Quote of the day—Michael Boldin

Rights are not gifts from government.

They don’t come from documents, or courts, or legislation – or anything of the like.

Thomas Paine called them “imprescriptible rights.” Richard Henry Lee said they came from the “law of nature.”

And as John Dickinson put it in 1776, “Our liberties do not come from charters, for these are only the declaration of pre-existing rights.”

Paine agreed when he wrote that “it is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights.”

But this essential principle is increasingly lost on a general public more concerned with the political soap opera of the day rather than the fact that both major parties have aggressively attacked the Constitution and liberty for decades.

And what they’ve left behind, they treat as government-granted privileges – not rights.

Michael Boldin
November 26, 2021
Rights are Not Gifts from Government
[Something lost on nearly all anti-gun people is that amending the 2nd Amendment out of existence, if they could accomplish that, would still leave the matter of the SCOTUS decision in U S v Cruikshank:

The right there specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.

When those people tell you there was no individual right to keep and bear arms before DC v Heller, or that they will amend the constitution to eliminate the right, you have something to tell them. Tell them they are wrong. Tell them SCOTUS settled those claims nearly 150 years ago. And the people have the legal authority, moral authority, and the power to back up that decision.—Joe]


10 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Michael Boldin

  1. In other parts of the world things are viewed differently, where the government has all the power and authority, and the “subjects” are given a few crumbs to keep them from revolting. I remember very well the Dutch way of talking about tax cuts — not as letting the people keep more of what is theirs, but as “taking from the Treasury” as if your money is nothing more than whatever the government will condescend not to take from you. In that world view, “rights” do look like “whatever freedoms the government has graciously permitted you to have for now”.
    On Cruickshank, the last sentence from that quote is often omitted, usually by people who are lying about what it means. And you’re right that abolishing the 2nd Amendment would not eliminate the right to keep and bear arms. It was argued (by Madison, I think) at the time the Bill of Rights was proposed that it was unnecessary and redundant. Technically that is true, though I don’t trust Madison’s motives in this. But it was pushed through anyway “to make sure”. It didn’t do that, really, but once in a while it helps a little.
    An accurate reading of the Constitution will make very clear that the RKBA is protected at least four ways: (a) the 2nd Amendment, (b) the 9th Amendment, (c) the 10th Amendment, (d) the enumerated powers in Article 1 Section 8 (which do not grant any power over weapons to the Federal government).
    But, as St. George Tucker pointed out way back in 1803, the plain English words of the Constitution are not and never have been a check on dishonest politicians in any of the three branches.

    • St. George Tucker needs to get more attention as he was a contemporary of the founders.

      • You’re quite right. An additional reason is that he documented in scary detail how much the Constitution was trampled on by politicians everywhere, even just a few years after it was adopted.
        Come to think of it, an interesting example is Jefferson, who did the Louisiana Purchase while at the same time musing about the fact that it seemed to be unconstitutional:
        “I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty-making power as boundless. If it is, then we have no Constitution. If it has bounds, they can be no others than the definitions of the powers which that instrument gives. It specifies and delineates the operations permitted to the federal government, and gives all the powers necessary to carry these into execution. Whatever of these enumerated objects is proper for a law, Congress may make the law; whatever is proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the President and Senate may enter into the treaty; whatever is to be done by a judicial sentence, the judges may pass the sentence.” — Thomas Jefferson, in “On the Constitutionality of the Louisiana Purchase”, letter to Wilson C. Nicholas, September 7, 1803.

        • the Constitution was trampled on by politicians everywhere, even just a few years after it was adopted.
          Including or most prominently, the sainted “Justice”, John Marshall, who, in an incredible feat of bootstrapping in Marbury v Madison, made the Life-appointed Justices of the Supreme Court the final arbiters of what the other two branches could do. He is certainly the patron saint of American lawyers, and President Andrew Jackson’s reply to his decision on the removal of Indians from Georgia is condemned in law schools everywhere: “Chief Justice John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.”
          Can we condemn the Leftists who saw that as an invitation to get the branches in line with one another on whatever totalitarian plan they concoct?

