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Topic: Rights, Matches 35 quotes.



This Gospel is a plan of liberating mankind from bondage. “The whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin” (Doc. and Cov. 84:49), but the truth from heaven has a mission to perform, namely, to liberate us and make us free. It is no wonder that the Latter-day Saints have espoused the great cause of human liberty, that they regard this great government of which we form a part as having been inspired of Almighty God, that they regard the Constitution of our land and that instrument that preceded it, known as the Declaration of Independence, as being inspired of the Almighty for the salvation and the protection of the children of God. We rejoice in being citizens of this great republic, the freest country in all the world. Its principles, the very foundations upon which it has been established, are set forth in that Declaration of Independence, wherein it is stated that “all men are created equal and that they have been endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Let it not be felt that these rights are given to us by any government. Not so. We live not because a government has given us the privilege to live; we live because God gave us life. We are free not because any government has given us our liberty—we are free not because we have received that power and that right from any human source; we are free because God made us free.

The Lord inspired the fathers of our country, our Revolutionary fathers, with this same spirit of human liberty, this right of free agency. This great struggle for liberty did not begin on this earth; it began before the foundations of it were laid. The Lord devised the plan whereby we might be liberated and made free and independent. The Lord designs that we shall be so. There was war in heaven before the foundations of this earth were laid. And what was that great conflict over? It was a struggle for the liberties of the children of God.

Source: Elder Rulon S. Wells
General Conference, April 1930

Topics: Free Agency; Rights



No Tyranny

Freedom is the Gospel’s sign manual. Tyranny has no place therein. There is no room in all the Government of God for the exercise of unrighteous dominion.

Eternity’s Constitution

The God we worship is no respecter of persons, but He is a respecter of men’s rights, and a guardian of them—a fact clearly shown in the heaven-inspired Constitution of our country, and in the Gospel itself, which might be termed the Constitution of Eternity.

Source: Elder Orson F. Whitney
General Conference, October 1930

Topics: Rights



Jefferson And Rousseau

Thomas Jefferson was the author of the Declaration, though some of its phrases were current in that day—common property. Jefferson, heaven-inspired, breathed into them the breath of life and made them live forever. It was a glorious achievement. “All men are created equal.” This phrase is Rousseau’s—he whose pen kindled the fierce fires of the French Revolution. It does not mean, of course, that all men are equal in intelligence and capacity, any more than they are equal in stature or in weight. But all have equal rights to life, to liberty, to the pursuit of happiness, and are entitled to equal opportunities for possession and promotion.

Source: Elder Orson F. Whitney
General Conference, October 1926

Topics: Rights



“Not Yours to Give”: The Real Davy Crockett Story (Part I)

When Colonel Davy Crockett (1786-1836) was a member of the House of Representatives, he voted for a bill to relieve the victims of a fire in Georgetown. While Crockett was campaigning for the next election, a backwoods farmer came to him and chastised him for his vote, with these words:

“It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.

If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose . . . .

There are about 240 members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The congressmen chose to keep their own money . . . The people about Washington no doubt applauded you for relieving them of the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else.

Everything beyond this is a usurpation.”

Source: The Life of Colonel David Crockett, ed. Edward S. Ellis
(Philadelphia: Potter & Coates, 1884). Reprinted in Lawrence W. Reed
and Dale M. Haywood, eds., When We Are Free (Midland, Michigan:
Northwood Institute Press, 1981), p. 185.

Topics: Government, Spending; Rights



Much of the problem with the Federal budget has arisen out of the mistaken concept of a “right” to basic goods and services, and I am disturbed by your promotion of this concept in the headline from your newsletter: “Health Care: An American Right.” This idea has all but destroyed an understanding among the public of the true concept of rights as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, where rights refer to areas where governments are proscribed from interfering with the individual, not to things which individuals can feel justified in having the government provide by stealing from others.

In this regard I would ask you to ponder the following words of Davy Crockett, spoken to the U.S. House of Representatives in regard to a bill to appropriate money for a “worthy cause” when he was a Congressman from Tennessee:

. . . we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money . . . .

. . . I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.

The bill failed. Of course today it would be impossible for Congressmen to fund any but the tiniest of the programs they debate out of their own pockets, and it is extremely rare for a Congressman to consider the question of whether it is in his delegated authority under the Constitution to make budgetary commitments to all of today’s massive programs.”

