No. of Recommendations: 3
A public good? Sure? Something a wealthy and compassionate society has a moral obligation to provide for all? Arguable, but defensible. A right? Not even close.

Freedom of speech was not a right until we declared it a right.
Freedom of religion was not a right until we declared it a right.
Continue on down the Bill of Rights...

Yep, and electrons didn't exist until they were discovered.

The fact is that this country was created on the principle that we *did* have these rights before they were declared. They are "unalienable rights" that exist independent of government. Either the government protects our rights, or it doesn't. The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect our rights. Government doesn't create rights. That is what the Declaration of Independence was based on:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they 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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..." -

If you wish to educate yourself a little more on the nature of rights (and I doubt that you do), then read this:
The Purpose and Limits of Government -
Print the post  


Live Video Event Monday!
The GP team is hosting a live video event on Monday at 4 p.m. ET. Don't worry if you can't make it — we'll have a replay and a transcript. Click for more!
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.