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Every Person in the World Has Natural Rights

In the following speech, Judge Napolitano says the following:

“Our freedom comes from our humanity. This belief is known as the natural law – that our freedoms are as natural to us as the fingers on the ends of our hands, the noses in the middle of our faces, or any part of our body, or any part of our spirit.”

“If anybody says to you, ‘Well, what do you do when the government violates our natural rights?’ You do what [the Declaration of Independence] the law of the united States says you do. It is the duty of the people to alter or abolish a government that violates our rights.”

“…the Constitution – because of the Bill of Rights – added specific guarantees of natural rights that the government couldn’t interfere with; the right to think as you want; the right to say what you think; the right to develop your own personality; …the right to publish what you say; the right to worship as you want; the right not to worship if you don’t want; the right to self-defense; the right to use a gun when the police are unwilling or unable to protect you; and the right to use that gun on the government if it steals our freedoms, if it’s taken over by a tyrant.”

What is the alternative argument - the primary one that others tend to suggest? That argument is that rights are bestowed on the people by governments or the most powerful entities. In such a case, the rights of individuals would be subject to the dictates of tyrants and majorities. Such a notion becomes ridiculous when its consequences are realized.

For instance, suppose a majority decides that some certain group of people have no right to life. Upon that majority decision, it would follow that those selected people have thereby abandoned their right to life - since rights must be bestowed. Rightfully then, those people should willfully surrender and march themselves to the gallows or gas chambers. After all, their right to life no longer exists. They would have no recourse to challenge, and the killing of these people would be just. The murderers could argue that they have done nothing wrong since that particular people had no right to life.

Rights do not vanish when they become indefensible. For instance, slaves have their rights violated in perpetuity. Those rights did not disappear when they became slaves. Natural rights are possessed by every person in the world - even those under the most reprehensible dictatorships. It's not that those folks have no rights. Their rights are in constant violation.

Natural rights lay at the foundation of liberty. Libertarianism means nothing without them.


Following are two videos, one is a shortened version - the first third of the Judge's speech - while the second is the full version.


Full Version:

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Rights are not bestowed upon us by governments