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The Source of Rights

Truth in love

Well-Known Member
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man."- Thomas Paine

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" ( Jefferson, Works, 8:404; P.P.N.S., p. 141)

"Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These
are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent
upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality?
And what is property but an extension of our faculties?" ( Bastiat:The Law, p. 6)

Now I know a few atheist will get their panties in a bunch over God being mentioned in politics, but even someone who wholly rejects God can value rights being above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials in government.
 

danieldemol

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man."- Thomas Paine

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" ( Jefferson, Works, 8:404; P.P.N.S., p. 141)

"Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These
are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent
upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality?
And what is property but an extension of our faculties?" ( Bastiat:The Law, p. 6)

Now I know a few atheist will get their panties in a bunch over God being mentioned in politics, but even someone who wholly rejects God can value rights being above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials in government.
I'm not an atheist, but I disagree with Jefferson that the idea of liberties being a gift from God constitutes a firm basis.

For it to be a firm basis it would have to be demonstrable that God exists - (Hint: It's not). And it would have to be demonstrable that these liberties came from God and not from ourselves.

That these liberties are shaky and so easily stripped away is enough to suggest they aren't gifts from an omnipotent source (sorry in advance if you don't believe in an omnipotent God).

In my opinion.
 

Truth in love

Well-Known Member
I'm not an atheist, but I disagree with Jefferson that the idea of liberties being a gift from God constitutes a firm basis.

For it to be a firm basis it would have to be demonstrable that God exists - (Hint: It's not). And it would have to be demonstrable that these liberties came from God and not from ourselves.

That these liberties are shaky and so easily stripped away is enough to suggest they aren't gifts from an omnipotent source (sorry in advance if you don't believe in an omnipotent God).

In my opinion.

If liberty is granted by man then man can revoke it. Your right to speak, believe, not believe etc. all can vanish legally in a moment by edict of some bureaucrat. Does that sound like liberty?
 

danieldemol

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
If liberty is granted by man then man can revoke it. Your right to speak, believe, not believe etc. all can vanish legally in a moment by edict of some bureaucrat. Does that sound like liberty?
In certain countries liberties have been legally revoked by government agents. Which is precisely my point above that liberty's supporter seems to be not omnipotent and defeatable in certain circumstances.

But I do know one thing, if men can revoke liberties men can also fight for them. And although this struggle doe not appear to be interfered with by God, it is nontheless worth fighting for.

In my opinion
 

epronovost

Well-Known Member
Now I know a few atheist will get their panties in a bunch over God being mentioned in politics, but even someone who wholly rejects God can value rights being above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials in government.

They are not above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials and never were. In fact one of the things that Thomas Jefferson did was to help produce a "Bill of Rights". He also had no qualms about denying those rights to women and black people. What these people are talking about is the idea that a certain amounts set of powers and liberties are foundational to human happiness and prosperity and that denying those powers and liberties would equate to denying human happiness and prosperity altogether; an act that was best described in the 18th century as against God and Nature itself and that we would describe today as crime against humanity.
 

Shadow Wolf

Certified People sTabber & Business Owner
but even someone who wholly rejects God can value rights being above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials in government.
I find no value in that conclusion as what we call our rights, those freedoms and protected privileges we take for granted are just as fragile as our own existence. We say they are inalienable, we say they are natural, but they can be taken away and of course not everyone, even today, agrees these rights are necessary or important and they are not granted.
 

It Aint Necessarily So

Veteran Member
Premium Member
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man."- Thomas Paine

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" ( Jefferson, Works, 8:404; P.P.N.S., p. 141)

"Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These
are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent
upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality?
And what is property but an extension of our faculties?" ( Bastiat:The Law, p. 6)

Now I know a few atheist will get their panties in a bunch over God being mentioned in politics, but even someone who wholly rejects God can value rights being above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials in government.

