Never Confuse 'Needs' with 'Rights'

At a town hall meeting in Iowa held by Republican US senator Chuck Grassley, a woman said that her Methodist Church believes that health care is “a right”.


This kind of rhetoric is heavy in the air as health care is debated. And it has been used for decades by liberals as a means of making everything from housing to clothing to education into a ‘right’.


This is a very sly and emotion-driven tactic and is the sure path to destroying liberty. Because neither health care nor education nor food nor clothing nor shelter are ‘rights’.  They are ‘needs’.


To switch the two – to substitute ‘needs’ for ‘rights’ and then to consequently substitute ‘rights’ for ‘needs’ as the liberals ultimately are trying to do – is the technique used by socialists to slowly subvert our freedom and expand the power of the government. Here is how:


Never in human history, until codified in the US Constitution, have so many human ‘rights’ been so clearly enumerated in a governing document. Interestingly, the Bill of Rights was not part of the original Constitution, but was an afterthought. This is a very interesting turn of events. The Founders believed that the basic 1787 Constitution, which simply described a 3-part government, was enough to assure liberty, and that liberty itself would  assure the ‘rights’ that people need to maintain liberty.


Some disagreed. And so the Bill of Rights was added and ratified in 1791.


What are our ‘rights’ under the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution? Does it say anything about food, clothing and shelter? Or education? Or medical care?




Does it even say that people have the right to live free from burdensome taxation when our separation from British rule was based on that very cause?


Not even that.




Because the Founders were wise men who knew first of all that certainly ‘needs’ are not ‘rights’ And that if you started to describe social and economic ‘needs’ as ‘rights’ that you then would be assigning to the government the means of potentially controlling every single economic transaction in the nation. In other words, complete control of the people which is exactly what our Constitutional freedom guards against.


So what are our ‘rights’?


They are the basic human rights that allow us to live in freedom and then, as a result, to provide for our own ‘needs’. This is how America has become the most powerful nation in the world, not by assuring that each person would theoretically have their ‘needs’ provided for but by assuring that ‘rights’ would be guaranteed by a small, freedom-loving republican government.


Our ‘rights’ are so precious and unique that they have repeatedly been described as “God-given”. This is because throughout history man has so rarely been granted even any single ‘right’ at all that they only can be guaranteed by a Supreme Being. Because man is not magnanimous enough to grant rights to his fellow man. Only God is great enough and secure enough in His strength and righteousness that He is willing to trust man with those rights.


By claiming, as liberals do, that ‘needs’ are ‘rights’ is a way to subvert our real ‘rights’. Because then our ‘rights’ become secondary to our ‘needs’ and then our ‘rights’ can be minimized, marginalized and even eliminated.


After all, liberals argue, who cares about free speech or excessive bail when someone is hungry? This is how they do it; through emotion and through misdirection and trickery. And people who are not vigilant about liberty will believe them and will lose their freedoms.


According to the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution – the Bill of Rights – our ‘rights’ are:


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Comment: Throughout history, governments have either banned personal religious belief or forced it. This Amendment does neither which is the ultimate personal liberty of religion. Throughout history, people have been jailed and killed for speaking their minds, assembling to discuss issues, and disagreeing with the government. This Amendment assures that they can do all three. Awesome!


Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Comment: Under tyrannical governments, there has been no right to personal self-defense. Weapons are banned among the people as a threat to the government. To trust the people with arms is to intrinsically trust the people to do the right thing. This had never been achieved before the US Constitution codified it.


Amendment III

 No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Comment: In a time of war, under a tyranny, homes could easily be commandeered by the state for military use. This Amendment makes that impossible.


Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Comment: Without personal freedom from government search and seizure – along with the other rights described in these first ten amendments – there is no freedom at all. This Amendment guarantees that freedom.


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Comment: The right to due process of law, the right to be free from double jeopardy (tried for the same crime twice), the right to defend against self-incrimination, these all are foundations for freedom. No amount of health care or housing could match these.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Comment: A speedy trial means that the state cannot hold you indefinitely, a tactic that tyrannies can use to lock up citizens for long periods. All of these provisions for fair trials are what we have come to expect  by dint of the fact that we live in the freest nation ever established. We take them for granted. But if we did not have them, we certainly would figure it out quickly.


Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Comment: Trial by jury. What else? Trial by the state would always end up corrupted. This is a cornerstone of our liberty.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Comment: Governments have used legal penalties like excessive bail and fines and cruel punishment to control the people. Amendment 8 makes that impossible.


Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Comment: This is nothing less than amazing. Not only do you have every right as enumerated in our Constitutional republic, but even more. This is the ultimate testament to freedom.


Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


Comment: Another home run… That the federal government guarantees rights is not even enough for our freedom-loving Founders. The states then may do it to, or even the people themselves.




Now look back on this wonderful Bill of ‘Rights’: Will ‘needs’ ever be provided by a government that denies people their ‘rights’?


No. Why would a government even bother once it has control over the people?


Are not these ‘rights’ infinitely more significant than the everyday ‘needs’ of the people because cannot those ‘needs’ ultimately always be accommodated once people are given their ‘rights’?


The answer is unequivocally YES.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.