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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/from-whence-to-these-rights-come-god-our-30477510.aspx

Subject:  Re: Here's why Libs don't get it Date:  1/10/2013  11:05 AM
Author:  GardenStateFool Number:  665548 of 756497

From whence to these rights come? God, our Creator, the birth of Western Civilization, what you believe is between you and your idea of creation. But what is important is that these are inherent rights we have as people, not rights that the government has given to us. That's an important distinction, because what the government gives the government can take away. But they have no power to legitimiately take away these rights (life, liberty, keep and bear arms, etc.) because they do not grant them to us, we possess them inherently. All they can do is deny us rights, and only if we give them the power to do so.

That depends on whether you subscribe to the Hobbesian school of thought (social contract theory, the state of nature, and the fact that without government you are, in fact, guaranteed absolutely NOTHING at all).

In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

(Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Chapter 8).

Essentially, he believes that without a government that specifically enumerates these rights, you don't have them because the bigger guy will simply take them from you at his convenience. Only social contract permits the protection of your so-called "rights."

The contrasting theory, of course, is John Locke, who doesn't have such an obvious quote in his work but is roughly outlined here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke

He essentially espoused the opposite of the state of nature, and proposed that man, due to his ability to reason, existed as a tabula rasa, or blank slate.

His theory is one that strongly influenced the writers of the Declaration and the Constitution, and is worth looking into (also a huge proponent of separation of church and state).

However, I find that most individuals who most strongly adhere to social conservatism more closely align with Hobbes' theories and look to religion to curb the baser tendencies of man, and most socially liberal people tend towards Locke's philosophies.

That you are espousing the pre-existence of these liberties outside the social contract of government is interesting to me.

After all, many, many other societies, both historically and even today, do not acknowledge these rights for all people, and are operating under those assumptions right now.

If what you say is true, and the natural state of humanity is to have such freedoms, how does this come about?

GSF
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