that humans are literally born with natural rights and that government's prime purpose is to maintain the security of those rights. The citizen allows the state to exist – we give it the right to exist -- not the other way around!

Indeed, the Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable 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 ...

I need to be reminded of this from time to time.

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