Friday, December 28, 2012

Inalienable rights: Just for Americans?

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These “inalienable rights,” described by our Founders in the Declaration of Independence, are etched into the political ethos of America. Conservatives in particular cite them with great frequency in the course of modern policy debates. Protection for the unborn, exemptions for the religiously-minded, and a free market in which to advance one’s livelihood with minimal government interference are just a few stances that are inspired by the Founders’ particular conception of natural rights.

Upholding these allegedly God-given rights seems to be of paramount importance to conservatives, and rightly so. Allowing Jefferson’s assertion that inalienable rights do, in fact, exist (and there are non-negligible thinkers within the Catholic tradition – Alasdair MacIntyre being perhaps the most noteworthy modern example – who believe they do not), failing to apply them consistently amounts to disregarding what our Creator has ordained.

Furthermore, the integrity of the rule of law requires consistent application of the documents on which our nation was founded, the Declaration amongst them. In other words, though these documents may not be “living” in the way that liberals view the Constitution, their spirit must certainly be alive and well for the law to be legitimate. If these papers are no more than dusty historical artifacts, whose dictates and philosophical underpinnings have little relevance to the present, the very foundation of our government itself is undermined. Therefore, conservatives have positioned themselves as the champions of preserving the vitality of our founding documents and the ideas therein described.

However, with this in mind, it is disappointing to note that…

Source: Irish Rover

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