Citing founders referring to gods is irrelevant. If we had to wait for gods for rights, we'd still be waiting, as they did through antiquity and the Middle Ages to no avail. Nothing happened until man enumerated and enforced the rights he deemed appropriate. What rights do you think man would have if the Bible were their source?

Remember also, that these were the times when men were asked to rebel against a king. This is the Bible's position on rebellion:
  • "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."- Romans 13:1-2
  • "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient" - Titus 3:1
Given that, how do you convince them that rebellion is just? You tell them that the God they believe in gave them the "God given" right to cast off the shackles of bondage.
 

Kenny

Face to face with my Father
Premium Member
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man."- Thomas Paine

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" ( Jefferson, Works, 8:404; P.P.N.S., p. 141)

"Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These
are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent
upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality?
And what is property but an extension of our faculties?" ( Bastiat:The Law, p. 6)
And then signed in agreement by 56 people!
 

osgart

Nothing my eye, Something for sure
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man."- Thomas Paine

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" ( Jefferson, Works, 8:404; P.P.N.S., p. 141)

"Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These
are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent
upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality?
And what is property but an extension of our faculties?" ( Bastiat:The Law, p. 6)

Now I know a few atheist will get their panties in a bunch over God being mentioned in politics, but even someone who wholly rejects God can value rights being above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials in government.

The rights are far more important, and are above and beyond in value to the reach of elected and unelected officials of any kind. So long as we appreciate them they will stand. If we fail to appreciate them we will be like every country that is oppressive, and abusive.

It's humans who value these rights. God is not, and has not ever intervened in any such affairs because God is non existent.

I would say America is more of a meritocracy, and is heavily influenced by the wealthy. But there is still a republic here as well. I would also say republicans have become extremists and have put the republic under attack. Sometimes it might be necessary to vote conservative, although I'm liberal, but these Republicans are not worth ever voting for because they are only dangerous to America.
 

9-10ths_Penguin

1/10 Subway Stalinist
Premium Member
If liberty is granted by man then man can revoke it. Your right to speak, believe, not believe etc. all can vanish legally in a moment by edict of some bureaucrat. Does that sound like liberty?
Theocratic language in the OP just puts the power to deny liberty in the hands of the people who claim to speak for God.

Edit: in a lot of ways, it's worse for liberty, because there's no accountability or appeal for "the word of God."
 

QuestioningMind

Well-Known Member
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man."- Thomas Paine

"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" ( Jefferson, Works, 8:404; P.P.N.S., p. 141)

"Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These
are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent
upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality?
And what is property but an extension of our faculties?" ( Bastiat:The Law, p. 6)

Now I know a few atheist will get their panties in a bunch over God being mentioned in politics, but even someone who wholly rejects God can value rights being above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials in government.

If a god gives me a right but takes absolutely no action to defend that right it seems like it's pretty worthless right to have. At least when the constitution gives me a right there's a system in place to help ensure that my rights are defended.
 

F1fan

Veteran Member
Citing founders referring to gods is irrelevant. If we had to wait for gods for rights, we'd still be waiting, as they did through antiquity and the Middle Ages to no avail. Nothing happened until man enumerated and enforced the rights he deemed appropriate. What rights do you think man would have if the Bible were their source?

Remember also, that these were the times when men were asked to rebel against a king. This is the Bible's position on rebellion:
  • "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."- Romans 13:1-2
  • "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient" - Titus 3:1
Given that, how do you convince them that rebellion is just? You tell them that the God they believe in gave them the "God given" right to cast off the shackles of bondage.
Right. We need to remember these guys were thinking in the 18th century, and they were influenced by the Enlightenment. Natural Philosophy was a common operating set of assumptions these guys followed, which allowed them to think in terms of Deism, and where humans still had their own authority to act. They referred to the "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence to counter the divine right of the King of England. This meant that if the King could claim authority through the rights given by God then the FF could assume their own set of equal rights through the same God. It was a political calculation, not necessarily religious.
 

