John Leland Supports James Madison

Inalienable Rights

  1. The law of the nature of “rights.”
    1. The origin of rights.
      1. Duties which are owed exclusively to God cannot be enforced, regulated or impeded by civil government. Such duties are rights with respect to men. That is, what a person owes solely to God, he has the right to prevent others from impairing.
      2. True rights are those which are given to men by God. These rights are inalienable because no man has the authority to deny or take away what God has given. The meaning of “inalienable:”
        1. A grant of authority from God to man.
        2. Inalienable rights were granted at the initial creation (part of the law of nature).
        3. “Inalienable” means incapable of transfer.
          1. What God gives to man cannot be negated, superseded or undone by man. (One man cannot deprive another of his rights.)
          2. Parents cannot deprive posterity of their rights.
          3. Inalienable rights create non-delegable duties.
      3. God was under no duty to confer any rights, but once he acted men can claim their rights as a matter of law.
    2. The nature of rights.
      1. Rights are a function of one’s own authority, not someone else’s.
        1. Such authority is of two types. It must be either:
          1. the authority to discharge a duty with which no one else can interfere (a duty owed solely to God, i.e., a moral duty); or
          2. the authority to enforce the performance of a duty owed by another.
        2. Authority which gives rise to a “right” must either be: 1) given by God; or 2) voluntarily conferred (via contract).
      2. Every “right” requires a delegated authority, and every authority carries with it a duty or responsibility, but the duty is owed only to the source of the authority. Thus, parents owe a duty to provide material support for their children, but this responsibility was conferred by God alone, so the duty is owed to God alone.
      3. Waiver or forfeiture.
        1. A person may, by choice (i.e., unlawful conduct), forfeit an inalienable right to which he would otherwise be entitled. Thus, a man may forfeit his life when he commits murder, even though his right to life is unalienable. Or, a man may forfeit his property or his freedom upon upon committing a crime, even though his rights to property and liberty are inalienable.
        2. A person may voluntarily waive his own inalienable rights.
        3. A person may not waive the inalienable rights of another (including the rights of his posterity).
    3. Things which are not rights.
      1. Duties and benefits which are moral only.
        1. There can never be a “right” to receive a moral benefit from another, even when the benefit is owed pursuant to a moral duty. A “right” requires not only a duty owed by another, but a corresponding authority to compel performance of that duty. Thus, A has no “right” to receive an undelivered gift from B, but when delivery is made, A has authority to compel a transfer of title. Thus, until A receives authority over the gift (received by way of possession), he has no “right” to compel the gift.
      2. A violation of Lonang can never be a “right.”
        1. God has never given anyone the authority to violate his law (lonang makes no exceptions – such a law would be non-uniform). The mere ability to violate a law does not imply authority to do so.
        2. No one can lawfully confer by agreement the authority to violate lonang (contracts whose purpose violates lonang are per se invalid and void ab initio).
        3. A moral wrong cannot be either an inalienable right or a civil right.
      3. Rights and powers distinguished.
        1. Only individuals have rights; civil government has only powers.
          1. All rights of the people are given by God.
          2. All powers of government must be consented to by the people.
          3. In each case, the rights and powers are defined by the giver, not the receiver.
        2. The people can give some of their powers to government, but they can never give away their rights.
          1. Civil government has no inalienable rights.
          2. There is no direct grant of rights or powers from God to civil rulers, i.e., no divine right of kings. Civil powers are delegated by people as delegated to them by God. That is, all civil powers flow through the people. The people are never bypassed.
          3. Compare 9th and 10th Amendments as an example of rights vs. powers.
        3. Civil powers cannot trump inalienable rights.
          1. No creation of man (civil power) can supersede the creation of God (inalienable right).
  2. Protection of Rights.
    1. The purpose of civil government is to protect the inalienable rights of the non-civil institutions.
      1. Individual.
        1. Protection of individual liberties.
        2. What about involuntary incompetency/insanity hearings? [privileges]
        3. Involuntary bankruptcy/receivership/trusts? [property]
      2. Family.
        1. Regulation of marriage and divorce.
        2. Spousal rape? Spousal abuse? What is family jurisdiction?
        3. Child abuse.
        4. Parental abuse? See, rebellion of adult child (Deut. 21:18-21).
      3. Church.
        1. Free exercise of religion.
        2. No establishments of religion.
        3. Doctrinal abuse? No.
        4. No laws respecting religious belief, affiliation or organization.
    2. When rights seem to conflict.
      1. Two valid laws (according to the divine pattern) cannot both have jurisdiction over the same matter and (upon application to the facts) require different results. As God is not the author of confusion, so his laws never conflict with each other. Similarly, to the extent man’s laws conform to the divine pattern, they will never truly conflict with each other.
