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Know Your Rights, Pt 1

What does each amendment have to do with YOU? Are these Constitutional guarantees obsolete or more vital than ever? Our civics lesson comes courtesy of 18-year-old senior Alex Ellis. There is hope for our future.


by Alex Ellis

Bill of rights

Are these Constitutional guarantees obsolete -- or more vital than ever?

In the Declaration of Independence, the forefathers wrote that each individual has a set of unalienable rights, these including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Although life and the pursuit of happiness are themselves fairly straightforward, what does the right to liberty actually mean? In what follows I will attempt to take each of the first ten amendments of the constitution by itself and explain how that amendment relates to an individual's right to liberty.


Please note that although sometimes people use the phrase that the framers "gave" the rights to the people, this usage is incorrect as individual rights are inherent and can neither be given or taken away by another individual or group of individuals, except for in the defense of that individual or group of individual's personal liberties. What is meant by "the framers gave the right to the people" is not to say that they granted that right to people, since the people already had those rights since birth, but simply that they plainly laid them out in the constitution so that each individual might more thoroughly understand his or her rights.


1st AMENDMENT:


The first amendment of the Bill of Rights comes first because it is the most basic form of liberty. If individuals cannot express their views, ideas, opinions, or beliefs without fear of consequence from society, then he or she cannot truly consider themselves "free" within that society. This however does not mean that an individual is free to use his or her right to free speech to deceive another individual or group of individuals since deception is used to forcibly take from an individual a product of his time or labor which he or she would not otherwise freely give. This is important because the only property an individual can rightfully and truly own is that which is gained through his or her own time or labor, or that which is freely given to them by another individual. As free speech and the free expression of beliefs, ideas, views, and opinions is the direct result of an individual's own time and/or labor, it is therefore "intellectual property," the most basic form of property and a fundamental aspect of liberty.


2nd AMENDMENT:


The framers of the Constitution understood that individuals and groups have always tried to take the intellectual property or the physical property of other individuals by force. They therefore acknowledged the right to be able to defend their property from attacks by others. Although an individual may gain protection by joining other groups of individuals, or "society," exploitation in its most basic form is through the use of violent force against an individual. The framers wrote that each individual has the right to bear arms so that he or she can defend his or herself from the use of violent force. As such, the right to bear arms is the right to do so strictly in defense only as the use of force to take something from another individual robs both individuals of their liberties.


3rd AMENDMENT:


The third amendment is not only a protection of one's own personal property, which in this case is their home, the contents within, and a protection of their intellectual property as well. Denying soldiers the right to take lodgings in someones home not only defends their right to do as they please with their property, but it also protects their right to free speech and freedom of expression by allowing them to express their opinions by giving them the choice to not shelter soldiers, by protecting the privacy to say what they wish without intimidation, and to also not support the ideas which the soldiers fight for which may be against the individual's own personal beliefs. If anyone should try to take shelter by force, thus taking away the individual's right to govern himself and his property, that individual has every right to defend his property and thus his liberty.


4th AMENDMENT:


The fourth amendment was written to give individuals the right to defend themselves against robbery by society. As stated previously, society has the right to do what is necessary to protect itself. However, society does not have the right to infringe upon the rights of the individual. To seize, without warrant or reason, another individual's intellectual, physical, or digital property is to imply the use of force, even without physical force, and to do so without the use of force is still theft, as the individual did not give his or her consent to give up their property.


5th AMENDMENT:


In protecting each individual's property and liberty, society creates laws which determine how and in what manner an individual may use his or her property, which includes their person. This however opens up the opportunity for society to infringe on the personal liberties of an individual in the name of the law. To protect each individual from such injustices, the framers of the constitution gave the people the right to a trial by jury of his or her peers so he or she may have a chance to defend himself socially, thus defending his personal liberties from society. Because of the philosophical idea that the weight of burden lies on the individual making the claim, each individual is to be considered innocent until otherwise proven guilty.


To Be Continued . . .




Comments






Brian
MO
16 Feb 2014
at 04:55PM

This is among one of the most important topics for today's United States. WE The People seem to know little about these founding documents, let alone the ones who collaborated on it. These rights are indeed inherent to the people of this country. They are not "invented".

Josh
UT
16 Feb 2014
at 08:17PM

The title reminds me of the song by the Clash with same title. It say, "You have the right not to kill. Murder is a crime. Unless you are a policeman." Sorry to insult my buddies that are officers, but some out there are giving public service a bad name. Anyway, back to the article. I appreciate the reminder that these rights aren't abstractions. They are everything to each of us.


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