F1fan

Veteran Member
If liberty is granted by man then man can revoke it. Your right to speak, believe, not believe etc. all can vanish legally in a moment by edict of some bureaucrat. Does that sound like liberty?
This is why the majority of citizens threw Trump out of office. And even with that Trump tried to cheat the people's decision. So we do need to defend our democracy and liberties with very serious thought and understanding. Remember, we have a right to life as living citizens, and other rights that put the right to life and the pursuit of happiness at peril should be balanced and regulated.
 

Shadow Wolf

Certified People sTabber & Business Owner
And then signed in agreement by 56 people!
"...and that is the way of life. One day she was a pampered earl's daughter and the next she was a slave."
I recently read that in the second Last Kingdom book. It takes place in the late 9th century, when the Great Heathen Army was storming through Briton, beginning about when Wessex was the last Saxon kingdom not under some degree of Danelaw.
I have been fixated on that since I read it a few days ago. The woman in question was abducted during a viking raid. Under Danish law she would have been more than well protected and privileged. But that wasn't honored by the Saxon hero and his restless band of warriors, nor did her previous status matter in emerging England.
Even today our rights are just as fragile. There are still slaves, even in America. The women of Iran lost basically all of their rights and liberties after the Iranian revolution. It just comes to down to who we think should have rights and if they should have them at all. Kind of like how murder has been a universal taboo, but it's also universally up for debate who we can kill. A Pagan Germanic court, for example, couldn't sentence someone to death;only the gods could do that. But they could make someone an outlaw, and that meant someone else could kill them because outlaws were outside the protection of the law. Spartans forbid murder. They just killed everybody else and occasionally their own.
Collective agreements exist only when the collective agrees on them. Amd the Declaration and Constitution were radical collective agreements.
 

ADigitalArtist

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
I don't believe in outsourcing morality to third parties, so I wouldn't agree with any version of 'might makes right' be the authoritarian/totalitarian human or god.

I'm not particularly impressed with the morality of either the constitution's vanilla first edition or any edition of the Bible. The only way forward, in my opinion, is to enact change based on mutually shared goals and analyzing the consequences of enacting policy to reach them. Not saying 'so and so god or founding father said so.'
 

Truth in love

Well-Known Member
In certain countries liberties have been legally revoked by government agents. Which is precisely my point above that liberty's supporter seems to be not omnipotent and defeatable in certain circumstances.

But I do know one thing, if men can revoke liberties men can also fight for them. And although this struggle doe not appear to be interfered with by God, it is nontheless worth fighting for.

In my opinion

well hey we do agree on something. Liberty is worth fighting for.
 

Truth in love

Well-Known Member
They are not above and beyond the reach of elected and unelected officials and never were. In fact one of the things that Thomas Jefferson did was to help produce a "Bill of Rights". He also had no qualms about denying those rights to women and black people. What these people are talking about is the idea that a certain amounts set of powers and liberties are foundational to human happiness and prosperity and that denying those powers and liberties would equate to denying human happiness and prosperity altogether; an act that was best described in the 18th century as against God and Nature itself and that we would describe today as crime against humanity.
I take it you did not get a good grade in American History. Jefferson was one of the most anti slave guys of his generation.
 

Truth in love

Well-Known Member
Citing founders referring to gods is irrelevant. If we had to wait for gods for rights, we'd still be waiting, as they did through antiquity and the Middle Ages to no avail. Nothing happened until man enumerated and enforced the rights he deemed appropriate. What rights do you think man would have if the Bible were their source?

Remember also, that these were the times when men were asked to rebel against a king. This is the Bible's position on rebellion:
  • "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."- Romans 13:1-2
  • "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient" - Titus 3:1
Given that, how do you convince them that rebellion is just? You tell them that the God they believe in gave them the "God given" right to cast off the shackles of bondage.
So you summarized the entire bibles teaching that fast and concluded that there is nothing else???
 
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