      2. When two laws appear to be in conflict, it is the role of the judge to determine which of the laws may be invalid (not law at all) or without proper jurisdiction. When this is done, at least one of the laws in apparent conflict will be found wholly inapplicable to the case. Ultimately, the only conflict will be with the claims of applicability made by the parties, not with the two laws themselves.
      3. True rights cannot be balanced. True rights can never be balanced with, or against, each other. This is because true rights never actually conflict, and therefore do not need to be balanced. True rights, when properly applied, will lead to the same result. When two rights appear to need balancing, one of them does not actually apply. Just because someone asserts a right does not mean they actually have it.
    3. Civil “Rights.”
      1. Civil “rights” are actually state conferred privileges.
        1. They are granted by men, not God (and therefore are not true rights).
        2. They vary from nation to nation and from time to time (not fixed, uniform and unversal).
        3. They may be conditioned, modified or taken away by men (not inalienable).
      2. Civil “rights” cannot negate inalienable rights.
        1. The creation of men cannot supersede the creation of God. Blackstone: “no human laws are of any validity,” if contrary to lonang.
        2. The rights v. privileges and rights v. powers distinctions have legal significance.
        3. There is no government interest which outweighs an inalienable right.
      3. “Privileges and immunities” defined.
    4. The perversion of rights
      1. Modern law ignores the distinctions between rights and privileges, and rights and powers.
      2. Rights as modernly construed often conflict, and must be balanced against each other.
      3. Behavior which violates lonang is upheld as a civil right.
      4. Inalienable rights are no longer recognized at all.
      5. Civil powers (“government interests”) run roughshod over individual rights.
  3. Partial Enumeration of Rights. There is no exhaustive list of inalienable rights, but they are limited to those which are revealed in lonang.
    1. Inalienable rights in the Individual capacity.
      1. Right to LIFE – flows from being made in the image of God.
      2. Right to INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY. Each person is accountable only for their own sin. Ezek. 18:20.
      3. Rights of ASSOCIATION and CONTRACT – flow from man’s free will.
        1. Contract rights.
          1. The obligation to keep a promise is absolute.
          2. A promise is not binding unless it is voluntary.
          3. Antidiscrimination laws apply only to government.
        2. Business associations.
          1. Business association is inherently private, not public.
          2. Business and employment associations cannot be compelled.
          3. Contract and bargaining representation must be consensual.
      4. Rights of LABOR and OCCUPATION – flow from God’s desire for man to work and be productive.
        1. True vocational opportunity is a matter of legal equality.
        2. Monopolies violate the law of equality.
        3. Government has no right to decide who is fit for any job.
      5. Right of EXPRESSION – flows from the image of God (creative thought).
      6. Rights of RELIGION and CONSCIENCE (same root as right of expression).
    2. Inalienable rights in the family capacity.
      1. Right to MARRY. Consensual and voluntary. – “Common-law” marriages.
      2. Right to CONCEIVE AND BEAR CHILDREN. Gen 1:26-28.
      3. Right to provide PHYSICAL CARE AND DISCIPLINE of children.
        1. Lonang mandate to parents. Prv 22:6; 1 Tim 5:8.
        2. Freedom to choose the level of provision.
        3. Freedom to choose the means of correction.
        1. Lonang mandate to parents. Dt 6:6-9; Eph 6:4.
        2. Freedom to choose the means of education.
        3. Freedom of religion in education.
      5. Rights of PRIVATE PROPERTY.
        1. God commanded families to dominate the earth.
        2. Private property is the means of fulfilling this command.
        3. Civil authority over property is limited to protecting private dominion, not usurping it.
    3. Inalienable rights in the Church capacity. Essentially, rights of association: to solicit, train, regulate and expel members.
      1. Right to PROSELYTIZE.
      2. Right to DISCIPLE.
      3. Right to SELF-GOVERNMENT.
      4. Right to EXCOMMUNICATION.