In 1791, the Bill of Rights was officially ratified and made part of the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights did not grant rights to citizens through its ratification, but rather solidified the rights that citizens already held by being American citizens and human beings. Some of the more well-known rights outlined were the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances, right to bear arms, right to be protected from illegal search and seizure, right to fair trial, protection from cruel and unusual punishment, and protection from self-incrimination.
All of these and more are basic human rights endowed by our Creator. The Declaration of Independence also outlines a few other basic rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. People twist the last one and say everyone has the right to happiness, and this is not true. Every human has the right to “pursue” happiness, not to have it granted to him.
There seems to be some confusion as of recently as to what exactly constitutes a “right.” A recent example of this confusion was when the Supreme Court ruled that marriage was a basic human right to be enjoyed by all, regardless of sexual orientation. They ruled that states must allow homosexual couples to marry. This is contrary to what a basic human right is. Marriage is not a right. To say marriage is a right is to say you have the right to force the government to allow you to marry. It also means you have the right to force a church or officiator to marry you.
Another example in this same vein was brought to the country’s attention when a privately owned bakery refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. The couple claimed they had a right to that wedding cake. Saying this means that couple has the right to force a business to provide service. That business also had a sign, like a lot of privately owned businesses that states, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” But declaring the right to a wedding cake overrides the rights of the business owners.
Education is also often asserted as a human right, and that college ought to be free. This idea is ironic to say the least. This idea purports that people have a right to other people’s money and services. What would be more correct is saying everyone has a right to an education. There are many other ways a person can educate themselves, at no cost to them or to others; especially in the information in which we live. Granted, there are many things we can do to make college education more affordable to those who wish to pursue it, but to say everyone has the right to a free college education, is not only wrong, but it is also detrimental to our country’s core values.
I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase, “every American has the right to affordable health care.” This claim is also a fallacy. Rand Paul said it perfectly when debating Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor on whether or not healthcare is a right. Paul said to say healthcare is a right is to say a person has the right to drag a doctor from their house and force them to provide services, regardless of whether or not the patient can afford said services. Sure we need healthcare reform, sure we need to make an effort to make healthcare more affordable, but no, you do not have the “right” to affordable healthcare.
I recently saw a video of some Bernie Sanders supporters protesting a Donald Trump rally. One protester was holding a sign that said “Americans have a right to a good paying job.” This is another area in which Liberals are confused about what a right is. Yes, every American has the right to work freely, but they most certainly do not have the right to a good paying job, or even to a job. To say that a person has a right to a job is to say they have a right to someone else’s money, which is basically theft. If someone wants a good paying job, that individual needs to make him or herself qualified and acquire the necessary skills to get a good paying job.
Last but not least, I have heard many pro-choice women say, “my body, and my choice,” touting that abortion is a right. Women who say they have the right to an abortion for whatever reason they want is the most alarming claim out of all these. When a women says this, she is basically saying she has the right to terminate a human life, whether it be for medical, situational, or convenience driven reasons. This goes against the baby’s right to life, and creates the situation where one person can override another person’s rights (in this case, the actual right to life).
In the end, human beings do have certain rights. However, rights are not always what people claim them to be. We do have a duty though, and that is to protect the rights we do have as human beings and as American citizens. We cannot allow the word “right” to be made into something that it is not, devaluing its meaning. Rights are sacred legal protections, and those protections must not be devalued by claiming that everything we want is a “right.”