          • I know of those critiques of Marshall, and at one time I thought them valid. I don’t think so any more. For one thing, his observation that the judicial branch’s job is “to say what the law is” makes sense.
            But the most convincing argument is the counterexample. The one I use is Holland, whose “constitution” states (article 120) that the courts shall NOT judge the constitutionality of any law or treaty. In other words, no Marbury in Holland. What does that actually imply? It implies that the Dutch constitution is a paper tiger, a pamphlet without meaning. Any politician may infringe it at will and the citizen has no recourse whatsoever. The only difference between Holland and the USSR, constitutionally speaking, is that Dutch politicians still have some measure of self-restraint.
            In other words, the effect of Marbury is at times problematic, but the effects of a judicial branch without that authority are, as I see it, far more serious.

  2. “Rights are not gifts from government.”
    Can’t say that enough!
    What we’re lacking is enforcement. “With manly force”, if necessary.
    Ever wonder why our founders didn’t put a penalty to violating our rights? Because they already set the precedent. Hanging, tar and feathers, banishment, and flat out war against any and all forms of it. (spirit of the bayonet, comes to mind.)
    Our problem is we’ve been conned into thinking things are somehow civilized.
    Go hang out on mug-me street USA. Coming to the town near you soon?
    That’s 90% created and maintained by civilized government.
    Maybe we should just start following their lead?

  3. Telling someone of the Romish mindset (i.e. a Babylonian) that “SCOTUS said such and such” carries approximately zero weight with them. It may even be a negative. Their next thought will be, “Old, dead, racist, white patriarchs!” or some such. They’ll have no compunction against tossing the whole thing out if it means their immediate urges might be satisfied (the motto being, “If it feels good, do it).

    And anyway, using the argument which says, “SCOTUS said it, and so it is proved, QED” is a kind of fallacious argument. There’s even a classic term for it, which exists in the same list of fallacious arguments as argumentum ad hominem (meaning, “You’re bad, therefore you’re wrong”). You’re using argumentum ad verecundiam, meaning, “One’s authority makes it true”, and so you’re using a papal-style argument.

    I suppose that, since truth is the enemy it is absolutely necessary to promulgate a thousand alternatives to the truth such that it becomes nearly impossible to stumble across the truth by mere chance, and that, even so doing one will not recognize it as truth. Therefore the only “truth” anyone really understands is the “truth” which established by either by consensus or brute force.

    And indeed, SCOTUS was originally the final arbiter of how and for what purpose brute force was to be used. Today, with the constitution carrying less weight, it’s a bit more of a matter of whim (tyranny of the ruling class), or of consensus (tyranny of the majority).

    Those who understand the Decalogue on the other hand will recognize that a more perfect law will never be devised by mankind. Jesus put it even more simply by saying, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority are called benefactors. But ye will not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” Luke 22:25, 26

    Once understood in its entirety, His statement lays bare the distinction between the two mindsets of the world, one based on pride and force, and the other based on love. And never shall the two mindsets co-exist in harmony, regardless of what protection you might devise.

  4. “This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.”

    Former President John Quincy Adams is portrayed as saying that the “natural state of man is freedom. . . . And the proof is the length to which a man, woman or child will go to regain it once taken. He will break loose his chains. He will decimate his enemies. He will try and try and try, against all odds, against all prejudices, to get home.”
    This natural status, and also the right to self defense, which as is said in Cruickshank is not dependent on government or on the Constitution to “grant” the right to the people.

  5. An ugly reality of life is that you only have the rights you are willing to fight for, die for and most importantly KILL for. If you won’t eradicate the people dedicated to negating your rights than you have already lost them.

  6. Mao was only partially correct when he stated, “Power flows the barrel of a gun.”
    Rights and liberties do, as well.

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