Source: Davy Crockett Story (Part II)
The Freeman, 1992, September, p. 364.

Topics: Government, Spending; Rights



The Meaning Of Freedom

So much has been talked about liberty; so much has been said about fighting for freedom. What good is the winning of battles if we shall negate them by acts of unwarranted hatred? About this matter of freedom, I should like to say this regarding personal responsibility: too many people think of freedom in terms of license. Freedom is not the right to do as one “jolly well” pleases. Freedom stops for someone when someone else commits an act detrimental to his neighbor. I have no right to any conduct which would impede the progress of my neighbor. I have no right to any act which would take the freedom from someone else. And that thought carried a little further is of tremendous significance to the Latter-day Saints. This is a missionary Church. Upon us rests the responsibility of crying the gospel to the world because only by it can peace and liberty come.

Source: Elder Joseph F. Smith
General Conference, October 1945

Topics: Freedom; Responsibility; Rights



Right To Life

The right-to-life concept and its acceptance must serve as the premise for this point. If a person has a right to life, it follows that he has a right to protect and to sustain that life, the sustenance of life being nothing more nor less than the fruits of one’s labor — one’s honestly acquired property. The right to life without the right to protect and to sustain life is meaningless. ... it is impossible in a division-of-labor economy to sustain life on one’s own specialty. Energy exchanges are as vital as one’s own produce. Therefore, the right to the fruits of one’s own labor involves the restraint or the removal of obstacles to exchange—not merely the obstacles to one’s own exchange, but the obstacles to other people’s exchange within any given society.

Source: Leonard E. Read
Government—An Ideal Concept, pp. 36-37.

Topics: Rights



Two Types of Force

Force of the kind here discussed is of two types. There is repellent or defensive force. There is aggressive force. The latter is always evil. There are no exceptions. No man has any moral right to use aggressive force against any other man. Nor have any number of men, in or out of societal organizations, any moral right to use it. One of the most distressing fallacies having to do with government and liberty is the assumption that the state, an agency presumably of the people, has rights beyond those possessed by the people. For example, the state uses aggressive force against an individual, compelling him to exchange some of his income for the alleged prosperity of Tennessee Valley residents. No reasonable person would sanction such an aggressive action on the part of any single citizen. Therefore, no reasonable person can logically believe that any such control belongs to a multitude of citizens. From what source does this extracurricular “right” of the state to use aggressive force derive? It has no derivation. It is an arrogation. This arrogation is as untenable as the divine right of kings theory; indeed, it is the same thing with the divine excuse omitted.

Any person has the natural and moral right to use repellent or defensive force against any other person who would aggress against him. No person on this earth has any moral right of control over any other person superior to the defense of his own life and livelihood. Two persons banding together do not acquire moral rights of control over others superior to the rights held by each before their association. No increase in the number of individuals involved morally alters this in any way ... Rights not possessed by individuals cannot properly be delegated to an agency, political or otherwise. Society’s agency, then, will find the proper limits of its scope in exercising for everyone, without favor to any, the natural and moral rights inherent in its members.

Source: Leonard E. Read

Topics: Force; Rights



Obligation to Live or Right to Life?

The distinction between collecting taxes and compelling military service inheres in the difference between types of obligations and rights. As previously contended, one does have an obligation to society which justifies the payment and the collection, if necessary, of an equitable tax. The societal agency, in collecting the tax, is merely performing its proper role of defending its members against those who would unload their own obligations onto the shoulders of others. Bear in mind that the collection is in livelihood, not life.

However, no person has an obligation, other than to himself, to live. He may, and sometimes does, choose not to live—all suicides being examples. A person is not obligated to society in this respect. To live or not to live is an affair of individual choice. It is a matter between man and his God, not between man and society.

A person does not have an obligation to society to live. He has only the right to live if he so chooses. No societal organization would be justified among a people who had no desire to live. An organized arm of society is founded on and is justified exclusively by the will to live which exists in a people—precisely the same law of nature which attends to potential human energy’s becoming kinetic human energy—that is, which attends to communication and exchange among men.

Source: Leonard E. Read

Topics: Life; Right to Life; Rights

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