Thursday, August 6, 2009

What is an Inalienable Right?

What is an Inalienable Right as stated in the Declaration of Independence?

Before we go any further lets start with a definition of terms. According to the dictionary inalienable means "....not transferable to another or capable of being repudiated.. .Some synonyms are: inviolable, absolute, unassailable, inherent.

Inalienable rights are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society. In contrast, legal rights (sometimes also called
civil rights or statutory rights) are rights conveyed by a particular polity, codified into legal statutes by some form of legislature, and as such are contingent upon local laws, customs, or beliefs. Natural rights are thus necessarily universal, whereas legal rights are culturally and politically relative.

The first article of the Virginia Declaration of Rights adopted unanimously by the Virginia Convention of Delegates on June 12, 1776 and written by George Mason, is: That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

The following are some extracts taken from an artictle called the "Proper role of Government" by Ezra T. Benson. He served as Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight D. Eisenhower for 8 years and later became the President of the LDS church. I would highly recommend reading the whole thing it is excellent. The below defines exactly what an Inalienable right is and how socialism violates those rights.

"Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?" (Frédéric Bastiat, The Law, p.6)

"If every person has the right to defend – even by force – his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -–its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right." (Frédéric Bastiat, The Law, p. 6)

So far so good. But now we come to the moment of truth. Suppose pioneer “A” wants another horse for his wagon, He doesn't have the money to buy one, but since pioneer “B” has an extra horse, he decides that he is entitled to share in his neighbor’s good fortune, Is he entitled to take his neighbor’s horse? Obviously not! If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question. But so long as pioneer “B” wishes to keep his property, pioneer "A" has no just claim to it. If “A” has no proper power to take “B’s” property, can he delegate any such power to the sheriff? No. Even if everyone in the community desires that “B” give his extra horse to “A”, they have no right individually or collectively to force him to do it. They cannot delegate a power they themselves do not have. This important principle was clearly understood and explained by John Locke nearly 300 years ago: “For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life of property of another.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 135; P.P.N.S. p. 93)

This means, then, that the proper function of government is limited only to those spheres of activity within which the individual citizen has the right to act. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by man. No man possesses such power to delegate. The creature cannot exceed the creator. (The Proper Role of Government by Ezra T. Benson)

Ending Comments: Any civil right or law, which encroaches or limits natural God given rights is suppression and tyranny. History teaches us that a nation of laws isn't necessarily a nation of justice and liberty. Everyone regardless of where they live has inalienable rights even though they are not recognized by their respective governments, but what was so revolutionary about the American system was the framers actually acknowledged these God given rights when creating their government.


  1. all true and well stated the problem is though....

    It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will.

    The people in this country of ours are so full of milk and honey and the lifestyle that our founders allowed us to live through the government they established that they CHOOSE to VOTE to give up the power to redistribute, with their full will.

    good post.

  2. Great post! Got here through Sage.

    "...a nation of laws isn't necessarily a nation of justice and liberty."

    Sad but true.

  3. came by way of sage. good post. i hope we can survive this weird time. long may she wave.

  4. I love your blog. Julie's Blog friend and found you through her site... so I'm just going to sit back and take it in. Such a great post!


This site ain't free... you pay with your comments.