I hope people really understand what a “right” is. If you can’t understand why the same word would be used to say “so-and-so has a right to be king over England”, then you don’t understand what the word really means.
A right is something you are entitled to, that other people must give you, by virtue of your existence. The logical reasoning behind rights is always shallow. Logic doesn’t justify rights. We claim rights to liberty and life the same way kings claimed rights to the throne: God gave us our rights, and so we have them. Anyone who disagrees, can face the sword in a test of who is right by military might.
A king who has a right to a throne is not necessarily a king. He needs to secure his position, oftentimes by politicking, and occasionally by killing the right people, and too often by waging war against his own people. It is a bloody affair. So, to, our rights are not secure unless we exert our own powers to secure them. We are no more free by virtue of our rights than a king is king by virtue of his. Without the hard work and concentrated effort, our rights are rights in name only. How many Americans talk about the rights they have, but never lift a finger to exert them? They are kings who are not king.
The Catholic Church today has declared war on the US Government. If you cannot see that, you are blind. They have said they will not comply with any order by the government to provide birth control and abortion services. They have said they are willing to fight to preserve their right to not provide services that contradict explicitly with their religious beliefs. I pray that when push comes to shove, people will realize the Catholic Church is ready to kill to protect their right to live according to their belief. That will help people understand how rights really work.
Are you ready to oppose foreign powers, oppose your government, oppose the majority of the people in the US, and fight and kill to defend your rights, just as a king would?
Of course, we must be wise. Kings who have a right to the throne are usually patient in making their move. After all, if they do not make their move at the right time in the right way, they will be just another cousin who tried to steal the throne.
A king who secures his throne by exerting his rights is not permitted to do anything he wants. He must act in the best interests of the people over whom he is king. If he abuses his power, then he loses his right to be king. God takes his right away, and gives it to another. So, too, our rights are not the rights to do anything we please. If we abuse our power, and abuse our position and noble position, then we can lose our rights. Like a king in exile, we too can end up with no rights at all. Or dead.
This is a key that many libertarians miss. Your right to liberty is not the right to abuse your body. If you damage your body, the natural consequence is that you have no liberty at all. Your right to free speech is not the right to corrupt public morality. Your right to property is not the right to destroy that property wantonly. When you abuse your rights in this way, you are in danger of losing them all. That’s why we have laws that protect people from themselves. Consent is not all the is needed to do something; it must also be in the best interests of the people around them.
God never gave us the right to create, distribute, and view pornography, or participate in extra-marital sexual relations, or to bear false witness against each other, or to use the Lord’s name in vain, or worship false idols. These are not rights. We cannot do them and expect good things to happen to us.
The King has a duty to protect his subjects and create justice where there is none. If he lives up to his responsibility, he is celebrated as a wise and noble king. If not, then he loses his right to be king. So, too, our rights come with responsibilities. We must make more of ourselves and the people around us. We must secure happiness for us and them through our good actions. We must act responsibly.
America wasn’t founded on the idea that we can do what we want; quite the opposite. America was founded on the idea that God gave men rights so that they could be happy by obedience to God’s commandments on how to use those rights. When we fight and kill to protect our rights, we are always justified. When we are honest, hard-working, and keep our eyes on God, and faithful to our spouses, we are blessed with unprecedented wealth and military power. We are in danger of losing all that if we abuse our rights and do things that are irresponsible. We are in danger of losing our rights altogether if we do not correct our course swiftly.
We have no right to pleasure, just as the king has no right to do whatever feels good. Quite the opposite: we must render service to our fellowman, we must work and work some more, and cross ourselves in every thing contrary to the will of God. Life is not about having fun, life is about finding happiness. Pleasure and slothfulness and abuse of our rights does not lead to happiness. Only God can give us happiness.