This article is the second in a series of three articles on the rights of a society. For the previous post, click here.
A free society is predicated upon certain rights of the individual. Without these certain unalienable rights, a given society cannot be considered free. However, the simple possession of said rights will not secure a free society. Maintenance of those rights requires responsibility on the part of all citizens.
Once a society loses its nature of responsibility, those rights will shift into a different kind of delegation. A responsible society possesses negative rights, or restrictions on the government; thus empowering the people over the government.
What are these certain rights that are essential to a free society? These are the negative rights, the restrictions on governmental activity to ensure voluntary interaction, free enterprise, and protection of private property. Here is an overview of what those essential negative rights are for a free society.
The form of government is understood to be a constitutional republic.
This provision partially encompasses the previous right to private property. Whereas protection of private property from the government is very important, it is a given that citizens must also be able to protect their property from other citizens as well.
This right is enumerated in the famous Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, an anomaly in the many constitutions of the world. But many big government controllists have simply ignored that to destroy the right to self defense.
The guarantee of the right to self-defense must be clearly written in clear language that leaves no room for open interpretation. The Second Amendment as it currently reads leaves plenty of room for controllists to mold it all sorts of ways they desire.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
A clearer protection would read something like this:
A well regulated militia shall be maintained by each of the several states, being necessary to the security of a free state. The right of each individual to keep arms within home for self-defense of property and persons, and outside of the home for protection of one’s person, shall not be denied.
This kind of protection would ensure that each law abiding citizen’s right to self-preservation would not be arbitrarily denied by the government, whether state, local, or federal.
Self-defense is not a right simply needed within the home. When travelling, one may need to use a weapon to stop another citizen who seeks to do him harm. This is a simple matter of natural law, the law of self-preservation. Prevention of citizens from protecting their property and their persons is a violation of natural law.
5. Criminal Procedure
The American Founders understood the importance of criminal procedure because of the abuses by the British during the years leading up to the fight for independence.
Specifically, the issuance of general warrants was one of the most egregious offenses committed by the British. A general warrant is license to search wherever one may please for any reason whatsoever. This kind of delegation of authority has the potential for an innumerable amount of abuses.
The issuance of warrants must be predicated upon probable cause, and signed by a judge, specifically designating the place and/or things to be searched. Any search in excess of said parameters immediately invalidates all charges against a person, as the right to privacy in other areas of his home or property has been violated. Even if other criminal activity has been discovered, that activity cannot be admissible in court, and the individual accused of a crime must be released.
This is to ensure the integrity of all investigations. When police have the ability to search any area deemed “suspicious,” the right to privacy and property vanishes.
There must also be written parameters for a jury trial of one’s peers, so as to ensure the fairness of a trial for offenses. A trial in front of government judges would present a conflict of interest, whereas one’s peers provide a more balanced view on a given trial.
A third essential protection must include the right to innocence until proven guilty. When the government accuses a person of criminal activity, the burden of proof must fall upon the government to prove that said person is the culprit. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
If a citizen must prove that he is innocent, rather than the government having to prove he is guilty, he is much more susceptible to being targeted by the government for dissent, should such a government come into existence.
This is an overview of the basic, fundamental rights of a free society.
Just having rights is not enough, though. Those rights must be maintained by an unwavering citizenry who are not afraid to call out their government for overreaching authority. Once the people have laid down their responsibility to keep the government in check, that people has forfeited the rights of a free society.
What comes after that? Negative rights start to disappear one law, one regulation at a time. To cover up the undermining of negative rights, positive rights are granted.