Whether a politician’s words constitute a flagrant faux pas or innocent slip of the tongue often depends on the offender’s party affiliation. Democrats can commit untimely gaffes with relative impunity. But for Republicans to utter supposed misstatements is proof-positive that conservatives are knuckle-draggers. According to some commentators, Rick Santorum committed such a verbal error while countering claims that government-mandated health care is a fundamental right.
“Rights come from our creator,” Santorum declared. “They are protected by the Constitution of this country. Rights should not and cannot be created by a government because any time a government creates a right, they can take that right away.”
Think what you will about Rick Santorum, his record, and his future prospects. But his transgression wasn’t inaccuracy. His sin was daring to challenge the fundamental leftist idea that rights originate in government.
To assume that human liberties, defined as rights, are products of government is illogical. Since government produces nothing of its own accord, and therefore possesses nothing, it can only distribute what it first takes. Government can bestow retractable privileges, but not inalienable rights. For example, governments issue the driver’s license, which is considered a privilege. As such, governments can disperse the driver’s license on their terms, according to their will, or revoke the privilege altogether. A veritable right is quite different.
Genuine rights are inalienable and self-evident. A right exists without government permission, and no expert translation is necessary to understand its presence