How the State Has Ravaged Our Inalienable Rights

by Scott Lazarowitz Reason and Jest

Recently by Scott Lazarowitz: No More Police Socialism

It is unfortunate that the American people have allowed their country to degrade so deeply into a vast state of decadence and turmoil, coinciding with their century-long growth of government intrusions and criminality.

As Albert Jay Nock, Murray Rothbard and Lysander Spooner have all observed, the State is itself an inherently criminal organization. The early Americans recognized that all human beings have inalienable rights, but their maintaining a centralized State ran contrary to their adherence to the principles of liberty.

Sadly, the implementation of compulsory government has effected in the virtual cancellation of what were our inalienable rights.

Now, there are some people, some theorists, who do not believe that human beings have "natural rights," or inherent, inalienable rights, but I believe that we do.

The Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

That is, each individual has a natural, inalienable right to self-ownership, to make use of one's own life, person, labor, contracts and property as one sees fit, as long as one does not interfere with any other individual's same right. (For those who think there's a difference between inalienable and unalienable, please see this.)

But the problem is that statists, communitarians, collectivists, political conservatives and progressives, and even some libertarians, don't believe that rights are inalienable. Whether they would ever state it directly or not, they believe that the community in which one lives has collective ownership rights over each individual and one's life, labor and property, and that the community has the right to make use of each individual as the community sees fit.

That's really it, this conflict between the power of the group versus the inalienable, natural rights of the individual. And it really is an "either-or" situation. There is no "the individual has some inalienable rights to one's life and liberty, but it's up to the others to decide" kind of stuff. Because once you share in ownership of your life, your labor, your contracts and your property with the rest of the group, you have really forfeited any rights of self-ownership and liberty, mainly because the rest of the community outnumbers you.

So, those natural rights which are inalienable are absolute rights. You as an individual have an absolute, exclusive right to own your life, person, honestly-acquired property, and have an absolute right to be free from aggression being initiated against you by others or the threat of such aggression.

Not that I'm a big fan of the U.S. Constitution, but its Fourth Amendment does state that the people have a right to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects." But it also goes on by stating that such a right is "against unreasonable searches and seizures." That word "unreasonable" gives the State and its agents the power to subjectively decide what is or is not unreasonable.

So given that the State's very existence is based not on the voluntarily-agreed upon consent by all those over whom the State rules, but by compulsory fiat rule without alternative choices or self-governance allowed, therefore entrusting the State's agents with deciding the reasonableness of intrusions inherently makes the people less secure. Ultimately, the scheme of the State's monopolizing of various functions becomes a criminal enterprise, as I observed recently.

For example, when the State orders the people to participate in and fund the State's own government-run schemes, such as Social Security, Medicare and the new Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare, then those are also illegitimate compulsory schemes.

The reason those State-imposed schemes are illegitimate is because each individual in society has an inherent, inalienable right to self-ownership, a right to control one's own personal matters, and a right to establish contracts with others, without any third-party intrusions.

Therefore, government bureaucrats who order an individual to participate in any government-run scheme – or to purchase any product or service privately, for that matter – are criminally violating that individual's inalienable rights to life, liberty, and one's pursuit of happiness, as well as the individual's right to be secure in one's person, property and effects.

And government bureaucrats who demand that an individual report on one's private matters, such as employment or employee details, pay schedules, one's income or private assets – information which most people would not voluntarily provide to one's neighbors, because it's none of their damn business – then such bureaucrats are criminally trespassing into the private lives of individuals.

Regarding the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") specifically, the relationship and association between the doctor and patient is a private relationship, and it's none of the government's business. Some people consider the doctor and patient as provider and consumer, but Ayn Rand called them traders.

The contract between the two traders and the terms of the contract are between them. Such a contract does not include anyone else, unless the doctor and patient both agree to have some third-party involvement. And the contract between an individual and an insurer is also no one else's business.

So for third parties to forcibly intrude themselves into these private contracts and associations really is an act of aggression.

However, the freedom of choice and free enterprise of the original America as the early Americans envisioned is one that not only discourages but forbids those acts of aggression, including or especially committed by the State. Those acts of aggression are crimes, literally.

Compulsory Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Care Act et al. all imply that the government bureaucrats – the Rulers – own your life and have a right to order you into some scheme that your own commonsense noggin tells you is not good for you and that limits your freedom.

And when any third party intruder steps in between you and others with whom you have established voluntary contracts, or orders you to participate in some scheme, that third party is automatically seizing ownership of your life and labor, and in a criminal way, in my opinion.

And that is exactly what Supreme Court Chief Bureaucrat John Roberts has rubber-stamped in his Orwellian approving of the Obama health insurance mandate, and cynically and almost facetiously calling it a "tax."

America has now become a State-controlled prison in which petty non-productive bureaucrats have ownership rights of the rest of the population, unfortunately.

Also, these healthcare and retirement policies which require reporting one's private matters to government bureaucrats are intrusions no different from police searches of one's home.

And like these government healthcare and retirement intrusions, laws regarding regulation of property or businesses are also before-the-fact, presumption-of-guilt laws and policies.

In fact, the Dodd-Frank law is presumption-of-guilt writ large. (Or presumption-of-guilt on stilts, as Walter Block might say.)

The business or property owner must report private information to Mr. Bureaucrat that is none of his business, especially without any reason for Mr. Bureaucrat to suspect someone of anything. This violates the individual's right to be secure and one's right to presumption of innocence, and becomes an act of aggression or coercion on Bureaucrat's part. Here, Mr. Bureaucrat is the criminal, not the business or property owner.

A more recent example of the government's criminally eviscerating one's right to be secure was the Supreme Bureaucrats' dismissing a lawsuit by Amnesty International against the feds' Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA warrantless eavesdropping policy.

The illegal and unconstitutional policy was supported by the five Republican appointees, including the aforementioned turncoat Roberts.

As Glenn Greenwald noted, this is a policy that is held in secret, and therefore there are no checks on these government powers.

The Bush and Obama administrations have maintained that the secrecy is necessary to thwart terrorism. (Then why does their FBI intentionally create terrorists? But I digress.)

But in reality, such illegally intrusive kinds of powers have been used by governments throughout history – including the U.S. government – against their own people, mainly to suppress political dissent and silence critics and victims of government tyrants.

But don't these Republican Supreme defenders of government intrusions know their history? Apparently not.

So, the Supremes seemed to wave their hands as if to shoo away an annoying pest, in their further strengthening the power of the State's rulers and their minions to use such criminal intrusions as a means to crush dissent.

Besides the government FISA snooping, drones are also being employed to engage in domestic spying and tracking of people, and the Rulers now want to track innocent, law-abiding gun owners.

Most people who understand history know that the real reason for government bureaucrats to track gun owners is to inevitably confiscate the guns from the civilian population. Given that Leviathan is now totally out of control, that is what the Rulers will do. And the government bureaucrats will use the reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act to aid and abet their suppression of dissent, and in their crimes against the people. How can I say that? We're talking about government bureaucrats, that's how I can say that. The American Revolutionaries really did understand the true nature of the State, as did Rothbard, Nock and Spooner. Alas, most modern Americans do not.

But, as discussed above, each individual has an inalienable right to one's life and liberty, and the right to be secure in one's person, home and effects, and the right to protect oneself from intruders, regardless who the intruders are or what their occupation is or whom they work for. Just as the people have the inalienable right to be free of government-controlled healthcare or retirement schemes being shoved down their throats, so too do the people have the right to resist tyranny.

Is there any hope for us at this late stage of the game?