I've Got Rights!|
December 4, 2008
"I've got rights" is now one of the most commonly heard phrases in America. Don't
like your co-workers perfume? Under a new lawsuit,
you may soon have the right not
to smell it. Want to quit bathing? Soon, your employer may have to accept
habits as long as you claim that BO and shaggy hair are part of your religion. After
all, you've got rights. Everyone knows that.
Kindergartners, criminals, regular folks, the handicapped and even illegal immigrants
know that in America, everyone has rights. If you subscribe to the liberal media,
specifically, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, you probably believe your rights now include
shelter, food, health care and the right not to be critiqued for being a deadbeat.
Or a victim. Or an idiot. Or a pervert. After all, you've got rights.
Are you intent on celebrating the culture you left behind when you immigrated to
America? No problem. Don't bother learning English, just demand election officials
provide you a ballot in your native language so you can exercise your right to have
a say in how your new country is run. After all, you've got rights.
For the last few decades, the focus in schoolrooms, the workplace and the public
square has been on individual and group rights. The right to gay marriage, the right
not to be offended, the right to abort your baby, the right to celebrate whatever
you choose to call a religion (except for Christianity) and even the right to be happy.
In the never-ending discussions about rights, one pertinent fact is noticeably absent.
The fact that every right comes with a responsibility. Say what?
Though its not common knowledge, the fact is, rights aren't free. As economist Thomas
Sowell points out, everything in life is a trade-off. Your hard won right to go
without bathing isn't a free right, its a right that has been stolen from your employer.
Your right to shelter, food and healthcare aren't free rights. They are duties that
have been imposed on others. Forcing others to provide your rights is theft, pure
Your right to be a deadbeat isn't a right, its a cost incurred by you that is paid
by others. Labeling yourself a 'free-spirit' doesn't change the reality that you're
Your right to abort your baby deprives the unborn life inside you of their right
to life. Fair trade?
The 'right' to gay marriage is another new-fangled right. For centuries, marriage has
been a social contract between individuals and the state because the state has a
vested interest in fostering families and children for the good of society. Extending
this right to gay couples benefits only one party and provides no gain to the state,
or society. Thus, even the supposed 'right' to gay marriage isn't free, as it comes at the expense of society.
In the Declaration of Independence, we as a nation acknowledged that certain unalienable
rights have been bestowed upon us by our Creator, among these are life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. These God given rights do not require the taking of
rights from others. All rights bestowed by man necessarily do. Man can not create
rights, man can only transfer them.
The transference of rights from one group to another, from one individual to another
by man is now justified under the rubric of 'social justice', 'inclusion' and other
equally subjective and innocuous phrases. The politically correct labels do not
change the underlying fact that every right granted to one man means the taking
of a right from another man.
The next time you feel the need to assert any of your fashionable new-found rights
'rights', you might ask yourself, "Whose rights am I infringing?" To not do so is
the height of selfishness. Of course, you have the 'right' to be selfish, too. Right?
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for
She lives in South Carolina
Article may be reprinted, with attribution