Inalienable Rights

 A part of the Layman Looks at Law series

We often hear of nations accused of abusing human rights, countries who seem to care little about its citizens. It may be that in North America our human rights are being abused as well, especially toward those who do not know their rights. Let’s know our rights and how they come to us.

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.1

WHEREAS recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…2

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,3

What exactly does inalienable (or unalienable) mean?

in·al·ien·a·ble … incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred4

As human beings, we cannot be separated from our rights.

As seen in these few examples, the term ‘inalienable or unalienable human rights’ can be found, directly or inferred, in the constitutions, bills, codes, and charters, but do we understand what it means? Inalienable means not subject to liens, no one can put a lien or limits on them. These rights were conferred to us by our Creator not through government charters, bills, or acts and because they come from our Creator only He can change or limit them.

Natural and legal rights are two types of rights theoretically distinct according to philosophers and political scientists. Natural rights, also called inalienable rights, are considered to be self-evident and universal. They are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government. Legal rights, such as constitutional rights, common law rights, and statutory rights, are bestowed under a particular political and legal system; they are relative to specific cultures and governments.”5 (emphasis mine)

INALIENABLE. This word is applied to those things, the property of which cannot be lawfully transferred from one person to another. Public highways and rivers are of this kind; there are also many rights which are inalienable, as the rights of liberty, or of speech.6 (emphasis is mine)

Inalienable rights: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights. Morrison v. State, Mo. App., 252 S.W.2d 97, 101. (emphasis is mine)

The words “without the consent of the one possessing such rights” are the key to abuses here. By our ignorance, and/or by our silence, we surrender our rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists some of these rights as:

  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  • No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
  • Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

There are others points, and this document is worthy of study, because if we know our rights we are less likely to surrender them in ignorance. Do you think we have not surrendered some these already? Let’s look…

  • No one may be compelled to belong to an association.”

 Are you required to belong to or be licensed by a trade union in order to enjoy your “right to work, to free choice of employment,” or perhaps certified by an association of teachers, engineers, therapists, etc.? Or, what about the assumption that we are members of the "public"? 

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement… No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”

What about being forced to pay a toll to travel certain roads? Our money is our property and we are being deprived of it to travel roads that belong to the people.

  • Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.”

Are we compelled to register our vehicles? In doing so, we assign legal title of that vehicle to the government. Their asset numbers are affixed to the front and/or back of the vehicle and then force us to insure it so that we, using our money (property) protect their asset.

In these and most cases were we to read the law or the documentation, we would learn that we are not forced to do these things, rather, we have been lead to believe that we are required to do them. It will be a battle against the tide of the social mindset to reverse the trend, but a struggle I believe to be worthy of the effort.

“He who does not assert his rights has none.”6

Justice William C. Goodloe, (1919-1997) of the Washington State Supreme Court, speaking of the US Constitution said:

“It is the first time in all of civilized history, going back to the beginning, it’s the first time in the history of mankind, that a people have been told that their rights come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. That’s the genius of the Declaration of Independence, that’s why the maxim that comes out of the declaration of independence is the most sublime part of American constitutional law, that you don’t hear your politicians talking about that. In fact they don’t even want to talk about our rights coming from the hand of God. They think it comes from them. And this one of the basic problems that you people here tonight have, that you are going along with this concept that you think you powers and your credence, and your liberties come for the generosity of your legislators.”7

Let’s use the courts to begin to take back our rights—they are inalienable and the foundation of our freedom.

© 2009, Steve.

1 United States Declaration of Independence

2 Ontario Human Rights Code

3 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

4 inalienable. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inalienable..

5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inalienable_rights

6 Bouvier's Law Dictionary

7 A maxim of law

8 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3948313477993412658

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