by Phil Elmore
March 10, 2011 © 2011
The state in which I live, New York, is contemplating a law that would register and tax every firearm in the state. Already ruling the state most hostile to gun owners, New York's Democrats wish to enact a precursor to confiscation that is not just transparent in its intensions, but onerous in its financial burdens. What is often lost in debates over laws of this type is what they truly say to the citizens they affect. A law that restricts the technology of self-defense is a law that criminalizes self-defense itself. It is a law that violates your civil rights. It is a direct affront to you as a human being.
The Founding Fathers of the United States indicated their acceptance of, and based the United States Constitution on, the concept of natural rights. For the purposes of this discussion, it doesn't matter if you believe in God or not. Most deists and theists believe rights are God-granted, while others believe natural rights come from nature. Natural rights exist regardless.
Because you are a discrete biological entity, you are an individual. Every group of people can be broken into individuals. No group of people can exist as a single living organism because they simply aren't one, any more than a parking lot full of cars can be a single automobile.
Because no human can be another human, no one can live another's life. By virtue of your nature as an individual, you are born with the inalienable property right to yourself as a person. This means that no human being has a claim on your time or your effort without your consent. Think about it. If you do not own you, who does? If you are anything but your own property, you belong to someone else, which makes you that someone's slave. Are you a slave?
Your property right to your person extends to a general right to possess legally acquired property, for no human can exist without property of some kind. This is an axiom of existence. You cannot exist in space unconnected to all other existents, the sole resident of an empty bubble of space-time. This does not mean you have an automatic claim to someone else's property by virtue of your need for it, however. This means that you necessarily have the right to possess property if you can indeed acquire it. Claims to the contrary made by Marxists, collectivists and Michael Moore are empty. If you have no right to possess property once you have obtained it, those making this assertion must be making it naked while floating in empty rooms from which even air has been evacuated.
Your property right to yourself and your effort can be used to obtain rights to real property (land). He who first "mingles his labor with the land" earns a property right to it. What of land (or other property, for that matter) whose acquisition is disputed as being illegitimate? The longer an illegitimate claim goes uncontested, the more the passage of time legitimizes it – because the passage of time increases the possibility that an attempt to correct the illegitimate acquisition would harm parties who themselves have acted in good faith and who have committed no immoral actions. When redress of wrongs creates more wrong than it cures, it is not credible.
What is a property right, anyway? A right to property is the right to its use. If property belongs to no one, we have none, which contradicts the necessity of property. If we say all property belongs to everyone, we have a problem, because we would then only be able to use property with the mutual consent of every member of society. Because this is impossible, some delegation of humans within society would have to make this determination – and it would then be those people, not all the people, who hold the property right.
This points to a critical issue concerning rights. Either you recognize that you have sole dominion over your person, as does each human, or you do not. If you do not, you are saying either that all of society – the Collective, the State, whomever – has first right to you as property, or that some other person does.
A right is, by definition, unquestionable, and not dependent on some responsibility on your part. Many times, those who support some infringement on your natural rights will appeal to the idea that "With rights come responsibilities." This is not true. A right carries with it no concomitant responsibility, because it is, by definition, inviolable. Responsibilities, by contrast, are accepted, not imposed.
You are born into society accepting, by virtue of your existence, exactly one clause of the "social contract" – the agreement not to infringe on the natural rights of your fellow human beings. Humans who operate according to this guideline obtain what they require from other humans through exchange to mutual benefit. They are traders, giving value for value received. No human being has a claim to your life or your assets simply because you are born into his society. Your property rights to your person remain intact and inalienable regardless of the circumstances of your birth.
Given these facts of existence, the only legitimate role of government in a free society is the protection of individuals' natural rights. That is why governments are instituted among human beings – or at least, that is why they should be.
When a government denies its citizens' rights or actively seeks to infringe on these rights, it subordinates the individual to the state and injures that individual in the name of the community. By what right is this done? By what right is this force initiated and this theft made? How dare New York's commie libs steal the right of self–defense through their burdensome taxes and their obvious schemes for future confiscation? They have no right to do this; there is no justification for it.
Self-defense is an individual right and, as such, is inviolable ... no matter what lies Democrats tell.
Phil Elmore is a freelance author, technical writer and publisher of the self-defense e-zine The Martialist. This article originally appeard at WND.com