Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dueling Letters Over Rights

The New Jersey Star-Ledger has published my letter regarding the Origin of our rights on July 10th, 2013. It was in rebuttal to a letter published on July 3rd, 2013.

Here is my letter:

A letter to the editor (“Where rights come from,” July 3) asserted that “our rights come from government, (not) God.” In fact, rights come from neither. If they did, they would be privileges, not rights.

Rights are moral principles logically derived from the factual requirements of man’s nature. Since man’s primary means of survival is his reasoning mind, man the individual must logically be free to act on his reasoned judgment, so long as his actions don’t infringe on the same rights of others.

The principle of rights sanctions every individual’s freedom, in a social context, to take such actions as he may deem necessary to live and flourish — such as choosing and pursuing his career goals; earning, keeping and disposing of property; choosing his romantic and marital partners, associating and trading with others by mutual consent, etc.

Individual rights, properly understood, are inalienable; meaning, they cannot be granted nor taken away by government officials, self-proclaimed spokesmen for “God,” or any other authority.

While rights don’t come from government, government does have a limited but vital — and, unfortunately, long-forgotten — function: to legally recognize and protect individual rights.

Michael A. LaFerrara, Flemington

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