In light of the recent activities occurring surrounding the Corona Virus outbreak in 2020, I’ve found myself thinking quite a bit about my rights as an American under the US Constitution.
Although my self-education on The Federalist Papers and the events surrounding the development of our Constitution is somewhat limited I have still arrived at the conclusion that the founders believed that all of the rights delineated in the US Constitution are absolute with respect to government.
Over time, many of these rights have been diminished by other laws and government actions. Unfortunately, this has been enough to cause many people to accept the idea that those rights do not exist absolutely. Nevertheless, just because the government says something or takes some action does not mean the end result is truthful, factual or just.
What the founders did say about the limitations of these rights is that one’s individual rights end when they infringe upon another’s.
We would all agree with a city telling a group they can't assemble in the middle of the streets downtown during rush hour, however, that does not mean the group can be denied a permit to assemble at any time and any place.
We would all agree that a religion that sacrifices 10-year-old virgins as part of their "faith" would not be covered under the 1st Amendment.
We would also agree yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater to create a panic is also not protected by the 1st Amendment.
However, ALL those examples are placing limits on individuals when and only when the exercise of one right infringes on the rights of another individual.
My right to Due Process under the 5th & 14th Amendments does not infringe upon any other individual’s right to the same nor to any other individual right, therefore, the government has no authority to take that away.
The same is true about my rights to counsel, to face my accuser, to compel witnesses to appear as well as my rights against double jeopardy or self-incrimination. In fact, that is true for all the rights delineated in the US Constitution and the others “retained by the people” as part of the 9th Amendment. My ownership of these rights does not in any way prevent others from exercising their individual rights.
So it follows that being able to carry a weapon in public does not infringe upon any other individual’s rights. My carrying does not prevent them from doing anything. Now they may not like it, but, I may not like them speaking their political views or hearing the views of the KKK but that disagreement is not enough to curtail a right.
When individual rights come into conflict, the government's role is simply to arbitrate the conflict and provide guidance on how each individual may need to adjust their actions so as not to trample upon the rights of other individuals. The government does not have the ability to summarily reduce or diminish any of those rights for all individuals in the name of whatever good feeling, "we can make things better" mantra being espoused.
When governments take such action, it is a Clear and Present Danger...and we need to point it out!
3 Replies to “Constitutional Rights and COVID-19”
Excellent article. Very well written. I found this post interesting.
Top notch; Spot on.
Clearly and well stated. Excellent article.