Probably some of the most well-known words in American history are “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …” Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the signers of the Declaration of Independence said that the rights we have as human beings were granted to us by our Creator, but CNN’s Chris Cuomo thinks otherwise. In a debate with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Cuomo said to Judge Moore
Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man …
This notion is one that seems to be prevalent among those on the Left, although they rarely are so bold in stating it. Their attitude towards the origin of our rights, and their motivation for promoting it, become evident however, when they seek to expand the power of the government into every facet of our lives and regulate our every thought and action.
Let us assume for the sake of argument that Cuomo is correct in his pronouncement. If government is the source of our rights as human beings, can a government then ever be guilty of human rights violations? Is it not perfectly within the purview of such an all-powerful government to take back that which it has bestowed? How can anyone say that the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, or any other brutal dictator were wrong? Before slavery was abolished in this country and it was still an institution protected by the laws of our government, did those slaves not have a right to the same freedoms as the rest of humanity?
Men existed long before the first government was ever established, and by virtue of the fact that they were human beings they had a right to live as they chose as long as they did not interfere with the rights of any other human being. It was because of our propensity to do infringe on other people’s rights that some form of government and the rule of law became necessary. It was the very existence of our human rights that created government, not the other way around.
Although many governments have existed in a wide variety of forms, the only legitimate form of government is that which is designed to protect, not grant, the rights of its citizens and their freedom to exercise those rights. If we lose sight of the proper role of government over our lives, man will then begin to serve an institution created to serve man and we will have enslaved ourselves to a tyrannical master of our own making.