I owe a debt of gratitude to Dave of the Liberty4USA blog for proving a link in his comment on my Thanksgiving Day post “Influence Peddlers, Influence Buyers”. The link that Dave provided is to a blog called Plubius Huldah. The author of this blog is a lawyer and an expert in constitutional law and in the Federalist Papers. Her articles, usually only one or two per month, explain the Constitution and the intentions of the Founders with such clarity and force that make her blog a wonderful reference source for the arguments we often need to defend our positions. Publius, by the way was the collective pen name for the authors of the Federalist Papers; Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison.
One of her essays poses the question, from where do our rights come.? Do they come from God or are they inherent in the nature of man; or as many believe, do they come from the Constitution, the Supreme Court or Congress. She warns us that the Liberals want us to believe the latter to be the sources of our rights. She deftly refutes this claim cautions conservatives not to fall into the trap of talking about our constitutional rights or a right we think is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights because this is the “hook” as she says the government and the courts use to usurp the enumerated powers granted to them by the people in their Constitution. I’m going to reproduce a large segment of her essay here but please read all of it and some of her other essays as well.
Because the Declaration of Independence identifies The Creator as Grantor of Rights, we look to The Bible – or the Natural Law – to see what those rights are. The Bible – or the Natural Law – reveals many rights, such as the rights to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness; to inherit, earn, and keep property; the right of self-defense; the right and duty to demand that the civil authorities obey the Law; the right to speak; the right to live our lives free from interference from civil government; the rights of parents to raise their children free from interference from civil government; the right to worship God; etc.
The distinguishing characteristics of all God-given or Natural Rights 1 are:
· Each one may be held and enjoyed at NO expense or loss to any other person; and
· We can look them up for ourselves! They are not subject to someone else’s interpretations.
2. But many conservatives mistakenly believe that our rights come from the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. So they speak of “our constitutional rights”, “the bill of rights”, our “First Amendment right to free speech”; “our Second Amendment right to bear arms”, and so forth. But it is a dreadful mistake to think that our rights come from the Constitution. I’ll show you two reasons why this is such a pernicious error:
a) It is logically incoherent to say that our Rights come from the Constitution: Let us read the Preamble to the US Constitution:
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
WE THE PEOPLE established and ordained the Constitution. WE are the ones who created the federal government with its three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. WE are the ones who gave the federal government permission to exist and told it exactly what it had permission to do, when WE assigned enumerated powers to each branch.
WE are the “creator” – the federal government is merely our “creature”. (Federalist No. 33 ( 6th para), A. Hamilton.)
So! The Constitution is about the Powers which WE THE PEOPLE delegated to the federal government. The Constitution is NOT about Our Rights, which come from God and thus pre-date & pre-exist the Constitution!
b) Now look at Article III, Sec. 2, clause 1, U.S. Constitution:
“The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases…arising under this Constitution…”.
Think carefully, for this is the hook: If our rights come from the first Ten Amendments or elsewhere in the Constitution, then they “arise under the Constitution”; and that clause is what gives federal judges power over our rights!
When judges have power to determine our Rights, our Rights are no longer unalienable – we hold them at the pleasure of five judges on the supreme Court. But because so many of us, for so long, have believed and said that our rights come from the “bill of rights”, those judges have seized on Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 1, to claim the power to determine the scope & extent of our rights!
So! Federal judges claim the power to regulate our political speech and religious speech. They claim the power to determine & regulate our property rights in the fruits of our own labors. They claim the power to control our retirements by forcing us to participate in social security! They even claim the power to take Life away from unborn babies.
Thus, when we say our Rights come from the Constitution, we are, in effect, agreeing to the submission of our Rights to the tender mercies of federal judges, because Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 1, gives them power over all cases “arising under the Constitution.”
This is why we must always insist that our Rights have a source – Almighty God , the Natural Law – which transcends the Constitution! 2
And furthermore, why would the Creator of The Constitution (that’s us) grant to our “creature” (the judicial branch of the federal government), the power to determine the scope & extent of OUR Rights? It makes no sense at all!
Publius Huldah argues forcefully that the Congress and the Supreme Court have taken on powers that were never granted them by “We The People”. And this brings me to the title of this post: “We The People _ Culpa Mia”. Although I agree completely that the Congress and the Supreme Court have for years exceeded the bounds placed on them by the Constitution, I must beg to differ with the learned lady that We the People have not granted these powers to them. She is correct that we never explicitly gave them these powers but We The People must accept our individual Culpa Mia (blame) for implicitly granting them these additional powers. We the People have not been vigilant in protecting our Constitution and our God-given Rights. We the People have , at least since the days of FDR, elected and re-elected persons of statist mentality to guide our country. I suppose it’s understandable. What did most of us learn in school about our Constitution and our Rights? Very little , I’m afraid. The Liberals and the Progressives kidnapped our education system a long time ago. They teach only what is convenient to their agenda. We need to heed the call of Publius Hudah to arm ourselves with better knowledge about the Constitution and the original intentions of our Founding Fathers and about the source of our rights so that we and our children do not make the same mistakes of the past.